Parkdale Fun

Jameson Typography Porn

Every morning I drive down Jameson to go to work, then back up on the way home.  According to the piles of discarded stained mattresses and vomit splashes everywhere, the street has clearly seen better days.

However, there is still remnants of its transitional era in the 60’s and 70’s after the Gardiner was built and a slew of apartments were built to accommodate the influx of residents into the city – and it is actually pretty cool-looking. The main thing I notice every morning is the F-ING COOL typography everywhere.  So on Sunday I did a quick walk up and down the street and snapped some pics.

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Toronto, I Love You

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Everyday when I head to work I get to drive by the CN Tower via the Gardiner “Held-Up-By-Popsicle-Sticks-But-Whatever” Expressway.  In the mornings, the Tower looks really impressive – especially when there is like, wicked-cool fog, or a sweet sunrise or something like that.  Every morning, when I drive by and see that iconic, globally-recognizable phallic symbol of Toronto, I feel proud and happy and, you know, like this is the best place in the world.

This week in the morning when I drove by and looked at the tower, I actually felt shitty.  For the first time ever, I thought to myself “Uggggggghhh I’m so embarrassed…”.

Unless you are living in a cave under a rock with your fingers in your ears and and a garbage bag over your head, you know that this was not a great week for Toronto.  The mayor has solicited global attention – attention that highlights the worst of the city and its people.

So – I felt embarrassed.  And I hated myself for feeling embarrassed.  Because this city is fucking awesome. Yes, our mayor is a laughingstock and makes us look bad.  But Jesus on wheels, Toronto fucking rules – DESPITE Rob Ford.

So yesterday I started thinking about this and started listing in my head all the things that makes Toronto great, and it literally started flowing out of me – why I love living here and why I love the people here and the businesses and the art and the parks and the families and the culture… and really, me loving Toronto has nothing to do with the mayor.

Now, I’m not naive… I know that the person in office has the power to make things easier or harder for certain groups of people… but Toronto is going to be Toronto. Sorry. It’ll happen.  Because it’s not really the mayor who defines that shit. It has to do with the amazing people who have taken that shit upon themselves to make their communities bad-ass-awesome.  They are the people who have slowly crystallized their network of buildings and stores and parks into fucking amazing communities.

Yes.  Toronto has its flaws.  The traffic is fucking brutal.  The infrastructure is growing at about half the pace of the population.  We need a good place to have sandwiches in Parkdale.  But still, I love it.

So Toronto, here is a small selection of reasons why I Love You…

  • My friends can work hard and grow their own businesses, be their own boss, do something totally unique and personal, and Toronto will embrace them.
  • There are times when I ride the subway and I don’t hear a single word of English.  We have so many different countries, cultures, and communities represented here, it’s so bad-ass. It makes my heart warm.
  • I can buy fucking amazing Indian food from a family-owned restaurant then walk next door to a hipster bar where they play grunge rap and the waitresses wear bra-tops with embroidered  cats on them then walk next door to that and buy artisan flowers that were grown on some chick’s balcony then walk next door to that and have homemade cocktails with like, bacon in them then walk next door and buy a 100 dollar jar of fucking imported body oil from Iceland or some shit like that then walk outside and buy a cool native necklace off a street vendor.  THAT’S JUST NORMAL ‘ROUND HERE.
  • My house is over 100 years old and was part of Canada’s history.  I’m pretty sure someone cool and important lived there at one point (other than me).
  • You want to get together with like-minded people and do something frekkky-weird and awesome?  Go for it.  Have a nude bike ride/zombie walk/disco bike ride/mob pillow fight. Whateves.
  • People in Toronto care about fucking Toronto. Anytime there is a street changed, a building bought, a tree that gets cut down… PEOPLE GIVE A SHIT.  They may be arguing for different sides, but they will definitely have an opinion.  They are PART of the discussion.
  • We have C-U-L-T-U-R-E.  Art galleries up the wazoo.  You want to see the David Bowie exhibit that is only coming to like 5 cities in the whole world?  YEAH, COME TO TORONTO.  You want to see art? Dinosaur bones?  Some old chamber pot that some important guy took a dump in 200 years ago?  COME TO TORONTO.  You want to see up and coming artists? You want to see international musicians?  Up and coming musicians?  You want to see that guy who juggles chainsaws while eating nails (probably), COME TO TORONTO.
  • In my hood there are recovering meth addicts living next to new families living next to hipster renters living next to elderly people who have had their house since the 60’s.  Just damn humans co-existing.  It’s fucking amazing.

Anyways.  Just felt the need to proclaim my love in the midst of this shit. Toronto, don’t let it get you down. You’re still tops in my books.

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Snapshot of Toronto

Check out this great video featuring some great spots in my hood!

…and something specifically on Glory Hole Doughnuts!

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The Big Step

This film, shot in 1958 on 8mm film, shows Parkdale at Queen and Jameson, literally feet from my house.  Many of the buildings are the same, but now, instead of well-dressed men and women walking arm-and-arm, you’ll find men in chicken-stained Affliction tank tops and junkies. Les balls. Things were so much cooler in the past.

Also, at the 6:20 ish mark, there is a chair in their living room that is basically an exact replica of two vintage armchairs I’ve refinished. ALSO, the bathroom has the exact same tiles as my bathroom. OLD THINGS!

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Outdoor Movie Night

Last Friday was the inaugural Outdoor Movie Night on my deck – an amazing idea from Tami who is full of amazing ideas all the time.  We decided to watch Fantastic Mr. Fox, which I had never seen before and which I now love with all my bosom.

Despite the fact that it was HOT AS SWEATY BALLS outside… and the projector was emitting a blinding yellow glow… and I forgot to buy speakers…

Fun was had by all I think.

Next time we’ll be able to shake out the kinks faster.

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it’s been a long cold lonely winter

The long weekend was caliente to the extreme, and I think it’s safe to say that summer is totally, completely, officially here. 

I think we all knew this was going to happen, but TB park was so saturated with people it looked like a hipster refugee camp.  So of course I got all gussied in my wannabe Amy Winehouse doo-rag, retro Vuarnet France-esque tank,  and new Supers, and sat in the sun with some girls and one special little guy.

  

I also spent some time drunk and passed out with wet hair at a pool while smoking cigars and accidentally taking unflattering “forgot my iPhone camera was set to the side facing me”  pictures of myself with a crinkle-neck.

 

Apparently my deck is a perfect sunbathing spot.  Why?  Because it is basically bathed in full “center-of-the-sun” level heat for 10 hours straight.  Things got a little hot.

Molly wanted to be one of the girls and got her tan on.

THEN THIS HAPPENED:

It’s too hot.

Also spent time gardening.  About three hours.  And barely anything looks changed. 

WHY did I work in the garden for three hours with minimal results?  Mostly because of these stupid, small clover-weed things.   ARGH!  They are such little bitches.  You have to sit on your knees and pull out each little damn mini-clover plant by hand for HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS.  I hate them so much.

Although these peonies have me plottzing with excitement…

Molly had a tough weekend because the new place doesn’t have air conditioning… I think I’m going to have to get a window-mounted one for the bedroom because she is totally listless and unhappy in the heat.  However, she did meet a new boyfriend neighbour on holiday Monday.  These two spent a scandalous amount of time rolling around and presenting their private parts to each other in doggie ecstasy.

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Weekendly Things

First things first – here is a garden update.  So many little things just casually busting out everyday being all like “Yo.  It’s me.  Blue flower.”.  I think that first one might be bluebells?  Meh?  Do you know?  I certainly don’t.

Apparently this is Columbine.  I know because my neighbour told me.  She was all like “Oh!  Look at the Columbine!” and I was all like “Meh?”

Here is a yellow poofer flower.  Sorry it’s not entirely in focus.  I assure you it is even more impressive when it is fully in focus.  I don’t know what that one is either.  It’s not a peony, because now I know what the peonies look like (those bad boys are budding up sumfin fierce, BTW).  Do you know?  Meh?

Here is a flower I like to call “purple explosion flower”, due to it’s explosion of mini flowers that form one larger explosion flower. 

Every day there is something new popping out of that garden.  I left it for like, 3 days when it rained and it’s already virtually overgrown with weeds.  Like seriously – maintaining that shizz is a full-time job.  I think this weekend I’m going to plant some annuals to make it look a little more “planned” and less “crazy flower explosion mess”.

After feeling satisfied with my gardening ability (slash standing around taking pictures of other peoples’ gardening ability), I decided to head to The Rhino for some drinks and food.  It is quickly becoming my favourite patio in the new hood.  Mostly because it is a big patio with direct view of the street so I can spy on people while drinking, which is pretty much what I want to do all hours of the day.

I am drinking a blueberry wheat beer.  I know.  So girly.  Get off my back, ok?  JUDGE-Y.  It was delicious. 

Here is a sparrow or finch or something who clearly derives 100% of his sustenance by picking food off of peoples’ plates on the Rhino patio.  This fucker was brave.   He would like jiggle-walk right up to your plate and look at you, cock his head with his intense “looking-into-your-soul” bird eyeballs, then bristle out his feather Mohawk as if to be like “YEAH?  What the fuck are you looking at?  I’m going to eat your shit and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

This is what I’m calling “Brunch #1”.  It is called “lava eggs” and it was delicious.  But since I am basically a hippopatamus-woman who can eat more than Andre the Giant, I decided that this was not enough, and after two more beers, I ordered “Brunch #2”.

While waiting for Brunch #2, this fucker started walking right up to my hand and just stealing shit out of it.  I was pretty impressed.  Just saying.

After about another 30 minutes, Brunch #2 still hadn’t arrived.  I was pretty drunk and I started chanting in my head “BRUNCH NUMBER TWO!  BRUNCH NUMBER TWO!” 

Then it came.

Awwwwww yeah brunch #2.

Speaking of food, I went back to the old hood in Trinity this weekend to take the dogs to the park and stopped by Clafouti to get something buttery and delicious.  Look how awesome this looks.  I assure you, it tasted even better.

Molly and Olive came on a merry jaunt to the dog bowl and went mental chasing sticks and eating poos and rolling around in pees.  Olive was a big suck and didn’t want to walk home.

Before you chastise me for torturing Pam’s dog – I assure you she is fine… we were in the park for about 15 minutes tops, I gave her a bunch of water, a big rest, and we paused frequently on the walk home.  She clearly just wanted me to pick her up and kept flopping down and looking up at me with her wrinkle-face.

In other news I am SO EXCITED because St. Germain is back in stock at the LCBO.  If you haven’t had it before, go get that shit right now.  It’s this elderflower liquor that is basically a cross between true love and unicorn sweat.  They only get two shipments a year, and seriously… this stuff is the best.

Here is a recipe that I made up due to my large brain.  I call it “Natalie’s Sweet and Sour Love Nectar”

1 part Jack Daniels
2 parts St. Germain
Splash of Lime Juice
Drop of Agave Nectar

YOU’RE WELCOME.

Here is my dog being perfect:

Here I am waiting to get a soft-serve cone.  You know… basically, eating.  Again.

I love the pictures below.  The one on the left is amazing because it has so many things I love in it.  The one on the right is amazing because Molly is being a perfect lady.  This only happens when she smells cheese in the vicinity.  Just like me, she is powered by cheese.

 

Here is an example of a perfect banana:

Posted in Canines, Delicious Food, Drunken Observations, Favorite Things, Parkdale Fun 1 Comment »

I’m Sure You’re Interested.

Here are some pointless and inconsequential things about my life that I assume you are interested in. 

The weather is finally starting to get its shit together and stay warm, as denoted by Molly’s hang-y tongue.  She is a huge wiener in the cold weather, so it’s nice to bring her out to sniff the multitude of pee marks and un-scooped dog poos throughout parkdale.

Speaking of that… I know I bad-mouth Parkdale a lot, but the truth is there is just as many ‘super-beautiful and amazing things’ as there are ‘hobos taking pisses in bus shelters’.  The houses are old and gorgeous, and those people who put effort into maintaining them do a really, really good job.

Some of the gardens are amazing. 

To celebrate the sun, I headed to the Rhino patio for the first of what I can only assume will be hundreds of summer beers/glasses of wine out there.  DID YOU KNOW THEY LET DOGS ON THEIR PATIO???  I know.  My brain exploded with happiness.

Sarah ordered a Cesar salad and I was so jealous.  It smelled like garlicky heaven.

Then I went home and Molly pinned me down with cuteness… and slooooowly started falling asleep.

A quick point that I am a genius and have managed to convince my potted cacti to spontaneously reproduce.

 

CHECK THOSE BABIES OUT:

In other news, I have been eating that Moroccan chickpea salad like, non-stop for about 2 weeks. 

I serious – I’m eating it by the cauldron-full.

I’m seriously not kidding – I could probably consume my own weight of this stuff RIGHT NOW.  RIGHT THIS SECOND.  It might be the perfect food.  Fresh but comfy and earthy.  Vegan, healthy… JESUS I WANT SOME RIGHT NOW.

This is probably not a good long-term plan, because I’m seriously considering buying this bikini from Robber and it’s pretty much a couple of napkins tied together with dental floss.  I don’t think it will camouflage the blubbery consequences my chickpea salad obsession.

Speaking of food and other segues, I spoke at a conference recently because of my large, professional balls, and as a gift they gave me a $250 gift certificate to Oliver and Bonacini.  What????  WHAT??   $250?  I know.  That’s enough money to order the sport-killing of an endangered snow leopard for dinner.

I instead chose champagne and oysters.  LARGEST BALLS ON EARTH.

Finally – the last thing that I assume you want to know about my life – I waited until 11:00 pm on the final day to submit my taxes.  I felt like SUCH a horrible, irresponsible person.  But then I saw this:

Posted in Canines, Delicious Food, Favorite Things, Parkdale Fun, Randomness 1 Comment »

I have no idea what I’m doing…

…most of the time, with all things, basically.

When it comes to gardening, though, I am totally and completely clueless.  I have unintentionally murdered many-a-plant.  Mostly through a combination of extreme neglect, then guilt and extreme smothering with water after realizing that I’ve pretty much killed the plant due to neglect.  Then it rots and dies. 

I feel like that should be some kind of metaphor for all my relationships in life, but it’s not.  But if it was, it would be all poetic and shit, and I would write a book called “The Tao of Gardening” about a handsome male gardener who teaches the stupid clueless girl about gardening, but it would be this big metaphor for their relationship and then she would learn the error of her ways and they would tumble into the garden all romantic-like and bang.*

*Note: I still might write that book because it sounds like it would sell, so DON’T STEAL MY IDEA.

Now that I have inherited a huge, complex, and multi-staged garden from my previous tenants, I have to get my shit together and figure out how to keep things alive.  In the fall, it had overgrown to “That-Crazy-Person-on-the-Street-with-the-Jungle-Garden” stage.  I did a bit of work earlier in the spring, but then I was too busy watching Game of Thrones reruns and drinking wine to occupy myself with the garden.

The worst part about it is that some of my neighbours have outright said to me “I HOPE YOU MAINTAIN THAT GARDEN BECAUSE WE ALL LIKE IT”, and there is this huge mountain on guilt on my shoulders every time I enter or exit my house, because I’m sure all my responsible, financially independant neighbours with children are talking about me at their book clubs at night and saying things like “That alcoholic girl down the street is totally MURDERING that garden.  What a bitch.”

Then last week, I caved.  Things were starting to look pretty ragged.

I planted none of those plants.  The only thing that I have added to this garden is about 50 purple tulips that are not pictured because my garden is fucking huge and I can’t even fit it in one photo.

So on Sunday, when we had those 3 hours of sunshine, I got my arse in gear and figured I should TCB. 

So, little known fact: “gardening” really means “ripping shit up from the ground and hoping it’s a weed”.  This is a problem, because everything in my garden, unless it’s flowering, or I’ve seen it in my mom’s garden, looks like a weed.

Take the image below:

There are definitely 3 different plants here, denoted by the circles.  But then, there are other leaves that kind of look like the other leaves, but might be other plants.

I have no fucking idea what is supposed to be here and what isn’t.  So I just ripped a bunch of shit up and left, like a couple of sprigs of the plants that were mystery-plants.  Here is my “after” picture (after 2 hours of gardening… it looks pretty much the same):

Anyways, let’s revel in the actual non-weeds that have magically appeared in my garden with absolutely no work from me.

SO MANY HOSTAS.  It’s fucking Hosta Town in there.  All the other plants are just visiting.

Couple of random daffodils.  I like daffodils that have a different colour “shaft” than “base”. 

Does anyone know what this thing is?  It looks all fancy with its pointy leaves… and there is definitely some kind of flower bud all busting out.  I hope it’s a big poofy flower, because those are awesome.

This big leafy dark thing.  Again, I have no idea but he looks expensive.  Thoughts?

I’m preeeety sure that is a big ol’ viney rose bush thing.  No big deal, just live in a house with a big vine of roses out front.  FANCY.

Here are all the tulips I planted in the fall.  I didn’t plan out the spacing too well, I know.  Stop judging me.

And my favorite thing right now… fiddleheads!

I think.  Are fiddleheads just un-exploded ferns? 

Yes, I just googled it and they are.

FIDDLEHEADS!

I will keep you updated as I continue to fumble through this shit and likely kill something really expensive.

Posted in Housey Stuff, Parkdale Fun 7 Comments »

Baby Squirrel Adventure

So, on Saturday, I took Stinky Molly on a big long walk to the old ‘hood in Trinity and picked up some dog food and treats and other things along the way, like a responsible dog-mother-type person. 

Not very exciting, but I have to set the scene here.

Anyways, so I’m walking down the street, Molly in one hand, and a big, heavy bag of dog food in the other… excited to get home and finish the last book in The Hunger Games while sitting by myself with a cup of ginger green tea like the coolest chick on Earth.

Suddenly a baby squirrel runs across the street straight towards me and Molly.  Here is an artist’s rendition:


So then, Molly tries to eat it, and the squirrel freaks out, and decides to CRAWL UP THE BACK OF MY LEG to get away from Molly.  So in one hand, I have my dog trying to eat a squirrel, and in the other hand, I have a bag of heavy food and stuff, and there’s a baby squirrel climbing up the back of my leg.  I didn’t know what to do, and some chicks happened to walk by, so I politely asked for their assistance.  Here is an artist’s rendition:


The girls politely take Molly for a second to make sure she does not kill the baby squirrel.  Then I literally climbs into my arms and snuggles up.  Fucking SQUIRREL WHISPERER.

 

He was pretty adorable.  This is him hanging out on my hand.

I had no idea what to do with him… he didn’t want to leave my hand… and I didn’t just want to like, chuck him in the bushes like a heartless shithead, so I decided to take him to the vet down the street to see what do to. 

Fortunately, Pam and Francesco were in the process of calling me to drop by, so I solicited Pam’s help as baby squirrel transporter while I dropped Molly off and we headed to the vet. 

Here he is trying to nibble on her finger:

Apparently, this kind of thing happens all the time.  Enough that there is a pamphlet manufactured about it.

Basically, it says to put the baby in a box that is medium-depth and leave him… he’ll either wait for his mom, or climb out on his own.  If he climbs out, he’s fine – if his mom finds him, he’s fine.  So we found a box and an old t-shirt and set him all up:

I came back after 20 minutes and the box was empty :(.  Baby Squirrely was back in the wild of downtown Parkdale.  Or so I thought.

Later that night, my neighbour stopped me and said “OH MY GOD I have to tell you a story”…

Apparently Mr. Baby Squirrel just left my front garden when he heard the neighbour’s kids next door, ran over to them, climbed right up them, and snuggled back into human arms.  She took him in and gave him a hot water bottle for warmth and some bread.

Soooooooooooooooooo, I’m pretty sure our housing complex now has a baby squirrel pet.  That cute little fucker isn’t going anywhere.

Posted in Canines, Parkdale Fun, Randomness 2 Comments »