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Pics & Prose

Family and Couple Time

Silhouette of someone looking out at Lake OntarioIt’s been a nice long week­end. Mod­er­ately busy, but def­in­itely nice. And the weather? Glor­i­ous!

Both Jen­nifer and I took the Fri­day off which allowed us to get through a host of tasks that you need to take days off for, like an appoint­ment with your bank man­ager, meet­ing your daughter’s teach­er and tak­ing the Lad for an immun­iz­a­tion shot. Saturday—which already seems so far away—found us get­ting more things done, such as exchan­ging the wrong size register grills for the cor­rect ones, dump­ing off old paint cans and dis­used light bulbs plus oth­er chore-like activ­it­ies. We did cel­eb­rate the spir­it of the Fam­ily Day by enjoy­ing bar­be­cued bur­gers and watch­ing Arrival (a fant­ast­ic movie if you haven’t seen it) as part of Fam­ily Movie Night.

This morn­ing, Jen­nifer and I took Lucy for a walk along the shores of Lake Ontario (where today’s pho­to was snapped; notice the per­son look­ing out at the water?). With the tem­per­at­ure hov­er­ing slightly above 10°C for the second day in a row, the ground was a bit soft and mucky but no one was com­plain­ing. I took advant­age of the warm­er weather to wash the car for the first time since Novem­ber. Later in the after­noon, we headed back down Ron­ces­valles for the second time this week­end, mean­der­ing amid­st the massive throng of folks who’ve been wait­ing for weather such as this to get out­side. We stopped by a loc­al cof­fee shop for some bever­ages and a shared sug­ar donut which we enjoyed out­side, in the sun.

We’re still not sure what’s up for tomor­row which, quite frankly, is kind of nice. We had planned for a hike, but the trails are pretty mucky with all the melted snow. I’m sure we’ll get out one way or the oth­er. The trick is, not to fill the day up with too much. Oth­er­wise, you end up back at work, exhausted from your time off.

Girl Options

Marina, posing elvishlyThe one thing about hav­ing a girl is that she’ll try many dif­fer­ent things that boy wouldn’t do. The Lad, as much as I love him, would sit in his room all day, tied to his phone or com­puter, emer­ging only to eat his sev­enth meal of the day.

Mar­ina too will spend far too much time with a screen but even­tu­ally, she’ll look for some­thing dif­fer­ent to do. Like try­ing a dif­fer­ent hair­style.

This pho­to was the last one we took, by a win­dow to take advant­age of the nat­ur­al light. Des­pite a lack of focus on the eyes, I think it’s the best of the series because it’s the most nat­ur­al. I had asked Mar­ina to look away, then quickly turn back to look at the cam­era, so that’s why there’s a bit of motion blur. But she looks so coy and mis­chiev­ous, in an elvish kind of way, I can’t help but love it.

I call this one: Mina Hep­burn.

A Week in Photos

A couple of iPhone shotsHere are a couple of pho­tos, shot with my iPhone which I’d pos­ted to Ins­tagram. The first is leav­ing Jimmy’s Cof­fee, a nice little shop on Oss­ing­ton, near Queen Street. Cath­er­ine had often men­tioned this cof­fee shop, so I picked up an Amer­icano after a meet­ing at a nearby gal­lery. She was quite right about the deli­cious cof­fee, by the way.

The oth­er pho­to was taken dur­ing an even­ing walk with both Jen­nifer and Lucy, as we enjoyed a slow but steady snow­fall.

Just a remind­er, click on the image to get a big­ger (and much sharper) ver­sion; the CMS blurs the pho­tos a bit when it res­izes them for the post. You’ll need to hit your browser’s BACK but­ton if you want to return to the post/blog.

One Thing Leads to Another

State of the Basement Before and AfterIf you’re won­der­ing why it’s been so quiet around here, well, it’s because of the base­ment.

You might remem­ber a few years ago we ran into issues with our plumb­ing which res­ult­ing in hav­ing to rip up a metre deep by metre wide swath in our base­ment floor which ran from the front of the house to the stack which is near­er the back. In oth­er words, pretty dis­rupt­ive. Since then we’ve lived with this awful-looking scar defa­cing our oth­er­wise—pause for sar­casm—beau­ti­fully green-tiled base­ment floor. We decided it was high time to update the floor­ing and took advant­age of a sale at Loews, order­ing vinyl planks which were installed this past Tues­day.

The trouble is, the plumb­ing repair didn’t only affect the floor, but also mangled the wall around the stack. This area was such that it fea­tured two dif­fer­ently angled walls which pre­cluded me from even attempt­ing a dry­wall repair. So we called in a pro­fes­sion­al, hop­ing it would be a quick and inex­pens­ive fix.

But you already knew that wouldn’t be the case, didn’t you?

Hav­ing a look at the wall and debris com­ing from behind it, the con­tract­or sug­ges­ted that he could not, in good con­scious, simply fix the dry­wall. Instead, he offered to tear down the wall, fix whatever issue was going on with the found­a­tion, then add a prop­er vapour bar­ri­er, some insu­la­tion and then refin­ish the wall. Resigned to what was sens­ible, we figured that, while he was work­ing on that wall, he might as well have a look at the back wall (facing the yard). In the end, it wouldn’t add all that much to over­all price.

The day the con­tract­or took down the wall was a nervous one. We feared the worse which is what you do when people poke around your found­a­tion. And while there were some gap­ing holes, over­all, he thought it was in good shape. He patched up the areas which required work and moved ahead with the oth­er tasks. All in all, they did a great job although I do ques­tion one decision which has to do with angles; I find we ended up los­ing a bit of space. How­ever, now that it’s all done, I’m quite happy to know that back area is pro­tec­ted and insu­lated.

The con­tract­or fin­ished his job on a Fri­day, so we took advant­age of an empty base­ment to paint it; this, not hav­ing been done since the kit­chen reno. The installers from Loews arrived Tues­day, added a skim-coat to parts of the floor, then laid the plank­ing down. The (lovely) res­ult is above.

Since then we’ve been re-organizing things, using the massive shakeup to get rid of crap we no longer need or use whike mov­ing oth­er items to dif­fer­ent parts of the house.

But it’s not over yet. This com­ing Tues­day, dif­fer­ent installers will be drop­ping by to replace the car­pet­ing in both Mat­thew and Marina’s rooms, as well as re-carpeting both stair­cases. That means we’ve spent a good part of the week­end mov­ing yet more fur­niture and clean­ing up. We did not, how­ever, repaint the kids rooms.

As much as it’s required, we just don’t have the energy.


Marina poses beneath some graffitiWin­ter tem­per­at­ures have def­in­itely settled in to our part of the world. The nicest part of which, mind you, is being warm, indoors, while work­ing with the smell of din­ner per­meat­ing the house. I could do with a hot chocol­ate but I guess a glass of wine will suf­fice.

Today’s pho­to fea­tures Mina, pos­ing cooly under a bridge on our hike last week­end.

Good Start

Looking up under a rail bridgeI hes­it­ate to say any­thing pos­it­ive, lest I stir up some trouble. Not that I’m super­sti­tious or any­thing but after all, Don­ald Trump takes office in just 20 days.

Ah, to hell with it; let’s chance it!

So far, 2017 is off to a good start. Des­pite being pinch-punched at 12:20 am.

Lucky for me, the New Year fell on a Sunday so I kept my weekly Sunday appoint­ment and made my way to the gym. Des­pite it being the new year, it was remark­ably quiet. I sus­pect this won’t be the case on Wed­nes­day morn­ing or next Sunday for that mat­ter. Typ­ic­ally, it takes a few months for the new­bies to give up their exer­cise regime. But, wheth­er it was because it was quiet or not, I had a very good run. I even went a bit fur­ther than usu­al in the same amount of time, clock­ing my best 5K time yet.

By noon, the fam­ily was off to the Moore Park Rav­ine which starts at the south side of Mount Pleas­ant Cemetery and is part, in part, of the Belt­line Trail we hiked last year. The trek was lovely among the trees and we passed some inter­est­ing bridges, includ­ing this won­der­ful rail bridge. How­ever, the trail was quite slip­pery, if not treach­er­ous in sec­tions. We found ourselves cross­ing from one side to the oth­er to tread on snow instead of ice.

Even­tu­ally, the path lead to the Ever­green Brick­works which is now an envir­on­ment­al centre housed in a former quarry. We sat in the sun by a smoul­der­ing fire, enjoy­ing hot apple cider while devour­ing some french fries. After a nice rest, we made our way back to the car.

And, aside from today’s exer­cise, I’ve also star­ted the year with some pic­tures, so all in all, not a bad way to start off. I hope your year is off to a good start as well.