Toronto Tops

In the news today, the Economist has named Toronto and Montreal the top two places to live on the planet. Safety, livability (whatever that means) and cost were key factors considered. I’ve lived in and around Toronto all my life and I haven’t considered living anywhere else. I think we have a great city in many respects, but I’m a little surprised at the designation because it’s getting to be an expensive place to live; public transit hasn’t kept pace with the city while driving and parking in the city has become increasingly difficult; and we have a climate that can be inhospitable for a significant chunk of the year.

On the plus side, we enjoy a wealth of cultural resources, better safety than many cities of comparable size, loads of great places to dine out, a Great Lake, and wonderfully diverse neighbourhoods.

For my friends here in Toronto – are you surprised the Economist thinks we’re tops? And for those of you who live elsewhere, where do you live, and how do you think your city stacks up against Hogtown?

Fiction on Ello

I’ve been messing about with a bit of fiction for some time, since approximately the dawn of the last ice age. One day I hope to finish it. The story is set in 1982 in Toronto. The narrator is Lazarus Allen, but we just call him Lazy. Lazy is a burnt out musician working in a bottling plant who becomes involved with a polka-punk band.

From time to time I plan to publish either an excerpt or a related story over on my Ello page. I just want to see how bits of it sit on a page. For those of you who visit that space, you can find me @eugeneknapik. I posted a story over there a few minutes ago. For now, I’m only sharing these infrequent excerpts on Ello.

If you need an Ello invitation, by the way, I have a few. I can fix you up until they’re gone.

Mr. T on a Sunday morning

So, I roll out of bet at around 6:30 to find Tuffy P re-organizing the junk drawer, cleaning the coffee-maker and waiting for me to haul my butt out of the sack to take the dogs out for their Sunday morning constitutional. The junk drawer is like a tardis, modest in size from the outside but infinite on the inside, and yes it does have time travel capability. She found this in the drawer….

Saturday afternoon shopping

For some reason I enjoy the chaos which is Starsky’s on a Saturday afternoon…

Samples at the sausage counter
Samples at the sausage counter


Getting out in one piece
Getting out in one piece…

Boxing Day

DSC07395For some, Boxing Day might be about shopping, but for us it’s all about enjoying a laid back day. We took the Newfs out for a good walk – it’s a beautiful day – and in a short while we’re going to a movie -The Imitation Game.

We enjoyed a feast at our house last night. It was great to gather some family together, and enjoy great company over way too much food. It was also a dog-o-rama kind of evening. As well as the two Newfs, we had my brother’s dog Vibe (an adorable border collie) and my nephew Terence’s Rotty, Luther.

4 dogs, 9 humans, loads of food – what could go wrong? In fact, mishaps were minor. There was a lot of excitement, but the four canines got on pretty well and it was a pleasure to host a crazy doggie play-date while attempting to also orchestrate a huge dinner for humans.

Simple pleasures

DSC00229This is the late great Miss Ellie Mae enjoying a bowl of milk.

George is jealous…he just showed up with a squeaky toy demanding playtime.

Dogs seem to know when you’ve had a long day in the salt mines and need a little goofing around.

One more day of work – then off Friday and next week. I’m not against a little time away from the work-a-day world.

Friday night after a hectic week

Looking forward to enjoying some take-out with Tuffy P and hanging out at home. I think we’ll get a small fire going in the woodstove and watch a couple episodes of The Killing – is anyone else out there watching that show?

Back in Town

In all the years I’ve maintained this blog and the Mister Anchovy’s blog before it, one thing I can say is that I have been a very regular blogger. Somewhere along the way I’ve developed the habit of blogging and the understanding that there are all kinds of posts I can create, and some of them can be very casual and personal.

During the past couple weeks it seems I’ve lost my rhythm. In my defense I’ve had two work-related trips to Edmonton and I didn’t try to blog while away. I returned from the latest trip today, landing in the midst of today’s nasty snowstorm.

IMG_2645I like Edmonton, by the way, even though on the first trip the weather made things difficult. This morning I noticed something strange at the Edmonton airport. At 6 AM the bars in the airport were open and there were actually some people hoisting a few before getting on their morning flights. Too early for this guy.

Today’s flight was rocky, turbulent. The seat-belt signs stayed on for most of the flight. We circled Toronto for a while before finally landing. During the storm, landing and getting to the gate were two very different things. The plows were busy keeping the runways clear and we parked for an eternity before a path to the gate was plowed out. I was so happy to finally get home late this afternoon.

Although I wanted very much to have a nap, instead I suited up and me and the dogs went out to do some shoveling. IMG_2646Georgie loves the snow so much. In the back yard he runs around, bounding, just being a goofy boy. Memphis got in the act as well, and they staged a wrassling match, like Godzilla vs Megalon. Great times. Dogs of course don’t have to shovel.

I don’t think I have to travel any more before Christmas, and although I enjoy the adventure and the challenges of this kind of trip, I’m OK with staying put here in Hogtown for a while.

IMG_2650Meanwhile I haven’t thought much about Christmas. We have family coming over and I’m doing the cooking so I’m going to have to think about that. I’m taking the week containing Christmas off this year, and I’m thinking maybe it’s time I made a batch of cabbage rolls and some home-made pirogi. I’m not totally committed to that idea yet – it’s a lot of work, but those foods bring back Christmas from my childhood, when my mom would cook for days and we would have a feast, at that time normally on Christmas Eve.