Some things never change, and they shouldn’t …

When my mom decided she wanted to move from Montreal to Toronto, she came and stayed with me for a month, while she looked for an apartment.

The area where I lived at the time, Av & Dav as the locals call it (Avenue Road and Davenport), was and still is known for a one-block-long strip of shops selling flowers and plants and a diner, the Avenue Diner. They’re landmarks, and not just in that specific ‘hood. Cars are double and triple parked outside the flower shops on weekends, people come from all over the city. And the diner, which has always been owned by the Continue reading

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Remembering Gaga …

Not Lady Gaga. My paternal grandmother. Long before I made my entrance into this world, an older cousin of mine struggled with saying “grandmother” when she was first learning to talk. The best she could manage was “Gaga” — and Gaga she remained for all generations to come until she died at 98.

I’m taking this little trip down memory lane because of a pot. No, not the kind you smoke or ingest.

My grandmother was a fabulous cook. All the women on both sides of my family were, but she was kind of unique because she eschewed any and all modern conveniences. As far as she was concerned, good Continue reading

A happy mistake …

I love documentaries. Through them, I learn about all sorts of things, places and people I might otherwise never know anything about — perfect for someone who’s curious, like me.

So needless to say I’m thrilled to live in a city with a theatre (Ted Rogers Hot Docs Cinema) devoted to screening nothing but documentaries — seven days a week, 365 days a year. I’m even more thrilled to live a 15-minute walk away from said theatre — or a 5-minute subway ride if I’m pressed for time, lazy or the weather’s very bad.

Although you can buy single tickets, I have an incredibly inexpensive annual membership, which entitles me to advance ordering and discounts on regular film screenings and special events, invitations to free Continue reading

A touching reminder of what really matters …

It was cold last Friday and extremely windy so I wimped out. Truth be told I was also lazy, so I took a Lyft where I was going. Lyft, in case you don’t know, is a ride-sharing company like Uber.

The minute I got into the car before I’d even settled myself enough to close the door, the driver told me that mine was his favourite apartment building in Toronto. He then immediately went on to tell me it was because of our doorman.

Further explaining, he told me that 20-odd years ago he was a newcomer to Canada, an immigrant who Continue reading

Busy, busy …

While it was certainly tempting to crawl into a well-heated cave and hibernate until Spring during our recent deep freeze I was, instead, taking advantage of some of the many things Toronto has to offer.

Yes, with the exception of only a few breathtakingly cold days cocooned at home, wrapped in a blanket, I bundled up in multiple layers of sweaters, scarves, hats, gloves and down-filled coats, braved the sub-zero temperatures and enjoyed some great films and an assortment of terrific breakfasts, lunches and dinners with family, friends and former colleagues (some of whom I haven’t seen in years and years). And Continue reading

Four hours later …

Omg! For months now, every time I’ve ventured into my spice cupboard I’d say to myself, “Fransi, you really have to go through this stuff.” Well, I finally chose last weekend to do it. I’m thrilled with the outcome, but what a time-consuming chore that turned out to be! Omg.

I know, I know, you’re probably sitting there saying, “spice cupboard???? How many spices could she (meaning me) possibly have?????” Well, how about an entire standard kitchen cabinet (3 fairly wide shelves)?

What can I say, I like to cook and I like to try different things. The problem is, as I’ve recently discovered, Continue reading

Am I getting old and cranky or is common courtesy no longer common?

I’ve been on the hunt for a new winter coat and winter boots for a while. Amazingly, I haven’t found anything in the stores yet. What’s going on? It’s the middle of November in Toronto. Winter is fast approaching. What are retailers waiting for?

A friend suggested that I try Nordstrom Rack. She’d seen a lot of down coats there. So off I trotted this past Sunday. She was right. There were tons of them, but styles were limited and frankly, they weren’t any Continue reading

Fingers crossed …

Hell, I’ve got everything crossed, including my eyes. Today’s a big day. Mid-term elections in the U.S. and I’ve got to say my emotions are all over the place. One minute the polls seem hopeful and then I remember what the polls showed during the 2016 presidential election. So I’m not getting ahead of myself.

You might be wondering why I’ve got my knickers in such a twist, me being Canadian and all. Easy. You don’t have to be an American to be sickened or afraid of what’s going on in the land of the less-free-than- it-used-to-be. The current reign of terror impacts all of us, no matter where in the world we live — the Continue reading

Celebrating my dad

I’m publishing my blog a day early this week because today’s my dad’s birthday. He’s been gone a long time, 31 years. Hard to believe. I never missed his birthday, even after I moved to Toronto.

From as far back as I can remember, my mother and I always drove ourselves into a frenzy trying to figure out what to get for him and how to celebrate. He was hard to buy for — not because he was picky — because he never wanted anything. He always said he had everything he needed. Same thing with parties. He liked to keep things low key. Except when the shoe was on the other foot and he was doing something for others — and then nothing was too good or too much trouble. He threw himself into the task with absolute zeal.

That was my dad. Kind, sensitive to the needs of others, caring and generous to a fault. He embodied all the values that are in such short Continue reading

I just don’t get it

Last week I saw a Levi’s commercial urging Americans to vote. It’s a great spot and bravo to them for doing it, but that they should have to, makes me crazy. Theirs is the only commercial I’ve seen — at least so far. But apparently, they’re just one of many companies doing it.

The Skimm has also been pounding away at trying to get people to vote. For those of you unfamiliar with it, The Skimm is a quick and easy-to-read daily digest of news stories.

They’re so concerned about low voter turnout among female Millennials, for months leading up to voter registration for the upcoming US midterm election, they launched a “no-excuses” campaign, with daily tips, apps, info and even a link to register.

For the life of me, I will never understand why people are so ambivalent about voting, how they have no compunction Continue reading