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

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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

Let them eat cake and plenty of it …

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday. I wish the photo was that recent, but both she and her twin sister, with whom she is celebrating, have both passed.

In fact, it goes back quite a while, because my mom moved to Toronto in 2000, after my aunt died. And when this was taken, she still lived in Montreal.

Clearly, they were surprised and happy. They loved birthday parties, everyone’s parties, and particularly their own. And most of all, they loved birthday cake. So I fully expect they had plenty of cake yesterday. And, if my Continue reading

One week later …

This past Sunday I decided, on the spur of the moment, to visit The Danforth, otherwise known as Greektown in Toronto. It was warm and sunny, glorious really, the kind of day that always attracts locals, visitors from throughout the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and tourists to the Danforth in droves. Not surprising with its abundance of boutiques and family-friendly restaurants and cafes — most with terraces and patios.

But of course, this wasn’t just another summer Sunday on The Danforth. One week earlier, on a beautiful summer night, this lovely, lively, friendly, family-oriented, safe, beloved neighbourhood was the scene of a horrific crime.

As seniors and twenty-somethings and students on summer break and parents with children talked and laughed and ate and sipped and licked dripping ice cream cones, shots suddenly rang out. And Continue reading

Portugal, India, New York and Oslo in a week

I can see you, sitting there, staring at my headline, saying to yourselves, “that’s not possible, and even if it was, who’d be crazy enough to do it?” Relax, I have no intention of trying it. But my week did include bits of all of them.

It began last Wednesday night when I had dinner with a friend. I don’t know if you’re the same, but I tend to always end up in the same neighborhood when I go out to eat — the one I live in. Why we tend to fall back on what’s familiar I don’t know, but it sure does get boring after a while.

So we decided to venture further afield and go to a little family-run Portuguese restaurant she’s been to before. It’s called Rush Hour and it’s in the west end of Toronto, on Dufferin.

No, I don’t know how a Portuguese restaurant ended up with that Continue reading

Good old days …

Amid all the ugliness last week, I did get some glimpses of sunshine; and I’m not talking about the  weather. Twice, I spent time with people I haven’t seen in years, and I do mean years, reminiscing about all the good times we shared.

The last several years I lived in Montreal I was doing advertising and PR in the fashion industry; and, after a couple of years at a tiny agency that specialized in the fur industry, I ended up working for a manufacturer and Continue reading

I surrender …

I’ve always been a news and political junkie; and, when I moved to Toronto from Montreal, I instantly became addicted to CNN and its 24 hour news cycle. It was like I’d died and gone to heaven.

Now it’s more like being in hell.

Am I the only one struggling to find something positive on the news?

Not that I’m an escapist. I’ve never been one to bury my head in the sand, avoid reality or run away from it — even Continue reading