Autumn in High Park – Discovering Art!

After work the other day, I decided to go out for a walk and enjoy the autumn colours.  Now that B and I live within a 10 minute walk of High Park, I have no excuse.  I have every opportunity to enjoy the largest green space in Toronto.

It was a gorgeous evening and there were dozens of photographers floating around the park trying to capture the changing of the leaves, including me.

I don’t know why I don’t visit more often. The path near our apartment enters the park at the northern tip of Grenadier Pond and it’s a beautiful walk.  Paths like the one below always bring to mind Anne of Green Gables…a HUGE part of my childhood…and such landscapes make me want to sit down wherever I happen to be and start writing.

Our entry point to High Park

Saw some interesting ducks that I don’t believe I have seen before.  Cool markings, as though they got into a fight with some liquid paper.  And they all had this haughty attitude…as though they knew it would soon be time to go but “Damnit! Until then, this is OUR pond!”

 

 

There were some awesome fiery coloured trees in the park.  Unfortunately, I still haven’t learned the ins and outs of our new camera so the pictures I end up taking are never exactly what I’m seeing.

Sometimes, I think that’s the trick to photography.  Not only is it catching a moment, but it’s catching the moment as we actually see it…along with all the nuances and processing from our visual cortex that makes a sight so damn beautiful!

Often I find pictures similar to a dull photocopy of a photocopy.  They don’t carry the same impact as our actual experience.  Luckily though, done right, they can pry out a memory that is at times even stronger than the original moment and brings it all back…smells, reflections, thoughts, sensations.  Those are awesome pictures…and they’re few and far between.

Prior to my visit, someone or someones had spent A LOT of time creating an artistic rendering of fallen leaves.  I was walking across a small bridge when I saw this to my left:

Every leaf positioned perfectly and even the colouring chosen to give it a darker, deeper centre.  I spent a long time examining this creation. It was crazy how perfectly all the leaves had been placed and I wondered how long it had taken to create!

Then, I looked to my right:

 

Isn’t that absolutely fabulous!  So beautiful that I couldn’t help but take a dozen pictures! There is such movement in the stream, even though it has dried up and is choked with decaying leaves.  Whoever did this…thank you! It made my day!

I took some other shots on my way home…Grenadier Pond was quite still, offering some lovely reflections….

…and of course, a self-portrait had to be taken! 🙂

If you haven’t been to High Park…go!  It’s a getaway…a tiny piece of cottage country in the middle of a large, busy and often-times frustrating city!

Giant Jellyfish!

B and I went put cycling today, specifically to go to the Humber Bay Bridge and look at the new art installation we had noticed from the highway. Squid? Octopus?

Ah! Jellyfish!

Pretty cool and nice to see art out in public locations 🙂

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I should also note that this is my first post done via my new iPhone so, if it’s all wonky, I blame the phone! 😉

Headed to Calgary: First Stop, TO airport!

I am presently seated in the Toronto airport waiting for my flight to board and trying to talk myself out of the desire to go buy Doritos! Such weird place, the airport. We’re all waiting…all in stasis…preparing for the next step to our voyage.  Some of us sleep, play cards, eat (Doritos!!!) or focus on our electronic connections to the outside world.

The rest of us sit and have a beer!

That wasn’t actually the plan until I saw the sign for the bar across from the gate!

I am headed to the west coast for the first time…for 29 days…and aside from mountains —

< inner voice >Holy shit!!! I’m going to see actual MOUNTAINS!  I’m going to go and climb up a MOUNTAIN!! Not a hill…but a freakin MOUNTAIN!!! </ inner voice>

— I am very much looking forward to hanging on some west coast beaches and enjoying the pacific coast!  I have much experience with the Atlantic Ocean but the Pacific Ocean will be a brand new experience…well, except for the Pacific oysters I tried, which sort of gives me a sense what to expect scent-wise while I’m there. 😉

So the BEACH name drew me in! 🙂

After chilling with a pint and an absolutely awesome bowl of Thai soup, I wandered around the airport a bit.

One cool thing about being here is that there is accessible, and free, wi-fi!  Thus, I am able to write this post! 🙂

NO, I’m not writing this from the bathroom!

<Though come to think of it, that would be kinda awesome!>

Point is, wi-fi is available in every little crevice of this airport. Besides, you can’t expect us to go pee without checking our Facebook or Twitter, can you? That’s just crazy talk!

Since I’m headed to Calgary, I considered getting into character….you know, trying to appear as though I’m simply one of the locals. I’m wandering into Calgary at the tail end of the Stampede…it’s 100th anniversary no less!…so I should do my best to celebrate along with the cowboys, shouldn’t I?

Nah…I don’t think any attempt on my part to be cowboy-ish is going to work.

Cycling Fun: Discovering Humber Bay, Toronto

My Humber Bay biking route

When many of my non-Hamilton friends think of Hamilton, they conjure up visions of the steel mills, the smog and pollution, grimy, dirty…visions like this:

Stelco steel mills in Hamilton loom behind neighbourhoods in the east end of the city, Nov. 23, 2005. HANS DERYK/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO

But after living there for almost thirteen years, I can truly say that Hamilton has some absolutely beautiful locations, awesome parks, and amazing cycling trails!  The bike paths are one of the things I’ve been really missing since my move to Toronto almost two months ago.

As a Hamiltonian, I held similar mistaken beliefs about Toronto.  Not necessarily involving steel mills and the like, but I did think of Toronto as too loud and too busy, not a place I’d want to live. Aside from my friends, I assumed Torontonians were unfriendly and unapproachable. I liked my quiet little corner of Hamilton, a short bike ride away from the waterfront and various biking and hiking trails.

I was wrong about TO.

Downtown of course, where I have spent many hours working, IS busy, loud and obnoxious at times. But when you get away from that, you find little quiet corners, just like my Hamilton existence.

Until last week, I hadn’t had much of a chance to go exploring due to a sprained ankle, an injury I sustained during my move. (THAT is a story unto itself.  Let’s just say I have had many people tell me that breaking it would have allowed for easier healing and I find myself agreeing!)

I have spent over a month babying it, wrapping it in tensor bandages and avoiding any strenuous exercise that would potentially re-injure it.

Last week, though, I *finally* took out my bike! I planned a slow, meandering ride and I wore an ankle support to ensure maximum protection. I was out for a couple of hours and I discovered that not only is my new apartment incredibly close to the waterfront, but there are also nearby beautiful areas in the Humber Bay that are so green and so quiet that I can almost forget that I’m actually in the big city! I discovered beaches that appeared to be almost coastal…all I was missing was the salty air!  (Well, and the amount of sea life that one finds along a seashore that doesn’t exist along the shores of Lake Ontario.)

I have much more exploring to do, but the Humber Bay absolutely blew me away and I found myself taking loads of pictures, trying to capture the experience!!

This was one of the better pictures I could find that shows Humber Bay as I found it the other day

Obviously, I didn’t take that one 😉 but I did take a load of shots while I cycled through the area, from one end to the other!

It was odd to be on this bridge. It is just south of the Gardiner expressway and I passed it hundreds of times during my commute to work. Noticed it often, never thought I’d be spending time on it 😉

My first view of the Humber Bay…

One of the coolest Addams Family inspired bird houses ever!

One interesting area that I didn’t spend much time investigating is the Humber Bay Butterfly Garden.  They have an area of wildflowers and wild grasses, lovely winding paths and benches, along with educational signage about the various butterflies who inhabit the area. Such a beautiful idea!  I definitely have to go back and spend a bit of time there.

Stopping at a second bridge along the way

Mom, this pic is for you! (You too, Deb!)

Initially, I found myself at the marina, which bordered a section of condominiums and other tall buildings.  Although one could argue that the condo section of the trail wasn’t as quiet and relaxing as the beaches and grassy peninsulas jutting out into the lake, the gardening and landscaping was immaculate.  Still worth the trip! 

While I hanging around the manicured section of the trail, I struck up a conversation with an elderly gentleman who was sitting on a nearby bench, enjoying the day. At the same time, there was a nearby sail boat that was prepping to depart the marina and I heard the man in charge telling the group on board that as the day went on, they could take the helm, they just had to ask. It sounded as though he were taking the group out for a sailing lesson, and I admit I was a bit jealous. 🙂

The older man on the bench commenting on the boat as it left the dock, wondering why there was such a good-sized group on board and I told him what I had overheard, adding that sailing was something I would like to try sometime.

He smiled and said in this fragile, wispy voice, “You could probably do that here, if they’re offering lessons.  What would that cost? Probably $5 or so.” 

I nodded and REALLY wished I could learn to sail for such a small amount!

My traditional self-portrait

There are numerous “fingers” such as this one, jutting out into the lake, many of them with fire pits at the tip, like a “fingernail” 😉

 

The first fire pit I noticed. 

From what I can tell via Google, fires are illegal at Humber Bay. Yet, during my two-hour ride, I came across at least half a dozen or more.  Many of them were not hidden, they were built in obvious picnic areas so I assumed they were acceptable.

My first view of Toronto Downtown…Yep, I am definitely far from the downtown craziness!

 

An East Coast shot…this could be a shoreline in Nova Scotia

 

Another nice look-how-far-away-the-city-is shot!

 

Another lovely yet illegal fire pit!

 

 

Daisies!

 

A lovely picnicking area where I scared the hell out of a family of groundhogs! Oops!

 

A good number of swans live in the area. Awesome animals that encompass majestic and awkward all at the same time! 😉

 

One of the few beaches where I saw people swimming.

 

So, here are my thoughts about swimming in Lake Ontario.

I would love to!  To live so close to a large body of water is perfect on hot days BUT in the years I have lived here, I have never swam in the lake. I have walked barefoot in ankle-deep water, but nope, no swimming.

I have read on the Toronto websites that they test the waters at the various beaches every day for pollutants and announce whether they are safe or not.  They even have a phone number you can call to get updates before you head out for a day at the beach, which is incredibly helpful.

But here’s my concern….if the water was too polluted yesterday, and it happens that it’s also not safe to swim tomorrow, why the heck would I swim there today?  Perhaps the unsafe days are few and far between, I don’t have enough experience with the testing and safe/unsafe declarations to know for sure, but that doesn’t make me want to go swimming.  And if one beach at one end of the city is unsafe, are the others down shoreline sometimes declared the opposite?  How so?  It’s the same water.

I once heard a metaphor to explain this whole phenomenon and it made me laugh.  If I went to a pool and saw someone peeing at one end, I’m not apt to jump in the other end thinking “well it’s clean at THIS end”.  It’s the same pool!

I really wish I felt comfortable swimming in the lake but I think for now, ankle-deep is about it for me.

Ok, rant mode off!

 

Lovely!

 

A beautiful compass built in memorial of the 1985 Air India bombing.

 

I had a lovely ride and was beyond ecstatic to find a green sanctuary away from the bricks and concrete that layer our daily life.  I see picnics and relaxing days listening to the waves in my near future!

Living in Toronto – Month #1

I have lived in the city of Toronto for about a month now and I have really been enjoying it.  Mostly. 

There are some little things that I need to get used to but they aren’t so overwhelming that they overly colour my experience in a negative fashion.  They ARE worth blogging about though, if not just for the entertainment factor.

One of the big things that requires some adjustment is the proximity to my neighbours.  Well, I’d love to be able to adjust *their* proximity, but unfortunately it’s me that needs to get used to things.

I spent the last ten years living in an attic on the third floor of a house. I was far enough from my neighbours, and high enough that unless someone had a telescope in one of the highrises downtown and blocks away, there were no prying eyes in my windows.

Now, both my bedroom and my bathroom windows open to a view on my neighbours brick wall…which is about three or four feet away.  Their bathroom window is placed in line with mine so if we both crank them wide open, we can see into each other’s washrooms, wave at each other, share a bar of soap if one of us runs out…

Okay, I haven’t really waved or done the soap thing…or actually met them at all…but you see what I’m getting at.  These things *could* happen!

The other lovely thing about our washroom windows being peeping buddies is that we can pretty much hear everything going on!

Rustling shower curtains, the loooong Austin Powers pee.

You know, when you think strangers can hear you, you even fart differently!  The whole “let ‘er rip” freedom is lost.

The other problem with being on the ground floor, that I didn’t realize would be an issue, is my sense of safety.  The years I spent living alone in my attic abode, I felt incredibly safe.  I was three floors up.  Any psycho would have to bypass many other chaos causing opportunities, and be quite good at rappelling, to get up to my window.  Prior to that, I lived in a townhouse, attached to others on both sides, with a fenced in backyard, as well as a third floor apartment during college.

But now I’m on the ground floor.  A person can pretty much just walk up and take a peek if they wish. Sounds a little paranoid?  Yeah, I know. I’m not one to subscribe to the culture of fear that our media seems to like portraying every day in our newspapers but rational thought doesn’t figure in to it when you’re home alone and you wake up at 2am to some strange noise that sounds like someone taking a pee right outside your window!  (Granted, THAT could be my neighbour *actually* in their washroom…in which case, I’m just going to have to get used to it!)

Oh, and on that note, can I just add…

Wind chimes are EVIL!  They are all laughter and light during the day but once the sun goes down, they tap into every primal fear, every scary thought you have ever had!

Some of the creepiest moments in my new apartment have been due to my evil wind chimes.

EVIL Wind chimes!

You can’t tell me you haven’t experienced it….

It’s silent around the house.  You’ve just been roused from sleep by a creaking floorboard.  Omigod, is there someone in the house with you???

You listen intently.

Silence.

Not a whisper.  Even the air is still.

You sigh. Curl up under your warm duvet, hug your pillow and tell yourself that you’re being silly.

And then…

You hear the slight, very slight, tinkling of the wind chime in your kitchen.

Your heart jumps into your throat!!!! And you KNOW.  You just KNOW that every monster that ever hid under your bed is hovering outside your bedroom door just waiting for you to nod off.

It’s an open door for soul-sucking monsters and you promise yourself that in the morning, that wind chime will be in the rubbish bin!

So you sleep…sort of.  One eye open and all that.  Weird dreams, tossing, turning.  You see 3am, and 4am…5am…and then as the sun just starts to rise and lighten the day, you nod off and grab a heavenly 45 minutes of sleep.

First action item of the morning? To dispose of the evil Wind Chime from Hell!  But in the sunlight, it just looks so pretty and sounds so lovely…oozes such innocence that you convince yourself, “Pshaw! There’s no evil here. Look how lovely and pretty….”

You’ve lost the battle.

So what else have I learned in Toronto throughout my first month?

Well, there are a few things…

AstroTurf makes a great easy-to-care-for lawn…

Real grass or no?

But obvious seams give it all away!

Astro turf seam or ant trail?

Papasan Chairs work as garden decor!

Bracket fungus is COOL! (Okay, I already knew this, but I needed some type of heading so I could include this picture!)

Centipedes are CREEPY and like to live in my kitchen sink!

Fred the Centipede helping me figure out Ikea directions

***Centipede Community News Bulletin: Creepy or not, it must be mentioned that centipedes eat all the other pests that annoy us…flies, moths, even spiders (this particular meal doesn’t make me overly happy because spiders also have a job to do!).  So, if you are able to get over the creep factor (which I’m able to do somewhat so far because I don’t actually see them THAT often) and if your many-legged friends are able to keep well-hidden, they are actually kind of helpful. http://arthurevans.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/house-centipedes-on-the-move/

I have found that naming our centipede has helped. Fred has appeared in my sink twice and we have removed him…twice. As long as they stay the same size, I will continue to believe that it is always Fred returning to the scene as any thoughts entertaining the idea that there is more than one in my house cause me to run screaming like a banshee. ***

 

Nova Scotia Donairs CAN be made outside Nova Scotia and still be orgasmically delicious!

Nova Scotian flag on the Danforth! A little taste of home!

Awesome donairs made by the guys at The FuzzBox on the Danforth!! http://www.thefuzzbox.ca

And on a final note….I’d like to introduce two new members of our family!

Spike and Priscilla

I have managed to kill many a plant in my lifetime, but Priscilla especially is touted as a practically unkillable ZZ Plant!  

We shall see…..

Moving Extravaganza 2012

After ten years in a very cool apartment in the awesome city of Hamilton, I have up and moved to Toronto!

In some ways, it isn’t a huge change.  I’ve worked in Toronto for twelve years. I’ve shopped, hung out with friends, gone dancing at funky goth clubs, crashed on many couches and overall, enjoyed my time in TO.  And even though my little home in Hamilton has been 1-2 hrs away (sometimes 3 depending on traffic!), I always liked being able to leave the hustle and bustle of Toronto behind.

So what triggered the decision to move?  I’ve been stubbornly clinging to my Hamiltonian life for so many years…why now?

Well, I could say that it’s because I’ve been dating someone in Toronto for two years.
But he would have just as easily moved to Hamilton and found an apartment with me 🙂 so that wasn’t the deciding factor.

I think one of the biggest reasons is simply that I got tired of the commute.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve found myself spending 3, 4, sometimes 5 days in a week at B’s place in Toronto. Spending so much time here gave me a sense of what life would be like if I wasn’t commuting back and forth to work. How much extra time I would have in each and every work day.

Yep, commuting.  Twelve years!  It’s hard to believe it has been that long…I started when I was 21 and spend my 20s on trains, buses and subways.

Commuting in this instance meant getting up at 5am, catching the 6:15am train to Toronto, followed by the subway, arriving to work around 8:20 or so.  It also meant getting off work at 3pm, but arriving home around 6pm.

Initially, commuting back and forth wasn’t a huge deal.  I admit, getting up at 5am was a struggle at times, especially when the weather was crappy or when I’d decided the night before that I could stay up “a little later than normal”, but more often than not, I enjoyed my hour-ish long train ride. I wrote, read, sometimes got a lot done!

Okay…or I slept.  Sometimes there was just no choice in the matter! 😉

Over the years, I’ve also met some awesome people on the train!  The Train Gang!  My fellow commuters, who have more than once caused me to laugh to tears!  Dora the Explorer, Cranky Lady, the Tree Cow, Kumbaya, Itchy Cabbage Farts…the craziness and fun on the WestBound Lakeshore GO Train was never-ending! It’s THAT stuff that I’m going to miss!

Even some of those Train Gang members who stopped commuting over the years continue to be close friends and that, if nothing else, makes me thankful that I commuted for as long as I did.

But over the years, I’ve just grown weary of the travel.  The days where I finished work at 3pm and just wanted to be home without the long ride, became more and more common.

One evening, many years ago now, I sat down and calculated how much time I was spending travelling back and forth every year.  I included the walk to/from the train/subway station to my home/workplace, the GO train ride back and forth, as well as my subway ride to/from work.  It was years ago that I figured this out but the total stuck with me.

28 days spent annually, just traveling!

A a month of my life, every year, spent getting to where I was going. Times twelve years….that works out to be a year of my life. Granted, that was assuming I was commuting back and forth Mon-Fri for ten months of the year…and towards the end of the 12 years, my travel was less and less as I stayed in the city more and more….

But still!  28 days!

It was eye-opening.  A little shocking.  And thus, years later, I remember the number. It stuck with me, nudging me every so often when I was cranky and cursing the 5am darkness.

But over the past couple of years, as I mentioned, I began to spend more time in Toronto and I found myself enjoying the wake-up call at 6:30 or even 7am instead of 5.  I could stay up a little later, sleep in a little more and hey, I could be home by 4pm rather than 6.

And so, after more than a decade of stubbornness and  hundreds of conversations ending in “But I *LOVE* Hamilton!! I like being able to leave the big city behind!” I began to rethink my living arrangements.

Sure, the consideration began with a boy 🙂 but as I thought about the amount of time I was spending in Toronto already, the amount of work I was able to find that seemed to all be within the Greater Toronto Area, and the time I would save on a day-to-day basis…that 28 days loomed larger and larger.

So I made the decision and now, here I am…surrounded by corrugated boxes and chaos!  Well, day-by-day the chaos is giving way to organization and I have to admit, I like this part.  It involved trips to Ikea!  Always fun!

And although the move means I leave many friends in Hamilton, I know from massive experience that the trip is do-able and now when I commute, it’ll be because I choose to go and hang out with everyone!  (Or it’ll be when I want to rent a car as it’s SO much cheaper renting from Hamilton! *wink*)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PACKING

I began packing a month before the actual move date.  I spent a lot of time purging and getting rid of stuff.  Ten trips to the Thrift Store later, an apologetic woman with a somewhat panicked look in her eyes turned me away at the door.

“So sorry but we can’t take anymore donations.  No space! Our back room is packed to the ceiling!”

Wonder if that was all my stuff? Hehe

I even shredded old bills and papers…the four garbage days in April at my Hamilton apt looked somewhat like this:

I just have to say…I LOVE my paper shredder!

I did get rid of a lot, but not enough.  The Great Purging of 2012 continues at the new apartment and even though it can be time-consuming and frustrating, I really like the feeling of starting new…getting rid of old stuff that’s just weighing my down…that I don’t need…never use…can’t even identify…Ten years in the same apartment and stuff kind of piles up on you.

I attacked cupboards with gusto, especially in the kitchen.  Expiry date from six years ago? Into the bin it goes!

The problem with attacking cupboards first, is that you then find yourself going back to double-check…triple-check…quadruple-check (is that even a word?) and your brain is going,

“IT”S EMPTY!  YOU”VE ALREADY CHECKED!”

Eventually I solved this problem:

“We are empty! Leave us alone!”

“See that tape? DON’T TOUCH IT!”

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MOVING

Moving was an interesting experience.   I began the search for helpful minions…I mean friends!!…weeks prior to the day 😉  I am SO appreciative to those who helped out on the day because they had to deal with this….

My stairs!

Yep, I lived in an attic at the top of those 40 stairs.  B counted them for me. Then multiplied them out by how many trips he made up and down the staircase.

It was far! 😉

Or is that high?

Anyway…so yeah, I can’t blame anyone for being busy that day! LoL I *also* wanted to be otherwise indisposed but you know, it was my apartment and stuff so I figured I should be there. *wink*

The wood planks on the stairs were my friend Mimi’s idea…Thanks Meems!  What an awesome suggestion!

Non-fragile boxes were slid down the planks and even heavy boxes were held but moved via sliding…SO much easier!!

We took about four hours to load up almost everything, with a break in there of course!

Feeding the minions! …Ahem…friends!  My lovely most awesomest friends!!!

Chilling after hours of stair-climbing

Where’s the beer?? 😛 (Peter! You crack me up! lol)

Response to the question…”How you guys doing? Shall we head up and get the remaining boxes?” 😛

By the end of the four hour loading…we were all starting to lose focus and the silliness was creeping in!

Peter winding up my lights for me. Ineffective! 😛

The ECSTATIC and HAPPIEST part of the day?
Arriving at the new place…which is on the main floor of a house…and unloading the 4-hr load in barely 90 minutes!!!

Our new place is behind the windows to the right of Ben, who was trying out our new porch!

To all my insanly awesome and supportive friends, those who made it out on the day and those who were unable, I love you all! I am so lucky to have such amazing people in my life!

Thank you all so much!

Visiting the Royal Winter Agricultural Fair

One of the common responses I’ve been hearing each time I tell someone that I recently went to Toronto’s Royal Winter Agricultural Fair is “Wow,  I haven’t been to that since I was a kid!”  I can see why families would go and take their children…these days, in the big city, that’s pretty much the only way to expose them to farm animals and agriculture…but there’s something for everyone and I had a really good time wandering around the site.

There were huge sections dedicated solely to sheep, cows and horses. In the cow portion of the fair, we watched as people did their best to catch waste from the bovines in buckets  as it appeared. Lesson learned.  Next time you feel the need to complain about your job, just remember that it could be worse.  Somewhere, there’s a person whose job is to catch cow pee in a big white bucket.

We passed by some two-month-old calves and I expressed to desire to pat one.  Ben suggested I scratch a little one behind its ears and the calf loved it!  So cute…bunting my hand just like my cats at home.

I unfortunately didn’t get pictures of everything….but I managed to capture some highlights of the experience 🙂

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There were many, many more vendors and craft booths than I expected, and not all of them were focused on farming, animal care and riding (although many were serving those demographics).   There were dozens of food booths including yummy cheese companies, cultural foods such as Thai and Indian cuisine, and the notorious Apple Dumpling booth that I didn’t get to visit.  I tried my very first bison burger and I have to say it was yummy and filling!

Other interesting notable food related booths that I feel the need to mention are the Boreal Birch Syrup booth and the Muskoka Lakes Winery booth.

The birch syrup was an interesting product.  Not as thick as maple syrup and not very sweet at all, it was described as having a sort of prune taste.  I know, doesn’t sound all that appetizing, but that really doesn’t do justice to the complexity of the flavour.  The man behind the counter said it worked well as a glaze on vegetables etc and as soon as he said that, I had to agree.  It would be delicious on steamed veg.  They have some recipes on their site and now I wish I had bought a bottle.  There is a store in Toronto that carried it and as well, they apparently deliver! 😀

The Muskoka Lakes Winery I mention because I absolutely love their wines!  They carry a large variety of cranberry wines and among my favourites are their Cranberry-Blueberry and their White Cranberry wines.  I also presently own a bottle of both their Raspberry-Cranberry and their Maple-Cranberry dessert wines that are just waiting for the right moment to be opened.  Some friends and I discovered the winery by chance when we were spending the weekend in Bala almost two years ago, it’s an awesome place to visit, not only for good wine, but also for lovely hiking trails and an interesting/educational view of the cranberry fields.  Sadly, I’m finding it harder and harder to find their wines at the LCBOs that I pass on a daily basis.  Trip to Bala anyone? 🙂

Lastly, I want to mention the lovely woman I met at the Gateway Fibreworks yarn booth.  We had an interesting discussion about wool.  Unlike alpaca wool that is generally lanolin and chemical free, sheep wool naturally contains lanolin and goes through a number of chemical treatments.  It was suggested that most reactions are due to the chemicals, not necessarily the wool.  We had the chance to truly test this as a friend who was on site with me is extremely allergic to wool.  Just a touch causes her to break out.  After this conversation, she purposely rubbed the back of her hand on a few different alpaca wool samples and as far as I know, she hasn’t noticed a reaction.

I too am sensitive to wool, although it pretty much just makes me itchy, and I found alpaca wool to be softer to the touch that sheep wool.  Perhaps that will be my next crocheting yarn purchase! 😀

Anyway, the Winter Fair was fun and isn’t only for kids.  At one point, Ben took the time to sit with an employee who was surveying people on site about their experience.  She commented that the 25-35 age group, our age group, seems to be the least represented in their attendance and asked us for suggestions to draw in those individuals.  We both responded that an 18yrs+ day could work 😛 but also helpful is reading a blog entry about a great experience…and so I have done.