Wednesday, August 29, 2007

pretty maids all in a row...

These days I am sucker for punishment. I skipped kick boxing and stayed late at work in an attempt to get caught up before the students come back next week. I was also hoping to miss the rush hour traffic on the Gardiner Expressway but no such luck. Since I didn't have the patience to sit on the highway I headed over to the Queen's Quay Loblaws to make one, very important purchase.

That's right boys and girls. I bought 6 bottles of steak seasoning! Not just any steak seasoning. Barberian's Steak House makes the BEST steak seasoning on the planet. This restaurant has been around since 1959 and is apparently amazing. We haven't had the pleasure of dining there yet but we started enjoying the spice when we came across it in a grocery store in Toronto. Problem is, you can't buy this stuff outside of Toronto. And since we no longer live in T.O., we don't buy our groceries there. So we've been out of the spice since early this summer when our last bulk purchase was depleted. And even though we both still work in Toronto, we don't often think about our grocery list at work, so we don't remember that we need to buy more until we get home. But my pantry is happy again. These 6 should get us through until the end of next summer.

So if you have the opportunity, try it! It's also fantastic on chicken and pork. You will not be disappointed. And if you go to the restaurant, let me know how it is. I hope to visit it soon.

EDIT: I must mention that I actually lined up to use the self checkout instead of going through the empty express lane at the grocery store in order to avoid strange looks from the cashier. After all, the only thing I was buying was 6 bottles of the identical steak seasoning.

Monday, August 27, 2007

in the eyes of this beholder...

Since Blogger has this new video function, I thought I would add this clip from the Blue Rodeo concert. Bob Packwood performed an amazing solo on Diamond Mine and I caught part of it on my camera. The quality is not great, but you'll get the idea.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

some wild, wild life

Steve and I spent two weeks at the cottage this summer and they were heavenly. We had been up for a week in June and returned for the first week of August. The weather was perfect for the August trip and we spent most of our time doing a whole lot of nothing. It was the mental break we both needed.

I spent a lot of time working on my latest addiction, photography. Ever since I bought the new camera, I have been obsessed with taking pictures. I'm slowly learning how to use some of the cool features on my camera but most of my pictures are still pretty crappy. I think I'm currently averaging about 1 good photo for every 20 I take. But I am learning more as I go along. I have also discovered the joy of iPhoto. I've been spending a lot of time playing around with my photos, cropping, adjusting and just messing around with them to see what I could do. But I digress.

The tradition at the cottage is to put peanuts and sunflower seeds out on the front step every morning to feed the animals. It doesn't take them long to sniff out the grub, so I sat patiently with my coffee and camera and waited. After a day or two, they got used to having me around and weren't at all concerned that I was just a few feet away from them. I ended up with some excellent shots of the squirrels, chipmunks and various birds that would come to feed. The chipmunks were even running over my feet and eating out of my hand!

I still have quite a bit of editing to do, but these are a few photos I took during our last trip to Otty Lake. I'll put a bunch more on my Flickr stream soon. There are already some unedited ones up from the June trip.

better than chocolate

As far as I'm concerned, there are not too many things better than chocolate. So I was thrilled when one of my co-workers, who had spent a good chunk of his summer in Berlin, gave me some fabulous chocolate from the shop he was living next to.

This is probably the BEST chocolate I have EVER had. Delicious milk chocolate with strong ground coffee. Yummy! Dolfin chocolate is made in Belgium and is apparently available throughout Europe. According to their website, they have a variety of interesting flavours including dark chocolate with pink peppercorns, dark chocolate with green aniseed, and milk chocolate with Hot Masala!

Oh, and the package pictured above...empty.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

it's kinda like those sunsets that leave you feeling so stoned

Elizabeth and I went to see one of our favourite bands this past Wednesday night. Blue Rodeo performed their annual end of summer show at the Molson Amphitheatre. I managed to score fantastic seats, 8th row centre, which is great for the Amphitheatre since it is outdoors and the sound is generally pretty bad there. The closer you are to the stage, the better off you are.

So, Elizabeth drove in to Toronto and picked me up from work. We headed to the show and grabbed a couple of overpriced beers and some dinner and found our seats. Immediately we knew there would be trouble. The rows are pretty narrow and as we squeezed by the couple sitting to our right the man said, "well hopefully this will be the last time." Obviously, he didn't want to have to get up again. The couple to our left didn't seem to be too thrilled about our arrival either. They didn't exactly seem like "party people". I'm sure they were very nice, I'm just saying. After we finished our dinner, we decided to skip the opening act and grab another drink mostly due to the unfriendly surroundings. Once we returned to our seats, we were ready to party. When Blue Rodeo took the stage, we immediately got to our feet. But as they started their first song, we sat down again because nobody else in our area was standing. 8 rows from the stage and we were surrounded by sitters! I bopped around in my seat, fighting the urge to get up and dance. Finally after a few more songs, there were enough people standing in the rows in front of us to obscure our view. Elizabeth and I got to our feet and there we stayed for the remainder of the concert. When we got tired of the people a few rows back telling us to sit down, I turned around and told them that I paid to see the band not the back of the people in front of me. One of them actually said, "if you sit down, so will they." WTF? Now usually, I try to be considerate of others, especially in a concert setting, but this was ridiculous. All I can say is that if you don't want to stand at a concert, don't buy tickets in the front!

Other than that minor annoyance, the concert was fantastic! The band was on fire as usual and they did a good mix of old and new tunes. They did 4 songs from their forthcoming "record", as Greg Keelor called it, including the awesome single "C'Mon". I was thrilled to hear them do the first track off their very first recording, "Heart Like Mine". And I thought Elizabeth might faint when they launched into "Diamond Mine". I've never heard them to this tune live so it was quite a thrill, especially when Bob Packwood rocked a phenomenal organ solo. "Side of the Road" was another highlight. I've always loved that song. And I was thrilled when they came out for the encore and Jim Cuddy went right to the piano. That could only mean one thing, "After The Rain." This has always been my Jim favourite. And he thoughtfully dedicated it to Haydain Neale of Jacksoul, who is still in hospital after being critically injured in a motor vehicle accident at the beginning of August.

So it was a fantastic show with the band performing their hearts out. I'm always blown away when a band sounds as good or better live then it does on their recordings. And Blue Rodeo blows me away, time and time again.

And of course, I brought my camera and managed to get some decent pictures. You can check them out on my Flickr stream, but here are a couple of teasers.

Greg Keelor guiding the audience through the first part of "Hasn't Hit Me Yet"

Jim Cuddy & Greg Keelor performing the opening of "Heart Like Mine"

Jim Cuddy, in the moment

Saturday, August 18, 2007

honour the magic

I don't normally pay much attention to postage stamps. I don't buy them very often as I hardly ever mail anything anymore. But I was at the post office picking up a package and I noticed some new stamps honouring 4 Canadian music legends. Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Paul Anka and Anne Murray have been immortalized with their own stamps. I can't say that I'm a big fan of Anka or Murray but there is no denying the important role of these four in Canadian music. Very cool for Canada Post to recognize them.

i'm still alive...

Hello blogfriends! Yes I'm finally back. Between a really hectic couple of months, a couple of weeks at the cottage and my addiction to Facebook, there has been little time for blogging. But things are getting back to normal and I'm itching to get my back log of draft posts up.

Ahhh. It feels good to be here again.