One Word at a Time Will Get Me On My Way



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Now that I’ve made the promise to myself, that this year, this 2019, I would do things differently, think new thoughts, try scary things and break through some of these fears and self-doubts that I’ve been wearing all these 72 years, I’m finding that it ain’t as easy as writing the words. I didn’t think it would be a breeze, but I had convinced myself that I was ready and even eager to take this challenge on. I thought I was ready to propel myself into this adventure but forgot that all of those fears were still sitting inside of me waiting to rear their ugly heads and put the brakes on my otherwise rosy plans.

All this self-recrimination started when my good friend, M, sent me the seat sale for Westjet. She didn’t write anything, just sent me the advertisement. We had talked about it earlier in the week and she had told me that their sales were fantastic. So her intentions were all good and I had told her — and myself — that this year I was going to travel. Go Someplace Where I’ve Never Been Before, I boasted. Get myself back to an ocean somewhere in this world. I was going to pack my bag and head off to one of my great unknowns. But I couldn’t do it that day. I couldn’t be spontaneous and just pick a date out of the blue, pluck my credit card down, and plan the trip afterwards.

I was greatly disappointed in myself. I felt like I had, in the first month of this new year, negated all my promises. I sent M an email and asked her if she thought my reluctance to just go-with-it and get a reservation was a sign of my “old demons” rearing their ugly heads. She wrote back that only I could answer that question.

That made me feel worse.

I had to do something to pull my spirit out of the toilet. So I decided to put the whip back in the closet and stop the shaming voice inside my head — which, as you probably know, is utterly worthless. Instead, I took a smaller, but a very important, step towards my 2019 goals. I started reading one of the books on my Ann’s 2019 Reading List.

Earlier this year — can you even say that when you’re still in January? — I decided, as part of this New-Ann-In-2019, it was time to wean myself off of the steady diet of period mysteries I have been reading for the past ten years or so and challenge my mind with something a little more substantive. I knew I couldn’t be trusted to pick out a new reading list on my own. I’ve had too many disappointments in the past. After reading glowing reviews of books in the New Yorker or in the paper, I would eagerly put them on hold at the library. By the time they came in, I couldn’t figure out why the hell I ordered it as I struggled to get beyond the first fifteen pages. (My friend, L, told me never to trust book reviews, “They’re written only to sell the books, Ann.”)

So, this time, I didn’t put my reading future into the hands of strangers. No, instead, I sent an email to a bunch of my wonderful, eclectic friends, and asked them for the titles of their two, or three favourite books. The results have been amazing. I have a list of 24 books so far that are as varied and interesting as the people who gave them to me. There are classics I’ve never read, a trilogy on witches and vampires, another trilogy described by the friend who recommended it, as an “Indian soap opera,” tell-all memoirs, a heavy Canadian content that I have avoided reading these past 23 years, and lots more. I probably won’t like them all but I’ll read them all. It’s another one of those promises I made myself.

And, there are added bonuses to this method: 1) I have my friends right here to talk with about the books afterwards and, 2) when the time comes when I do make that reservation to go someplace I’ve never been before, I’ll not have to even think about what I’m going to take to read on the trip.

Now I’m off to start Book II on the list.


It’s Been A Long Long L-o-n-g Time


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Here I am again, sitting down to write this blog. I’ve missed it but I had sunk into a little bit of a mire and just couldn’t pull myself out enough to put words down here. But, it’s time. A lot has happened including a broken arm, aka Macy, a lot of healing that still isn’t done and re-meeting my friend Naoki.

I first met Naoki when he was about 4 years old and used to hang out in the beauty parlour where his mom worked. He was never shy and felt perfectly at ease with the women who came in to have their hair and nails and waxing done. I got to meet him mainly over the spelling of G-U-M which I think he figured out that I’d cough up the gum whether he spelled it right or not.

When I was moving last year, I discovered that he and his mom and dad were across the street neighbours of mine. It was one of the few happy moments that I had in those early days of living here. But a year has passed and I’m feeling more at home and a lot of it has to do with Naoki helping me heal from my broken arm and taking good care of Rose-The-Cat.

He, also, has been teaching me a lot about food joints in the neighbourhood. So he and I have decided to use this blog every once in a while, to share with you the fun we’re going to have eating and writing our way down St. Clair Avenue So far we’ve had a pub meal, sliders and lamb chops at a more upscale restaurant and tacos in a butcher shop. We’ll write about them all and definitely more — or as many as our pocket books and waistlines can afford.

So, from here on out, sometimes this blog will be me telling more stories about whatever adventures I find myself embarking on. And, then, other times it will be Naoki and I reviewing the yummy or not-so-yummy food that we find on the Avenue,

Whenever you see this picture — drawn by my downstairs neighbour, Moo — you’ll know that it’s a Annie/Naoki blog.


This is Moo’s drawing of the two of us. It captures a lot of our energy and spirit and the friends we have become. Check out more of Moo’s art here.


It’s good to be back writing again and I hope you stick around to hear all mine and our stories.