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.


Eating Our Way Down St. Clair: Episode Two


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annandfriendbustFor this episode of our blog, Naoki and I wandered a short block off of St. Clair to the  Wychwood Barns Farmer’s Market.

The Barns, as locals call them, were built in 19I3 to house the maintenance facilities for streetcars.  When the transit company

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Saturday market at Wychwood Barns

stopped using the facility, it was scheduled to be destroyed but with the efforts of neighbours and the city councilman this wonderful building was saved and turned into a community hub of which the market is an integral part. The market is open every Saturday all year around. In the summer it moves outside under festive white tents.

I go to the market to get wonderful fresh vegetables, cheeses, meats and fruit. Naoki goes to the market to eat! And eat he does. So we decided to highlight some of his favourite foods and vendors.

Now, I’ll turn this over to him for all the yummy details.


Naoki’s Food Review

Whenever I go to the Wychwood Market, I always eat and drink in a certain pattern through the market. I will always start with something to drink. In the winter, I will get a green smoothie with kale, banana, and strawberries. Butfullsizeoutput_cc2 in the summer, like this past week, I decided on a strawberry lemonade. I like it because it has the perfect amount of sour in the lemonade and the strawberries add a perfect amount of sweetness. And the best part is Ann won’t bug me about plastic waste because they use paper straws.

So, with my drink in hand, I moved on to FOOD. I was starving when I got to the market because I had forgotten to eat my breakfast that day. So I was pretty hungry and ready to eat. I headed for the stand that sells the breakfast sausage sandwich. It has mustard seeds, corn, relish, cheddar cheese DV1K90yJQZOHs5vIQUYsUQand a breakfast sausage patty that was grilled to perfection all on a corn meal bun. It tasted heavenly. The crunch of the corn balanced out the moistness of the breakfast sausage. But it did not satisfy my hunger so I had to go searching for some more yummy food

I had to wait for Ann because she was signing a petition for making climate change a top priority in the upcoming election. There’s always a lot of stuff happening in the market. I just waited while she signed and got hungrier.


We kept walking until we came to the Japanese stall (Natural Japan Eats) where I usually get my mochi. I love mochi but that day I wasn’t feeling like it. So I decided on the Sushi Megabites which I always call the “sushi burrito” because of it’s long long round shape like a burrito. I like it because it has a whole bunch of flavours from the sweetness of the tofu to the saltiness of the soy sauce. The sushi megabite has cucumber, carrot, fried tofu, and rice, of course, wrapped in nori which you probablyfullsizeoutput_ccb
know is seaweed. I offered a bite to Ann who doesn’t like tofu but I told her the tofu was not raw and jiggly but it was fried. She said she liked it. While I was eating the rest of it,
Ann was taking to the two young women behind the counter telling them about our blog. They were very excited and let us take their picture.



After that I was feeling like I wanted something more savoury. So I walked a few steps more to find my favourite Momos which me and Ann both like. These are Tibetan dumplings which I just love. I find it hard to explain it in words. They are just delicious and my mouth waters when I think of them. My usual order is two pork and two beef momos topped with cabbage salad that is simply purple cabbage and carrots. Once I get them, I drown them in soy sauce and cut them in half so they absorb the soy sauce and then eat them. One time, I made the mistake of putting too much hot sauce on them and had to run across The Barns to the water fountain a dozen times to cool my mouth down. Ann always buys frozen momos and always the same kinds — two vegetarian and two beef. the first time she bought them she didn’t didn’t know how to cook them so I had to teach her how to cook them.

I was ready to sit down and eat my momos but Ann had to have a conversation with all of the people making the momos. They all had a good laugh. Thankfully, they got


Nam the friendliest memo seller I’ve ever met

busy selling more momos so we had to leave and I was able to finally drag Ann off to a shady place so I could eat. On the way we saw a lady doing some chalk painting on the sidewalk. Today, I went by and saw the finished painting and it was beautiful.










Me finally getting to eat my momos.