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 One


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annandfriendbustNaoki and I decided a few months ago, to start this blog on our various adventures in eating in our neighbourhood. It’s taken us a while to get started — eleven-year-old guys are really, really busy. But, it was time to begin so this is our first of, we hope, many entries in our Eating Our Way Down St. Clair blog.

For this first blog, we returned to The Rushton —  a sort of a laid back place a few blocks from where we live. It’s a very comfortable space albeit a bit noisy if you’re trying to have a real conversation. The food is pure comfort-food — fries, macaroni and cheese, sliders, onion soup, salads to name just a few. (Naoki will talk more about the food later on.) Naoki has eaten at the Rushton many times before while hanging out with his Dad watching the World Cup. A few months back, he introduced me and my friend Merrill to it and we were both impressed by the quality of the food and the ambience which is sort of laid back with just a touch of class. It’s moderately priced so a good a place to take a group which is what we did when the Fabros — my nephew and his family — were here on a recent visit to Toronto. A word to the wise, don’t make my mistake and reserve the west-facing window seat in the summer time. Thankfully, we were rescued from the sun in our faces and seated at the pleasant patio on the side of the building.

Now, Naoki is taking over to tell you about the food we ate that night

Naoki’s Food Review

The food was very delectable and easy for anyone to enjoy especially if you’re a picky eater. There seems to be something for anyone on the menu. This night, there were six of us for dinner. Ann’s family had never been there before so they looked for some of their own types of favourite foods.

Lou, the father, ordered the Rigatoni Bolognese. When I asked him what he thought of it, he said, “It was great except the beef was a bit salty and the pasta a little bit cT2vKTYO2FPvMKfeTRgunderdone.” But, when I asked him how he would rate it, he thought about it and said, “You know, I think I’d give it a 9 out of 10.”

Susie, Lou’s wife, took a while to decide what she wanted to eat. So I recommended to her the lamb chops. But then because of the heat outside she decided to go with something more cool. So she picked the Rushton Salad which she said was “extravagant” especially because of the delicious roquefort cheese and gave it 10 out of 10!

Alex was the youngest out of the four of Ann’s family. At first he was wondering about the Mac and Cheese and asked the waiter if it was better than Kraft’s mac and cheese. The waiter said, “It’s a lot more elevated and delicious.” This made us all laugh. Alex decided on getting the soft shell tacos and also asked for additional cheese. When the tacos were served he said, “They’re a bit too small and not too much flavour and they’re too dry.” But then he ate all of them and still gave them a 7 out of 10.

Meghan, the oldest child out of the two, followed her mother’s lead and ordered a salad. She chose the Burrato salad with tomatoes, pickled onions, arugula topped with Mozzarella cheese and fresh mint. Meghan said that the mint was a bit too overpowering and she would have liked more of the balsamic vinegar dressing. She said she would
recommend it and gave it a 8.5 out of 10.



Ann stuck with her favourites: beef sliders with caramelized onion and sweet potato fries. She said that she preferred the turkey sliders she had had before. But she loves the fries — it’s her number one pick at The Rushton and would give them a 11 out of 10.

I had one of the specials: teriyaki steak with shitake mushrooms and cucumbers with a  small salad of cabbage and carrots. I thought the shiitake mushrooms were a bit undercooked and chewy but the steak was perfectly cooked to medium rare and the teriyaki sauce was mouthwatering. I would give it a 9.5 out of 10.





We would definitely recommend The Rushton for a very good eating experience in a friendly, welcoming, good service atmosphere. For the full menu and contact information, check out the link above.


We would love to have your comments about our blog and what further kinds of things you would like us to include.

We’ll see you next time as we Eat Our Way Down St. Clair

Ann and Naoki