Thursday, May 15, 2014

Catching Up

Predictably, this post has taken me two weeks to write.

Two weekends ago, I went to Ladies Night with my neighbourhood ladies on Friday night.  We had Middle Eastern food at Tabule.  It was delicious!  I'm super-into Lebanese style food lately and the renditions there are sooo tasty.  Fresh, vegetable-focused, centred around shareable plates and finger foods.  Love it.

Thanks to an armada of babysitters, we were able to keep up our tradition of going to Hot Docs, which has been going on almost as long as we've been together.  This must be at least our 10th year or something.  Our friend L is one of the programmers and hooked us up, large!  We are so lucky to have her and to have such a ground-breaking, world-renown festival in our city.

On Saturday we saw Return to Homs, which is essentially about the gritty, numbing isolation of armed revolution.  It was a Sundance winner.  It's harrowing.  Constructed mostly of amateur footage, it follows a young Syrian football star, Basset, who becomes a leader in the Free Syrian Army.  What started with him leading crowds singing in the streets as part of the Arab Spring movement, it ends up with him leading an armed resistance to the government crackdown on the city of Homs.  People get shot.  It is grim.  The rebels are cut off from food and supplies.  You see the city become a literal shell of what it was.  I was reminded, nonsensically, of Les Miserables and the youthful fire of the young men who lead that revolution, and their disillusionment in the face of losing so many of their peers and the crushing force of the government.  It's so easy to criticize from our cushy remove in the West the seeming chaos and lack of momentum in the wake of the Arab Spring.  When you are a few generations removed from civil war, it's hard to see how entrenched dictatorships can be, and how disorganized resistance movements are.  I kept thinking that this Basset character is just a kid.  A 22 year old kid who is trying to hold a city, with other 22 year old kids.  At a certain point, it's so obvious that they are so weary from fighting, so tired of being beaten into a corner, out-manned and out-armed.  During a lull in the fighting, Basset is asked if he would consider coaching football, when this is all over.  He dismisses it out of hand, "I can't be a coach.  To coach football, you need an education, a degree..." and the irony of the fact that without an education, without a degree, he's trying to re-draw the world order in Syria is lost on him.  This is not the kind of documentary one enjoys, per se, but it is important, and necessary.  

The next day, on a completely different note, we saw a doc called Beyond Clueless, which purported to be an examination of teen movies in the post-Hughes era (late 90s into the 2000s).  I was like, SOLD!  My first misgivings surfaced when at the start of the screening, the "filmmaker" was introduced.  My first thought was like, "who is this kid?" followed by: "oh no, he's British, this can't be good."  Well folks, it wasn't.  Narrated by Fairuza Balk, the film is a stitched-together montage of fare like Bubble Boy, Cruel Intentions, Mean Girls, and The Craft and features analysis that tells us that teens in films are punished when they try to subvert the status quo, or that teens are disempowered by adults, or that teen sexuality is fraught.
UHHH, DUH.  The kid filmmaker as it turns out, is 23.  Soooo, I'm sure you can guess the level of discourse he's capable of.  It was THE WORST.  He must be so loaded.  To get the rights for all those clips (which make up the WHOLE FILM?)  It was so annoying.  If we had stayed for the Q&A we would have torn him a new one.  You know what's worse than British kids?  ENTITLED BRITISH KIDS (Prince George excepted of course).  

So the docs weren't exactly a home run.  BUT!  The Dotytron and I got to participate in a Dotytron-Lagerfeld tradition, and we got to be together, just the two of us, and eat out.  A win all around.  On Saturday we had lunch at my current obsession, Sud Forno.  From the people who brought you the Terroni empire, this place is as close as I've come in Toronto to an Ital-towns experience.  They serve a variety of sweet things, breads, and flat pizzas and sandwiches, and these stuffed flatbreads which are delicious.   We had the sausage pizza type thing, a salami and arugula one, this cold fried eggplant, ricotta, and tomato sandwich (my favorite thing in the world right now), and their flatbread stuffed with proscuitto and more arugula.  This year has been the year of arugula for me.  I love everything there!

Then I went a little bit crazy and spent like $30 on that box you see up there.  I HAVEN'T HAD A BOMBOLONE IN LIKE, 7 YEARS PEOPLE.  THAT'S A LONG A** TIME.  What the heck was I supposed to do?  NOT overpay for delicious, custard filled doughnuts?  Pah!  I also got zeppole which I love, but I could probably make at home (choux paste stuffed with whipped cream and candied cherries), but my favorite thing was the little whipped-cream topped thing on the far right, 2nd row.  It's a little sponge cake with whipped cream and limoncello.  So tasty.  This is what I love about Ital-towns desserts and baked goods: they really know the value of slathering whipped cream on dough.  That is basically the definition of my wheelhouse.  If you were to draw a picture of my wheelhouse, it would be made of dough and an excess of lightly sweetened whipped cream.  The best was that this old school, OG, Italian lady came in and had the internationally recognized grumpy old lady exchange with the staffer regarding how exorbitant the pricing was and all but spat on her way out the door.  She was like, "are you kidding me with $4 bombolone?" and I was like, deeply embarrassed BUT STILL UNABLE TO RESIST.  

The next day we had brunch at The Saint on Ossington.  It's a really pretty space, all sparkling white subway tile, black bar, brass fixtures.  I'm super into that combo lately.  White and black and grey with warm wood and brass with pops of colour.  I tried floating the idea with the Dotytron of painting our downstairs all white and he put his foot down.  We currently have a deep plum accent wall and he loves it.  I'll have to get this black/white/brass fixation out of the way when we finish the basement (so, like, never, or after I'm already onto something new).  

These are more gold than brass and I find the contrast a little jarring.  Maybe if there was more warm wood in there to act as a bridge between the start white and shiny gold?

Kitchen/bath reno is basically a go.  I've got a to-do list a mile long.  There are toilets and tubs to research, fixtures to be brought back from the States (shouts to my sis and Uncle Rico, who are being amazing about acting as a glorified warehouse for me at the moment), a million details to go over (what height for the beadboard in the bathroom?  How to trim the tile?  How to cap the beadboard?  What kind of robe hooks?).  When I've been telling people our (read: my) plan to do the kitchen/bath and then dig down the basement and do the waterproofing all this year, I'm predictably getting a bit of side-eye and bemused-face about the whole thing.  But listen: a flipped house on our street, 10 down from us, sold for $742,000.  THAT'S THREE QUARTERS OF A MILLION DOLLARS, PEOPLE.  FOR A HOUSE OUR SIZE.  The guys who flipped it were super-nice so I wanted them to do well, but when I walked through (they gave the neighbours an exclusive preview), I just thought it was aight.  I actually didn't like the design at all and the finishing was a little shoddy and they didn't even pick high-end fixtures.  The taps were MOEN, people!  MOEN!  FOR $742,000!!!  It was like what a condo designer thinks is a nice layout.  So not my taste.  I'm fussy.  I'm an oil-rubbed bronze kind of a girl, ya know?  I'm a crystal doorknob kind of a person.  I don't want my house to look builder-new.  Anyway, I'm feeling pretty good about our decision.  Even if you figure that $75K of that is due to the market being "hot", we're still going to cover what we're sinking into our renos and then some.  

Where was I?  Oh yes, The Saint.  Food was tasty - the Dotytron ordered the duck egg scramble with duck confit.  His only quibble was that there wasn't enough duck confit.  I ordered the duck egg benny on a cheddar biscuit.  Both come with potatoes lyonnaise, which basically means "potato deliciousness."  I would definitely go back.  The service was nice, they were bumping (we didn't make resos and had to sit at the bar), but they could accommodate kids (saw quite a few families there).  

The rest of my week(s) have been preoccupied with reno business and trying to do some spring cleaning/downsizing/getting rid of baby stuff.  I'm surprisingly unemotional about the baby purging.  I think the fact that in 4 weeks, I'll be bringing in zero money is really helping to motivate me to sell and any lingering pangs watching Bumbos and play mats and such leave the house are attenuated by the cash I'm getting in their stead.  If I have another baby, it won't be for some time, and then I can just re-up all that shiz anyway.  I won't have to buy it because everyone will be in the state of unloading their baby ish.  When you have twin infants, switching over your summer clothes or re-upping the kids' summer inventory or poring over the Ikea kitchen planner for the MILLIONTH TIME will take you weeks of your life to accomplish.  I basically spend my days measuring and writing little notes of measurements and dimensions to myself that I then refer back to, and without any context, then have to re-measure again and again.  FUN.

SMckay came over on Friday and when they Dotytron came home, he became obsessed with trying to sort out a profile to see if he could still get chicks.  This involved him looking through old photo albums to find a TWELVE YEAR OLD photo of himself to use as a profile pic.  This also involved him trying desperately to create his profile with the user name: "URBEINGCATFISHED" which is pretty much the best online dating user name of life.  SO GOOD.  

We also hung with Dr. Rei and Hanbo this weekend and had a hilarious time talking about what 9 out of 10 Serge Tankians would think of anything, as well as how FUBU (for us, by us) Hassidic Jew communities in Montreal are.  There was also an extended, "What the shih tzu" bit that I know means nothing to you all, but I'm recording it here for posterity because that's what this blog is for, and also, because Dr. Rei laughed so hard that she almost had her baby, so it's worth remembering.  

My Mother's Day was pretty boss.  The Dotytron knows what I like, which is to do work, so he made me breakfast and then we went to town trying to get our backyard in order.  It's looking good back there!  I know people probably think we were silly to make such a giant deck, but when we're out there, we love it so, so, so much.  It's like a dock.  It's like having a giant outdoor room.  We moved things around and bought these recycled rubber tiles (Envirotiles) and laid them out on the concrete pad.  We're going to put a kiddie pool and a sandbox there, so we wanted something a little softer on wee kidlet feet than the bare concrete.    I bought a new dining table from IKEA and now we're either going to build a bench out there or have our carpenter do it.  That and a thing to store our recycling/garbage cans and stuff and some plants and we're done.  I can't wait!  

One of the things I asked for was a decent picture of all of us.  The backdrop on this one is horrid, but look at my cute family!!!  Look at how much Quincess' head shape has changed!  


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