Monday, December 28, 2015

Lunch at Hilkka's

Pastor Hilkka invited a few of us over to her and Misa's place for lunch last Sunday. They share an apartment on Bayview, not far from Tyndale University. After church I went up with her, while Willy drove Tony and Iris after dropping his son Wilson off at home.

Upon arrival I met their big, orange cat, Sammy. After checking me out he promptly went into the closet in one of the bedrooms to hide. Really, Sammy... really? He wouldn't even come out for a treat.

While waiting for the others to arrive I had a look through Hilkka and Misa's Shutterfly creations. Like me, they also like to make books with Shutterfly. While I usually make books of my travels, Hilkka concentrates on her many nature shots. She shoots all year round which is great.

Lunch was wonderful. Misa spent a lot of time preparing her version of different Indian dishes. She starts with a traditional dish and adds a signature twist to her particular taste.

After lunch we had tea and dessert and chatted about various topics around the table. We had an interesting talk about drawing trees which Tony started. He says you can find out a lot about a person from how they draw them.

Thanks to Misa and Hilkka for a lovely afternoon!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Potluck at Tom and Florianne's

Tom and Florianne had a Christmas potluck dinner at their place on Saturday. I think the last time I was at their place was for another holiday potluck dinner three years ago.

That was probably the last time I saw some of their other invited guests. Other than cursory contact through Facebook, I hadn't met up with many of them in person in quite awhile.

Of course there were new people too. Tom invited some of his other hockey friends over from a mixed league that plays on Saturday night. They were the second wave of people who showed up... after their game of course (since it was Saturday).

I know Tom from hockey on Fridays. We've played with the same group of friends for many years. I met Florianne dragon boating in the summer a few years back. It's nice that they've opened up their home to different gatherings over the years. Tom's a great cook. There's always a lot of wonderful food. And it's great to catch up with people after such a long time apart.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Animorphia - Colouring Book

I know... it's weird isn't it? I bought my first colouring book in probably over 40 years.

It seems like adult colouring books are all the rage now (for now). I went to my local Indigo bookstore and there was a large, two-table display with many different books. There were floral themes, tattoos, and movie and TV show themed books among others.

There were two I was interested in at first. One was Fantastic Cities of the world; the other a fantasy one called, Animorphia.

While the black and white line drawings of the cities looked amazing, I decided against that book because I thought buildings would end up being mostly flat, mundane colours. On the other hand, the flora and fauna in Animorphia were more organic and could be brightly coloured. So I chose that one.

My mom found my old Prismacolor 60-pencil set at home. I bought it over 25 years ago when I was taking graphic design at George Brown College. I had been looking at coloured pencil sets and they were pretty expensive. A similar set nowadays would probably run around $40-$50.

I was considering a $5 12-pencil set, but that definitely wouldn't have sufficed. To do a good job colouring you really need an extensive number of pencils.

One thing I didn't consider was the amount of time that would be involved in colouring each double-page spread. My first one took at least six hours in total. My second will probably end up taking longer. I'm only half way through it and it's really dragging.

It's not as relaxing as I hoped it would be. It's actually quite intensive. But the finished product makes me happy. I'm really pleased with how they turned out. It's another outlet for my creativity.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Potluck at Mike and Carol's

My friends, Mike and Carol, invited me over to their house for Christmas potluck dinner on Saturday. I used to work with them at Trader for many years (many years ago). I last saw them two or three years ago when they last had another get-together.

After I went to the dentist I bought a pie and a dozen croissants from the Superstore at Don Mills and Eglinton. I have to buy food for potluck dinners since I can't cook. Don't want to inadvertently poison anyone trying, you know.

There was a lot of food at the party. A lot. My croissants were put on a side table and sat there lonely and ignored for most of the night. After eating some other things I thought I'd start on them to get the ball rolling. I ate one first, then a second when I dropped it on the floor while moving the box trying to fit more food on the table.

My pie sat untouched amongst a sea of other delicious desserts too. By the time people were digging into them I was pretty full and needed a break. I had to leave a bit early to meet up with Gabe and Justin to watch UFC 194 Aldo vs. McGregor. So I don't actually know if anyone had any of the pie either. I sure hope they did.

It was great seeing a few old faces again. Besides Mike and the Taylor clan (mom, dad and the sisters), I saw Iuliana and Alex and their kids and Sue and Robin and their son, Christian, too. So that was really good.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Barnabas Sings at St. Paul's L'Amoreaux Centre

A few of my friends from Barnabas Fellowship at RHCCC (Richmond Hill Christian Community Church) and I got together to sing Christmas carols at St. Paul's L'Amoreaux Centre at Finch and Warden last Friday.

St. Paul's L'Amoreaux Centre is a not-for-profit organization that provides programs and services for older adults. For more than 35 years they’ve provided affordable housing and have been actively involved in supporting their independence.

A week before we went we were given the list of songs we were going to sing. The day before, we went to RHCCC to run through them. Our program was to include 10 songs performed by everyone, plus one performed by Glen alone (that he wrote) and another by Rebecca alone. In the middle we'd take a break to chat with the residents.

Here's the list of what we sang - Imagine (re-worded by Rebecca), Feliz Navidad/Stand By Me, Silent Night, Jingle Bells, Little Drummer Boy, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Good Christians All Rejoice, Away in a Manger, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Hope has Come (by Glen, solo), and Joy to the World.

We met at St. Paul's at 7:00 p.m.. I was a bit late due to the rush hour traffic and the fact that there was absolutely no parking at the place. Along with a number of the others I parked across the street at Bridlewood Mall.

Besides Rob (who came in from Mississauga or Milton and was really late), Sandra and I were the last two to arrive at around quarter after. Linda was waiting for us at the main entrance to show us where to go. After putting our coats away in a back room we gathered in front of the audience of about three dozen.

One of the staff members killed some time with games as we waited for Rob, the guitarist, to show up. When we couldn't wait any longer we began without him.

I have to admit I was feeling a bit nervous at the beginning. Though, I thought to myself, I really shouldn't worry. I doubt anyone in the audience would be very critical of us.

Still, I think we started off tentatively. I think everyone felt how I did at first, a little overwhelmed. Our slightly shaky practice hadn't given us so much confindense.

Though we were no Mormon Tabernacle Choir I'm sure the seniors enjoyed our performance. Rebecca and Alan lightened the mood with their enthusiastic attitudes.

After we finished we were even invited back for the following year. So, I suppose, we were at least moderately entertaining.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Jatujak Thai Restaurant

My friends and I went to Jatujak Thai Restaurant on Victoria Park south of Lawrence Avenue on Saturday. My sister had taken our family there for lunch a week earlier and I really liked it. So I made the suggestion of going again.

It's a relatively small place that's simply decorated with warm-coloured wooden tables and chalk boards on the walls with drawings of the available cuisine.

We ordered my favourite Gaeng Karee (yellow curry with potatoes and onions) with Fish - $11.95; Jatujak Pad Thai with Chicken - $10.95; Jatujak Fried Rice with Shrimp - $11.95; and washed it down with Singha Thai Beer - $5.75/bottle.

If you live in the area, drop on by. You won't regret it. If you don't live in the area, still drop on by. It's well worth the trip. Gaeng Karee with Fish... that's the one dish you have to get.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Dinner at Fune

After going to the Toronto Marlies game we headed over to Japanese restaurant, Fune, on Simcoe Street south of Adelaide. It's sister restaurant to Yamato in Yorkville (both of whom we deliver hot towels to).

I have to say, I wish I had brought my camera, but I didn't. The best I could do was use Will's wife, Carolyn's, iPhone to take a few shots.

It's a nice looking place for sure. A bit more upscale a restaurant than I'd normally go to. But with that upscale interior came an upscale price. While not outrageous, my 8-piece sushi combo with California roll came in at $27.

Quality-wise, it was better than what I'd typically have at an All-You-Can-Eat joint. But, to me, just. For the same dinero I could have gone to local favourite, Echo, and ate until I couldn't move. Just saying...