For years I kept journals -- in composition, spiral bound, and French graph paper books. This blog is an attempt to get back to writing and documenting the world around me using photos, newspaper headlines, and other articles.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


We lucked out in our trip to Toronto.  We arrived after the ice storm and left the morning that the arctic air blew in to town.  Our drive started in snow, both on the way to the Schongalla day after Christmas reunion in Sudbury, MA and then as we left that gathering on our way west.  I think the snow had ended before we hit the ascent into the Berkshires.  Traffic was light, Nedim and I were both wide awake, so we pushed on and drove to Toronto Thursday night, crossing into Canada around 1:00 am and arriving in the city around 2:30 Friday morning.

The city was still recovering from the ice storm.  There were people staying in the hotel that had not had power in their own homes for five days.  I am not a good pioneer woman and my heart went out those families.  Mid morning we drove over to Tyler and Natalie's.  Their apartment had maintained power throughout the storm.  As we were sitting in the living room, unwrapping presents, their power went out.  Hoping we didn't jinx the power situation, we left around 2:30 to go back to the hotel for a swim.  As we drove away, the power was being restored nearby.  We could tell -- the traffic lights started working and we watched them come to life one after the other as we drove down the road.

Before we could swim, I had to buy a bathing suit.  I made a great list before we left, but I forgot to look at it Thursday morning.  I had been so focused on getting all the Christmas stuff ready for the Schongalla gathering, that didn't review it before driving away.  Luckily, there was a Sears a few blocks away from the hotel.  They were having a going out of business sale and I mixed and matched a suit bottom and top, not caring too much about style.  For $30, I didn't do too badly.

It felt so good to get into the water.  We had been in the car for hours and hours and my muscles were tight.  The lap pool was nice, but the hot tub was better.  45 minutes was not enough time for Selim, but we had to get out and shower so that we could go back to Tyler's and have dinner.

Saturday morning we ate breakfast out of the hotel.  Apparently we hit on a Toronto institution, Fran's.  The food was plentiful and the price, just right.

For the day's activities, Nedim dropped us off with the family and then he went to visit his friend John.  Ten years ago, Nedim and I spent New Years in Toronto with John and his family.  We hadn't seen them since.  It was nice that John was around and that they could reconnect.  While he was doing his thing, we (Dad, Tyler, Natalie, Georgia, Selim and I) took the subway downtown to the ice rink in front of the old City Hall.

Georgia's first subway ride.

She slept through it.

Mosaic mural by the platform

Enough, Mom.

Grandfather and grandson

He humored me as I asked for yet another pose.

We brought our own skates and were able to enjoy the activity free. Skating there is akin to skating at Rockefeller Center.  It felt like a native thing to do, yet very touristy at the same time.  It was really fun.  Selim hasn't skated much on a rink.  He is more used to ponds and lakes and not the constant turning around an oval.  He did well and didn't want the activity to end.  I cut it short because it was getting past the regular lunch time and I didn't want his chipmunk engine to run out and for him to get cranky.

We stayed long enough to see the Zamboni.

We walked across the street to the Eaton Center and ate lunch at the food court and did a little shopping.  Selim picked out a souvenir/Christmas present -- a Toronto hockey jersey.  Just as we were approaching the subway to go back home, Georgia woke up and decided to tell the world that she was hungry.  Good thing there were seats available in the back of the subway car where Natalie could have a bit of privacy and take care of her needs.

For the rest of the afternoon we played games and enjoyed the conversation that flowed around the apartment.  We left after dinner and went back to the pool.  I gave up on enforcing regular bed time schedule and let Selim enjoy the weather.

Sunday morning we went back to Fran's Restaurant for breakfast.  Selim had chocolate chip pancakes for the second day in a row.  I had oatmeal home fries again and Nedim had a huge omelet thing on a croissant.

After eating we walked around, enjoying the relative warmth and empty streets.

Decorations on Yonge St.

Reminded me of London

I love maps.

The CN Tower in the background.

Modern police station

But by 10:30, we were back in the pool.  11:30 rolled around and I had to coax Selim out of the water.  Sigh.  After showering and trying to rid ourselves of our chlorine smell, we were ready to meet up with the family.

We enjoyed a lazy afternoon in the apartment.  We watched football, played cards,


learned a new craft,

held the baby, and cooked (though not at the same time).

We said our goodbyes after dinner.  That was hard.  I don't like saying goodbye to family.  I'm glad we made the effort and took that road trip.  It is a dicey proposition in the winter, driving through Buffalo.  But the weather was kind to us and Selim was a real trooper.  I'm grateful that we could spend time together as a family, our small unit and then combined with the family at large.  I know I will remember moments from this trip for a long time to come.

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