Advice Sought

I am thinking about taking another cycling trip late this fall (when it might see like winter) to Cambodia.  It will be similar to my trip to Vietnam in that it will be cycling with bus sections and tourist stops.

Trying to improve upon my last trip, or at least learn some lessons from that adventure, I definitely want to clip into the pedals of the bike.  I could definitely have used that on some of the uphill section of the last tour.  The only problem is that my road bike shoes are hellish to walk in.

I am hoping some of my readers (and please send a link to other cyclists) could give me some advice.  I would like some advice on what shoes or sandals  pedal combination would be easiest to walk in when I am off the bike.

Current contenders include:sandalshoes

Keens Commuter 4 shoes–I have heard that these are somewhat narrow.  They are also discontinued, so I would be buying them online, without trying them on.  I consider this less than ideal.

Pearl Izumi X-Road Fuel….. these are also descricyclingshoesbed as flat commuter shoes.  Might work.

I am sure there are some I am missing, but I would love to hear everyone’s take on this.  I definitely want to have an even better experience than the last time (if that is possible).  All footwear options are on the table.

 

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Posted in adventure, advice, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bike shop, Cambodia, cycling shoes, Exodus Travels, shoes, shopping, travel | Leave a comment

New Food: The Doner

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I have had a chance to experience the food trend that has already swept Europe.  Will it sweep up Toronto too?

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On a beautiful Friday, with temperatures way above seasonal, I ventured to Kensington Market to get a taste of a Doner. Kensington Market is a storied neighbourhood in Toronto with off-beat shops, artist charm and grime, storied locations (Twitch City anyone) more than a few marijuana dispensaries, and lots of food.

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Toronto has lots of food.  We are fortunate enough to have access to a world menu; sometimes authentic, sometimes adapted to the Torontonian palate (I am talking to you Sushi Pizza).  If you want it you can come and get it.

My German and Swiss students have been talking about Doner for years.  I decided to Google it and found one in the city.  Luckily I was off early on Friday.  The weather was great and I decided to go and have one and a couple of beers.  Apparently the price in German is only a couple of Euro, but here it was around 10 dollars.

I think the pictures say it all. It was so delicious that I might have to will become a regular customer.

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, beer, delicious, Doner, eating, ethnic food, food, Kensington Market | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Confusing Scenes from the Bus

Today, as I continued to mourn the loss of Gord Downie, a scene on the bus made me realize that I find people amusing….or is it confusing.

Two different people were talking on their phones; one in front of me and the other behind me. The one behind me was using the walkie-talkie function, so I could here her, as well as the person she was speaking to.  I would also be remiss if I did not explain that she was yelling into the microphone because she was holding it two inches from her face and must have been worried that the person on the other end couldn’t possibly hear her.  The one in front spent her conversation detailing her thoughts on her ex, his wardrobe, ways in which she wanted to hurt him, a lively description of his genitals, and a few choice words for other acquaintances.  It probably comes as no surprise that this conversation was spiked with lots of expletives (not that I blame her).

I hope you don’t get the wrong idea. I am not complaining.  It was an interesting show, probably better than whatever is new on cable.  My only wonder is when did people stop thinking of the bus as a public space.

Sure, over the years, I have seen a ton of spectacular scenes on public transportation. These two people hardly qualify as the most colourful.  They certainly weren’t the loudest people I have ever encountered.  They also weren’t the bawdiest, or even the most interesting.

I guess I just can’t get over the fact that they wanted to share their conversations with all of us.

After the show started to get repetitive, I put my headphones on and listened to “Up to Here”–the first full length album of the Tragically Hip. I intend to listen to all of the albums this week.

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, bus, commuting, music, public transportation, The Tragically Hip, Viva | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

You Never Disappointed Us

I woke up doubting that there would be any Perfect Moment today.  When I found out that Gord Downie had passed away……how could there be.  It’s just a shitty, shitty day.

I have seen the Hip (The Tragically Hip for those who are not familiar) several times in concert.  They were the band from my university days.  They are the band that we always play when my friends and I got together.  Last summer, when we were camping, we listened to their farewell concert by the light of campfire.

When I lived in Japan, my friend sent me a tape (getting Canadian music was somewhat difficult then) of their CD–Day for Night.  I played it for 4 weeks straight in my car and in my house.

I did my best to expose the international teachers to the music.

I loved those recordings where Gord would start doing a free form story.  They were unlike anything I had heard up until that point.

I don’t exactly have the words to describe what I am feeling.  There are so many poignant lyrics to their songs.  They say more than I ever could.

Thank you for entertaining me.  Thank you for pushing for aboriginal causes.  Thank you for not selling out.

The last words sung at the concert were  “disappointing you is getting me down.”  The truth is Gord, you never disappointed us.  NEVER.

Rest in Peace.

Posted in appreciation, Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, The Tragically Hip | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

A Friend Indeed

Today’s Perfect Moment is a surprise to me. What I mean is that the event is not a surprise, because it is definitely worthy of the title, but rather that its occurence was a wonderful surprise.

A little background. I have a friend, who started off as a colleague, who I pursued briefly as a romantic interest, who has not firmly become a friend.  We went to movies together, talked about stuff, and went to restaurants that she chose.  I had been in a bit of a food rut and was definitely glad to get some recommendations.

She no longer lives locally and we haven’t seen each other often. However, whenever I am in a restaurant that she took me too, I feel compelled to send her a text message.  I don’t know whether I should forever identify someone with a restaurant, but I tend to do a kind of lump categorization.  People remind me of songs, songs remind me of people.  Places become associated with people and vice versa.  Movies definitely are connected to all of it.

After today’s text, she wrote back asking how I was. I explained that I hadn’t been feeling well lately and that I had encountered a problem which required minor surgery.  Strangely enough, my general default is honesty smeared with a big of vagueness.  I only lie to my students just to test limits of the gullibility and my creativity.  For other people in my life, they get far more honesty than they can handle.  I am not foolish enough to think of it as a virtue, but I appreciate it in my own way.

In case you think I have lost the thread of this, …..well, you’d be wrong.

So, out of the blue, my friend called me. This is something we have done sparingly.  We had a wonderful conversation covering health, the future, dating (not each other) work, taxation, writing, ukuleles, and books.  I was very happy that she reached out to me and it really made me feel good.  That’s why it is Today’s Perfect Moment

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, conversation, friends, friendship, talking | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Quick Book Review

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I finished The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker. I picked it up because the title intrigued me.  I was in the library and it jumped out at me.  Before reading the jacket, I thought it would be a book about the history of animation, or Disney, or Pixar.  After reading the jacket, I knew that it would not be a run of the mill novel.

I am sure a lot of people would quickly use the word “raw” to describe the book. I get it.  Whenever a book touches a nerve that is the go to phrase.  That phrase is both cliché and inaccurate.  This book is polished to a brilliant shine.

If I were going to pick a word to describe it, that word would be unflinching. The book doesn’t hide anything.  The book isn’t afraid of the abyss.  I like a book that tells it like it is without trying to shield you.  I like a book whose characters live life without excuses.

The characters have depth. They are not always likeable, but I am pretty sure that is the point.  Instead, we have to feel pity and sadness for relationships rather than the people who are guilty of messing them up.  That’s a neat trick and one the author should be commended for.  I didn’t feel sad, but I had to stop reading and take time to think.  There are not many books that do that to me.

I would have to say that the story was quite original and moved at a fast pace. I certainly felt like I was along for the ride like a guest at a wild party.  The world of avant garde animators whose work is kind of like strip mining therapy.  Peel off enough layers and you will get to the source of the irritation.  I enjoyed racing along the road, while at the same time afraid of what my suddenly pop up in the way.

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, books, review | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Taking Your Medicine

I have traveled a bit in Asia.  I have seen some amazing things, eaten some amazing food, met some amazingly kind and generous people, grown in many ways, and learned a lot about the world.

One interesting thing I have learned, and that I am going to share with you, is that in Asia most of the things that are considered good for one’s health have either a heinous smell or taste, and sometimes even both.  Things that come to mind are natto (fermented soy beans from Japan) and stinky tofu, which I tried in Taiwan.  Both of these things items have …. unique tastes.  Upon eating them, or being offered them, I have been constantly reassured that they were “good for your health.”  I used to think that was where the whole, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” thing came from.

You’re probably wondering where I am going with this.

Today my student presented me with some special medicine. I was looking a bit haggard because I had been out with my friends and only slept a few hours.  He said it would give me energy.  He also mentioned how good it was–my suspicions were aroused.

He also explained that it was quite expensive. Seeing as it came wrapped in gold flake–which I was expected to eat as well, and came in an individual bottle, I had no doubt he was correct.

I do not know exactly where this medicine comes from.  My student is Korean, but I am pretty sure he said something about China.

The smell was not unpleasant, but rather overpowering. The taste….it definitely had a natural taste.  Another student familiar with the product described it as tasting like a tree.  Not having had too many trees, I cannot confirm that.  It was a taste I had never encountered before–that I am sure of.

Did it work? I have to admit that I felt a little better and was able to get through my day without a coffee IV.

Today’s Perfect Moment is the student’s generosity. The product itself is more of a curiosity than perfection.

If anyone of my readers is familiar with this, or has taken it, I would love to hear from you.

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, China, Chinese, ethnic food, health, Korea, Korean, medicine | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

An Oversight

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Yesterday….early this morning in fact, I wrote about a perfect moment involving my best friends.  I don’t want to take away from that, but there was another Perfect Moment to yesterday.

Yesterday for lunch I had one of my favourite meals.  I had a turkey sandwich.  Since I only get to eat turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas, the turkey sandwich is my last hold over from those occasions.

I put a bit of effort in when making the turkey sandwich.  In this case I had two kinds of mustard, medium cheese, rye bread, lettuce, tomato, mayo and onion.

It was delicious.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, food, sandwich, thanksgiving, turkey | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Food, Pool, Beer and Best Friends

Today’s Perfect Moment is best friends, food, pool and  beer.

I don’t get together with my best friends nearly enough.   Tonight (Tuesday) was the exception.  We met for food and beer==we know who we are and we are definitely not part of the wine crowd.  We had a chance to discuss those thing that ate scratching at the back of our brains.

These topics included

work and its inability  to make us feel worthy.

chasing younger women despite the obstacles–this was me, but they were surprisingly non-judgemental.

family and the interesting challenges it provides

vacations

chasing women who are clearly not interested—me again….

our history together.

our bravery when we were younger

My best friends, though small in number, are exactly that.  My best friends are the people who actually listen to what I have to say and who actually have advice that can help me.  We definitely need to spend more time together.

.

 

 

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, beer, friends, friendship, playing pool, Yonge and Eglinton | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Thankful

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It is Canadian Thanksgiving and the perfect time to say what we are thankful for.

I am thankful for:

My family and best friends.  I take them for granted sometimes, don’t call as often as I should, or don’t do enough for them.  Thankfully, they are still near and dear to me and make me feel special whenever we see each other.

The new friends I have made this year.  While the number is small, it has been surprising and wonderful.

The country I live in.  It isn’t without its flaws and it is no paradise, but I like the accepting tone it has taken as of late.  There is a world of diversity out there and I am glad we have invited it to our doorstep.

Having enough to eat, having enough to keep a roof over my head, and having enough to share.

The readers of my blog; especially the ones who write comments back.  Without you, I would have given this up long ago.

The bloggers that I follow.  You entertain and enlighten me every day.

The freedom I have to write what I want without fear of persecution.  I might not be at all edgy, but there are so many out there whose perceived crimes were merely disagreeing with those in power.

My cat.

My many interesting (good and bad) experiences this year.  I have crossed one thing off the bucket list….of course I have added a few more.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving.  For those of you who don’t celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, next year, I think you should.  Think of it like St. Patrick’s Day.  On that day, everyone could be a little Canadian.  Just say sorry when someone bumps into you.

Posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, Canada, Canadian, thanks, thanksgiving, turkey | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments