img src=Zara+Express

Got new boots from Express (that look like the ones I wore in high school) and decided to requantify my shoe closet:

1 x birkenstock (to replace gold sandals)
2 x sneakers (high; lo)
3 x flats (navy loafers; black in STL office, black in TO office)
4 x heels (Express boots; brown Oxford; faded pink in STL office; alligator in TO office)
1 x cute winter boots
1 x real winter boots (for visiting Quebec City in February)
1 x hiking shoes
1 x running shoes
14 x shoes

total = 14 + 1 x zara sweater + 79 = 94 < 99

P.S. I thought about not counting the hiking boots but I wear them even when I'm not hiking.

DSC00102 (2)

ain’t she sweet (COUNT=1328)

1. When I fly to St Louis on a Sunday afternoon, he takes me to the UP station and each time, we say: Wouldn’t it be nice to grab a drink at the UPstairs Lounge? So that’s where we kicked off the weekend at 6:30 on Friday (with jazz and blinking departure lights)

2. Followed by unplanned dinner at Bravi. I was here a while ago for a corporate event. On a surprisingly quiet night, it’s rather romantic with salty olives and lush calamari

3. And somehow we find ourselves singing ain’t she sweet (and now I ask you very confidentially)

4. Saturday coffee day revisiting Sumach Espresso

5. Followed by unplanned walk through Acadia (and I picked up some Chekhov short stories)

6. For dinner, I made two vegetable dishes with a little extra apple cider vinegar while he prepared rice and meatballs (as 50/50 as 50/50 can be)

la la la (COUNT=1322)

img src=discreetcharmsandobscureobjects

Well it’s half way through November

Time to start thinking about new year’s resolutions and I’m thinking 2017 can be the year to travel without traveling. For example, I can finally upload all my pictures of La Paz while humming La La La.

Of course, I will continue to travel to St Louis for work and we will continue to visit his family in Collingwood. But other than that, I can simply sit on my couch and read about an artist who wanders the streets of Oslo. Or watch movies of different places from different times.

My dad gave us a subset of his DVD collection and we started with Los Angeles: Altman’s Short Cuts. Because Carver’s writing is somewhat minimalist, I never imagined his characters to live in LA but somehow the setting really works. Instead of trying to describe the movie (the little stubbornness, the big cruelty and so on), I think a section of wikipedia captures the feel.

The following excerpt from Scott Driscoll’s review of Maryann Burk Carver’s 2006 memoir describes the decline of Maryann and Raymond’s marriage.

The fall began with Ray’s trip to Missoula, Mont., in ’72 to fish with friend and literary helpmate Bill Kittredge. That summer Ray fell in love with Diane Cecily, an editor at the University of Montana, whom he met at Kittredge’s birthday party. “That’s when the serious drinking began. It broke my heart and hurt the children. It changed everything.”

“By fall of ’74”, writes Carver, “he was more dead than alive. I had to drop out of the Ph.D. program so I could get him cleaned up and drive him to his classes”. Over the next several years, Maryann’s husband physically abused her. Friends urged her to leave Raymond.

“But I couldn’t. I really wanted to hang in there for the long haul. I thought I could outlast the drinking. I’d do anything it took. I loved Ray, first, last and always.”

Carver describes, without a trace of rancor, what finally put her over the edge. In the fall of ’78, with a new teaching position at the University of Texas at El Paso, Ray started seeing Tess Gallagher, a writer from Port Angeles, who would become his muse and wife near the end of his life. “It was like a contretemps. He tried to call me to talk about where we were. I missed the calls. He knew he was about to invite Tess to Thanksgiving.” So he wrote a letter instead.

“I thought, I’ve gone through all those years fighting to keep it all balanced. Here it was, coming at me again, the same thing. I had to get on with my own life. But I never fell out of love with him.”

Next Part of the Traveling without Traveling Itinerary
London: LeRoy’s Waterloo Bridge
Paris: Truffaut’s Last Metro

grateful (COUNT=1319)

img src=bahlsen

A few European snacks as a follow up to the Asian snack entry

i++ bahlsen dark chocolate afrika (German)
i++ trancetto cacao (Italian)
i++ whole wheat paris toast (French)

But of course the above are best paired with beverages invented in China five thousand years ago🙂

i++ matcha
i++ earl grey: According to one legend, a grateful Chinese mandarin whose son was rescued from drowning by one of Lord Grey’s men first presented the blend to the Earl in 1803

grateful (COUNT=1314)


We are going through his old photographs as part of the minimization process and found some interesting things. He took the one on the left when he was in high school and a friend took the one on the right. Along with pocket ninja, these will be the only decorative elements in the bedroom

img src=thelittleblackcoffeecup

When Neo Coffee Bar first opened, we went for coffee and I had a slice of the matcha cake and it was nice. These days, we go there at least once a month because watching the dusting of the choux is just mesmerizing. This weekend, I got half a roll of the london fog cake for mum’s birthday and it was amazing. Like sniffing bergamot rind and drinking cold pressed bergamot oil. At the same time

Also found an interesting film in the Bloor Cinema newsletter: “I always dreamed of returning to Italy”

(another) five easy pieces (COUNT=1311)


1. Perhaps because I used to be one of those people that want to live in different places, I always wonder how different I would be if I lived elsewhere. Although living in Paris was a dream of mine, I’m not sure I would be particularly different in Paris. One place that really feels like it would make me different is New Orleans. I can’t help but constantly look up at the spanish moss and the constant looking up makes me feel dizzy and surreal. This morning, he says: Can you get more muffaletta spread? Please and thank you.

2. After my intriguing encounter with birthday cake tea, I’ve been wanting to visit David’s Tea. For his birthday, I got earl grey rooibos + la la lemon black tea.

3. Until he moved in, I never owned a zester. Yes, it was a lot of work. Now that I have encountered a zester, I need a really good one and was presented with six options at William Sonoma.

img src=wholefully

4. Overdosed on dark choco cereal and now in love with overnight oat

5. Just now in the elevator

Stranger: Grated parmesan? Really?
Me: If it weren’t grated, my husband would eat it all


Top Cupboard #1
+ large flake oat
+ flour for pancakes
+ brown rice to accompany stir fry
+ wheat berry
+ bread crumbs

Top Cupboard #2
+ toasted sesame
+ pine nut
+ maple syrup
+ smoked paprika
+ cayenne pepper

Top Cupboard #3
+ earl grey rooibos
+ la la lemon black tea (the magical ingredient is orange oil)

Bottom Cupboard
+ tamari
+ sesame oil
+ cider vinegar
+ balsamic vinegar
+ oregano

Top Cupboard #4
+ salt
+ pepper
(yup this is the minimalist one)

Top Cupboard #5
+ flutes from Carl
(flutes from Denise are not in the kitchen)

Top Cupboard #6
+ tea cup from Neil

+ zester

+ mustard (sometimes even brand name)
+ muffaletta spread
+ grated parmesan
+ parsley
+ button mushroom
+ raw egg
+ pickled egg

+ lime
+ lemon
+ red onion
+ shallot
+ garlic

hurricane theory


When I travel, I usually travel through book stores. In New Orleans, I picked up The Moviegoer by Walker Percy at the Garden District Book Shop. Just finished it. For a book about despair, it is refreshingly optimistic

Another quote from another Percy book: Though science taught that good environments were better than bad environments, it appeared to him that the opposite was the case. Take hurricanes, for example, certainly a bad environment if ever there was one. It was his impression that not just he but other people too felt better in hurricanes


grateful (COUNT=1306)


1. Every weekend, we have this conversation.

Him: I want to eat pancake
Me: Pancake is boring

I’ve tried spicing it up with blueberry and leak. This weekend, baked goat cheese and basil from my basil plant.

2. Croque Monsieur @ Carens with Audrey + Sharon + Carl

3. Mushroom Pita @ real mo-mo’s with Nimmie + Christina

4. On the way to his birthday dinner, we made a stop at the Max Gluskin House, one of my favorite spots in Toronto