when will it be done?

Construction worker, when will it be done? Will it ever be done?

This song by The Golden Dogs expresses how I feel about renovations.  Will it ever be done?

The first time I saw The Golden Dogs was by chance at the most energy packed, amazing show ever for NXNE at the Horseshoe about 5 years ago.  The crowd went ape shit when they pounced into a cover of Paul McCartney’s Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five, which I might add is one super stellar song to cover.

Someone once told me that the song Construction Worker was about the construction that was going on with the streetcar tracks in Toronto at the time at either College or Dundas.  It makes all the more sense, as there is still always streetcar track construction going on.

My conclusion…it’ll never be done.

and so it began

Nearly 2 years ago we started renovating our 100 something year old Victorian row house. And just last week we started demoing the main floor.  More pictures to come soon.

office before & after, renovation

green room, renovation, before & after

Sometimes when I get into something like picking plaster off a wall, I get right into it.  This was me still in my office clothes chipping away at the shared interior wall by the stairs.  We exposed the bricks going all the way up the stairs.  It was an extremely messy, dusty and asthma attack worthy process.

exposing a brick wall

exposing brick wall

new stairs, renovation

New staircase put in.  We cheaped out and got the carpet grade stairs made from pine.  But we stained, painted and finished them, and they look great!  Still need to finish the landing piece, but we’re waiting until we figure out what we’re doing with the floors first.  So long extremely dangerous original staircase!

a victorian tea party

Recently I went to a Victorian tea bridal shower; a nice twist to what can sometimes predictably be a lengthy present opening, women only, sandwich munching bridal shower.  Well there were sandwiches, and lots of women, but for some reason a tea party can make everything just seem so much more fun!  It was a great occasion to don extravagant hats, pretty gloves, and other appropriate tea time attire.

fresh cut wild flowers

vintage teacups, cups and saucers, Victorian tea

Each guest brought a vintage tea cup and saucer, with a little story.  At the end of the party the bride to be gets to take home an eclectic variety of tea cups and saucers that each have a unique story or memory.

vintage, Victorian tea, cup and saucer, tea party

tea spoons, spoon collection, tea party

tea time sandwiches, Victorian tea

ladies tea time gloves, Victorian tea, tea party

 

 

mmm beer

With the summer patio season here I’ve been finding myself regularly frequenting The Ship trying out their delicious menu eats (gator bites, fish tacos, northern exposure burger) and sampling some of their refreshing beers à la pint all in the comforts of their patio.

beer at The Ship, Hamilton

There was a short time when only the bar menu was offered on the patio, but with some recent pairing down of their menu you can now eat your burger, drink a pint or two and sit outside until your hearts content.

 

*The Ship, 23 Augusta St., Hamilton  905.528.0792

dinner for one

While Steve was away I was so busy, and as a result I got really lazy when it came to cooking meals.  We had already pre-ordered our food box from Plan B Organics, so when the food boxes kept coming in, I was completely overloaded with fresh beautiful organic greens.  On top of all that my mother dropped off a full bag of homegrown mitsuba.  I was compelled to not let all those spring/summer greens go to waste so I started to make some pretty cute 1 person 1-shot meals.

My first meal for-1 was a baby bok choy, garlic, ginger, and black bean, oyster sauce quick Chinese stir fry served on white rice.  I even threw in some garlic scapes as a nice substitute for green onions.

baby bok choy, black bean, ginger, garlic, Chinese stirfry, oyster sauce

sliced oranges, steamed mitsuba, Japanese rice

I steamed mitsuba and added shoyu, and a little sugar, and garnished it with katsobushi (dried fish flakes).  My mother while dropping off the mitsuba, also brought over another Japanese green, to which she cooked only the stems (I forget the name of this green) that’s what I have on top of the rice along with my favourite rice seasoning furikake.

Japanese mitsuba

Mitsuba is a Japanese herb known also as Japanese parsley or Cryptotaenia Japonica.  The direct translation of mitsuba is 3 leaves, which is true because each stem does only produce 3 leaves. It is a nice refreshing herb with a little bitter taste, so balancing the flavour with a touch of sweetness is a good thing to do.

 

pardon my lunch bucket

Surely somewhere in the planning of

the future city, there’s room for a bit

of green, of open space and lush

foliage where people can walk and

sit and get away from the concrete

of downtown.  We hope so, anyway.

-Pardon My Lunch Bucket 1971

Pardon My Lunch Bucket, Hamilton 125 anniversary book cover

“workmen taking a lunch break on Llyod D. Jackson Square construction”

I bought the book Pardon My Lunch Bucket from Mixed Media about a year ago. It’s a book published about Hamilton’s past and future for the 125th anniversary of the incorporated city.   The foreward is written by Victor K. Copps -the mayor of Hamilton at the time (1962-1976) and father of politician Sheila Copps. This is what he writes about the changing face of Hamilton:

“Let the detractors call us a lunch-bucket town.  All I ask it that they come to the new Hamilton and have a look around at what we’ve done in the last few years.  Let them see the massive projects like the Lloyd D. Jackson Square on its way up.”

Oh what I wouldn’t give to go back in time to prevent the building of Jackson Square.  The buildings that stood where Jackson now stands were of historical beauty, and were the heart and core of the city.  Victor Copps in his foreward talks about the changes that are coming to Hamilton: the rediscovering of our city, and seeing new things that didn’t exist here before.  I can’t help but smile at the thought that 40 years later this holds true for me.   I am rediscovering Hamilton, and am loving all the new things that are popping up that didn’t exist here before.

1860 City of Hamilton view

City of Hamilton 1860

Streetcars on James St. south 1906 & Gore Park

Streetcars on James St. south 1906 & Gore Park

King St. and James St. 1964, Hamilton

King and James St. 1964

Hamilton in the 1970's

illustrations of Hamilton's future year 2000

The illustrations above are of the future vision of Hamiton in the year 2000.  Highrises with hydrofoil water taxis.

 

*Pardon My Lunch Bucket, text by David Proulx, design by Joe Urban

*Mixed Media, 154 James St. north, Hamilton

cut

Haircut!  Long hair is definitely the lazy man’s way to go.  I’ve been guilty of being a total ponytailer, and have been known for taking year long breaks between visits to the hairdresser.  I’m definitely not someone who “does” their hair (this is mostly because I don’t know how) so a short haircut for me always has the risk of being high maintenance.  But when a change gonna come, it’s gonna come.  I am a last minute decision maker when it comes to haircuts, and when I want a cut I want it right now!  Luckily when I called up Strut Hair Salon, which is uberly close to my home, I was able to get a cut that very day.

It was a first time cut with stylist Mairead, and she did a great job of making some cutting decisions for me.  I like a stylist that can be decisive because I had about 25 million ideas for how I wanted to cut my hair.  It was a good cut, and satisfied my need for a fresh look for summer.  In all I lobbed about 4-5 inches off my head.  All my black locks on the salon floor looked like a small long-haired dog.

*Strut Hair Salon, 84 Walnut St. south, Hamilton, 905.540.4960

bleeding hearts

One day this week I came home to a pot of bleeding hearts by the front door.  A few days before a friend had been telling me about some bleeding hearts that had sprouted up in her alleyway, so she had potted them and brought them by for me to plant in the garden.  I got a note from her later that I read quickly as saying “I left you my bleeding heart on your door step”.

bleeding hearts, flower

1 down 4 to go

This past weekend we hit our first wedding of four five.  The happy couple greeted their guests to dinner with an absolutely fabulous tap dance to Harry Connick Junior’s It Had To Be You.  It was in Toronto by the lake.  The view looking out onto the water was still and pretty.

swan, Lake Ontario

fishing boats, Lake Ontario

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