Sunday, April 30, 2006

Ottawa Bound, All Aboard!

I'm leaving on a "Train",
Don't know when I'll be back again...

Not true, I do. I'm leaving today for training (Work Related)in Ottawa. I'll be back on May 13th.

If I find access to the internet, you'll hear from me, if I don't...see you when I return!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Trish Romance Gallery

Isn't this one of the most beautiful houses you've ever seen? I recently visited the Trish Romance Gallery along with my mom and sister. The gallery is in her former home in the beautiful town of Niagara On The Lake.

It's a beautiful, quaint little town located near Niagara Falls. There are many reasons to visit again and one of them just happens to be the abundance of vineyards. I can't wait to go on a wine tasting tour this summer. Perhaps I should book a room at a local B & B.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Childhood Book

I spoke about my favourite book that I had as a child here, and I was asked by a reader for more information on the author etc.

I said I would provide the information as soon as I located the book. I knew I had it packed away somewhere safe, but where...

Yesterday by fluke, I opened up a box and voila, there it was. I was wrong on the title and that was probably why Christine was unable to locate it. The correct title is Isobel in the Land of the Pink Bears. I have scanned the book so that you can see what it looks like along with some of the pages, which demonstrate the wonderful illustrations. The illustrations were very instrumental in allowing me to imagine myself floating on a cloud with a little pink bear. As far as the author is concerned, it says on the inside cover "Story retold by Jane Carruth with pictures by Luce Lagarde, Odhams Books Limitied, London". Based on Gisele Sergene's story.

I hope you check back occasionally Christine because you didn't leave your email address for me to send this to you.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

View from top of the Hill

View from top of the Hill
Originally uploaded by Suzy Snow.
My Sister and I spent the afternoon walking in High Park, Toronto. This was the view from our resting spot at the top of the hill.

We were trying to figure out what would be the perfect flower to fill the Maple Leaf with. I said red petunias, my sister thinks red and orange begonias would be perfect.

I'm going to come back in the summer to see what it looks like.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Memory In The Making…

Have you ever realized that you just experienced one of the best times of your life? That the event that just transpired will become one of those special memories that will bring an instant smile whenever it comes to mind?

I had one just this past Monday night. It started out as a surprise call from my friend Jack about three weeks ago. He called to tell me that he had concert tickets and wondered if I would like to go with him. I said yes, of course I would.

He laughed and then asked me if I wanted to know who we would be seeing. Of course when I asked, I was told to guess. I couldn’t guess or would never have guessed that it would be Audience. After awhile of torturing me, he finally let me in on the news that he actually had tickets to dinner and a concert for this group that he had introduced me to four years ago. When he first played “House On The Hill” for me I instantly fell in love with the cd and the band. I was so disappointed when he told me that they were not together anymore and hadn’t been since the 70’s. I couldn’t believe that I had never heard of them during the height of their career. The songs on this particular cd remind me Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull all mixed together.

The weirdest thing about all this was that the day before he called with the news, I was listening to them in my car and thinking how great it would have been to be lucky enough to see them live when they were touring. I was sad that I had missed it because of ignorance. I missed seeing them, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and a few other favourite bands of mine, the latter had more to do with a lack of cash rather than ignorance.

For three weeks my excitement for this concert did not wane, which did worry me just a little. Sometimes when I am really excited or have high expectations for an event, I end up being disappointed. It has happened so often that prior to the concert I actually reminded myself just to have a good time and try not to expect too much. After all, this band has just reunited after 30 years and in 30 years people change. They grow older, their voices change. It couldn’t possibly be as good as the cd that I loved.

The venue was the Lula Lounge at Dundas and Dufferin. I knew from the web site that parking was only on the side streets so that was going to make it a little tricky. I planned on going down right from work. Jack had told me that the dinner seating was on a first come, first served basis and we wanted to be first in line. He was going to ride in with Alice and Peter.

I was fortunate to find a parking spot a block away on a little one way street. It was nice because it was off the beaten path and close to the club. Jack had instructed me to look for a bar where we could sit and enjoy a cocktail while we waited for the doors to open.

After parking my car, I took a stroll along Dundas looking for an appropriate spot. It’s not the best neighbourhood and the best thing I could come up with was a Portuguese Sports Bar.

I also walked around looking for a parking lot. The parking was only good until midnight where I had left my car and I really wasn’t sure what time the concert would be over. After walking around the block several times, I decided that I was parked in the best possible location and I was happy to see that there were a couple of other empty spots and if Alice hurried up, they could park right near me.

The spots were still there when they arrived and we strolled off to the Sports Bar. It was one of those places that is very stark. The furnishings were very plain but functional; a real man’s bar. I remarked to Alice as we walked into the joint that I felt like I was a cowboy strolling into the wrong Saloon. All eyes were on us as we entered, while we drank and when we left. I’m not so sure that they had ever seen women before. In fact, Alice and I were the only women in there.

During one of Jack's smoke breaks outside, he noticed some people entering Lula's and came rushing back in, yelling at us to hurry up and finish our drinks that the doors were open. It was just after 6:00pm. We had been told earlier that the doors wouldn’t open until 6:30pm. Jack and Peter made quick work of the pitcher of draft and we left the Portuguese men to enjoy their bar as they were before we had arrived.

There were two men posting some Audience posters outside Lula’s and as Jack reached for the door knob they quickly turned their attention to us and let us know that the club was not open yet.

“The doors don’t open until 7:00pm.”

We all looked at each other and all I could think was, damn another hour in that dump? The gentleman pointed across the road to a Bakery/Deli and suggested we could go have a coffee while we waited.

It seemed like a much better spot so we went across the street. Jack and I entered first, and I heard Jack laugh and say, “Audience?” to a couple seated in the window. They laughed and said, “of course!”

We walked over and they introduced themselves as Mike and Laura. It was like an instant friendship and within minutes they mentioned that they were from Meaford. I couldn’t believe it because Meaford is very close to my hometown of Collingwood.

Stories of how each person was originally introduced to Audience began and then Laura said that they had a strange story to tell about why they wanted to come to the concert.

The story starts in the early 70’s when she was 17 and lived in Winnipeg. She said that she called a cab one night and that Mike was the driver. She felt an immediate attraction to him even though he really didn’t pay much attention to her. There was something in his eyes and she just knew that he was someone that she should get to know. They never saw each other after that night until a few years ago, when she was at a function in Meaford where she currently lives. Mike was there and she recognized him as that taxi driver from long ago. She made her way over to where he stood and asked him if he ever drove Taxi in Winnipeg. It turns out that he did and then not long after they started to go out.

On their first date he told her that he was going to play a cd of one of his favourite bands that was not together and had not been together since the 70’s. They were a little obscure and she probably had never heard them before. As soon as the cd started to play, she recognized it and started to sing along. Audience had been one of her favourites too. So like us, they were really excited about the show. Mike told us that he had reserved one of the best tables in the club. Jack looked a little disappointed because we didn’t know that you could make a reservation. In fact, Alice was told that you couldn’t.

I noticed that people were starting to form small groups around the doors and suggested to the group that we should go over there so that we could be near the front of the line. Mike and Laura were game. Jack told Alice and Peter who were at the counter ordering a coffee that they should get it to go so that we could go get in line. They declined saying that they were going to stay there and drink it in the cafe. I didn't care. I was going to go stand in line even if I was there alone.

While the four of us waited for the doors to open, we started to chat up the bouncer, which in the end played in our favour. Even though we clearly were not the first or even the second people to line up, he liked us and let us in as a group after the first party of four. He told us that he wanted us to stick together which gave Mike a good idea. He said he was going to see if they could seat us altogether at one table.

The club was unable to accommodate that but they placed us at a table not too far away. As far as I was concerned, our seat was perfect and because Jack and I stood in line waiting for the doors to open, while Alice and Peter sat at the café drinking their coffee, we had the prime seats facing the stage.

The dinner portion was a fixed menu created by Chef Derek! See sample menu here. I enjoyed the Marinated Vegetable Salad, Filet of Chilean Salmon and Chocolate Mousse Cake to finish. It was one of the best meals that I have ever had. The presentation was fabulous and it was more than I could eat but I managed to taste everything.

The show started around 8:30pm with a funny guy. I can’t remember what his name was now; I knew I should have written it down. The memory is definitely slipping away from my ol’ noggin. Anyway Audience came out at 9:00 pm sharp and opened with Jackdaw! If I closed my eyes it was just like listening to my cd. Note for note was absolutely perfect! I could not believe that Howard Werth’s voice was absolutely perfect and the same. How is that possible after all this time?

They played continuously for two and a half hours straight, pulling tunes from 4 different albums. I can honestly say that there was not one song that I didn’t enjoy.

It was, like I said at the beginning, one of those special moments that will live on and on in my memory.