I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise to you all, but I never really grew to love Toronto over the course of my short stay here. Part of it was due to the fact that we moved here in the dead of winter, the overcast bleakness that welcomed us a perfect complement to the city’s leaden architecture. Part of it was the endless traffic exacerbated by the equally endless road closures for construction that never quite seemed get underway. And, admittedly, part of it was my own bias, a personal distaste for Toronto that I acquired at a very early age. I’m fond of telling the story of how, growing up in Montreal, I used to suffer the six hour car ride from my hometown to T.O. every summer in order to visit my grandmother. My sister and I would dread the annual family road trip, but my father always tried to put things in perspective. “This is your grandmother’s one hundredth birthday,”he say. “It’ll probably be the last time you see her.” And so, duly guilted, my sister and I would hop into the car, resolved to make the best of an exhausting, occasionally nausea-inducing, situation . Then, the following year, it would be: “This is your grandmother’s hundred and first birthday. It’ll probably be the last time you see her.” And then: “This is your grandmother’s hundred and second birthday. It’ll probably be her last.” My grandmother lived to the ripe old age of 112. Them’s a lot of road trips – and a lot of time to develop an intense dislike for hogtown.
Having said all that, I have to admit that the city is not without its charm: great restaurants, fun things to do in the summer, and some genuinely nice people. It also offered convenient proximity to the University of Guelph, the best animal oncology hospital in Canada. And, for my pug Maximus, the timing of this extended visit couldn’t have been better.
Today, we were there for his fourth (of five) radiation treatments. According to the oncologist, the size of the tumor remains unchanged but, on the bright side, his swollen lymph node is considerably smaller. Hopefully, the anti-cancer vaccine he’s taking will kick start his immune system soon. We should know in a few weeks.
So, Akemi and I watch a lot of the cooking shows – Top Chef, Iron Chef, Chopped – but her favorite remains Hell’s Kitchen. So much so that it inspired her attempt one of the Hell’s Kitchen menu mainstays. Nope, not the risotto or something as simple as scallops. She tried her hand at the far more challenging Beef Wellington. How’d she do? Well…
It’s raaaaw! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAW!
C’mere, you. Get out. GET OUT! OUUUT!
Take off your jacket.
No, wait. Keep the jacket. Stay. Pop it in the oven and let it cook for another ten minutes. I’m hungry.