1. My Home Gym
I’m not the most motivated guy when it comes to working out and yet, when I was living in Vancouver, I would schedule two-a-days: a 45 minute run in the morning and a 45 minute weight workout at night. How did I manage to pull off such an ambitious routine? Well, having a home gym (treadmill, elliptical, and weights) in my basement helped. A lot. It was as easy as going downstairs. No driving. No looking for parking. No waiting for equipment to free up. And, best of all, I could multi-task: exercising and catching up on my shows.
Here in Toronto, the gym is always packed mornings and closes t 10:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on weekends! I can watch whatever happens to be on the wall-mounted t.v.’s but, unfortunately, can’t hear anything so have to follow along by reading the subtitles.
Since moving east, my workouts are down roughly 75%.
2. Fresh Fish
Please, don’t try to recommend me “the best sushi in Toronto!” because, without a doubt, Toronto’s best sushi is Vancouver’s middling sushi (which, to be fair, is worse than Japan’s worst sushi). The sad fact is the fish here is just not that good. Oh, sure, we hit our local markets and pick up fish whenever we can, but it’s just not the same. The other day, we picked up some “fresh” scallops that ended up releasing a crazy amount of liquid in the cooking process, the telltale sign of being previously frozen. I truly miss Brian and the gang at Seafood City on Granville Island.
3. My Kitchen
With its big island, wide counters, and varied kitchen utensils. And extra work kitchen. Here in Toronto, our kitchen is so tiny only one of us can cook at a time. It’s tight, there’s not enough shelf space, and the knives are dull (we ended up having to purchase a new knife set). As much as it annoys me, my irritation pales in comparison to the Akemi’s monsoon of frustration every time she attempts to prepare dinner. She really, really hates this kitchen.
4. The Weather
It rains all the time in Vancouver! Yes. And the temperature usually stays above freezing. When I go out improperly dressed for Vancouver weather, the worst I can expect is to get wet. Here in Toronto, it’s frostbite and the loss of feeling in my extremities.
5. A Backyard
In Vancouver, “taking the dogs out” required little more than opening the back door or, Jelly’s case, carrying across my back porch and setting her down in the grass. Now, it’s a whole song and dance – morning, afternoon, evening, and night – bundling the dogs up, taking them to the park, and back.
6. Sweet Potatos
For some reason, people here don’t know what sweet potatoes are – or have been living under the delusion that yams are sweet potatoes – because wherever I go, I see yams being sold as “sweet potatoes”. It wouldn’t be so bad if they just called sweet potatoes something else, but they simply don’t exist here.
7. A Good Bookstore
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I miss the gang at The Book Warehouse. They were my second family, their book shop my home away from home I would visit on a weekly basis to chat about recent reads and purchase a pile of new reads. Here in Toronto, it’s slim literary pickin’s. There’s a pretty good genre book shop (Bakka Phoenix) but nothing in the way of a book store offering general fiction. I’ve checked out a few but they’re maddeningly cluttered and simply not conducive to a pleasure perusing experience.
[My co-worker Natalie Cooper has taken offense to this particular item and has supplied me with a list of “great bookstores” in the city. After discounting used book shops, specialty bookstores, and bookstores I’ve already visited and eliminated, I am left with three options. So, let’s just say that – so far, I’ve yet to find a good bookstore in Toronto.]
8. My Books!
My towering to-read pile (last I checked, three rows wide and thirty books deep) will sit untouched until my return in June.
9. The NFL Package
I’m now back to the old days of having to watch the crappy Giants and even crappier Jets while far more superior teams (read: almost every other team in the league) play far more interesting games on channels I can’t watch.
10. My Friends!