Teddy Bear Manifesto

I've had my bear Edward since before I was born, and I've slept with him every night since!  Despite a few misadventures (including spending 24hrs lost in a toystore) I've managed to keep him safe and relatively intact, if a lil bit threadbare eep.  I'm not ashamed to admit I still need my bear to get through tough times.  {text by: Rock Paper Cynic}


Hondas & Hipsters

Along with the  heroin chic hipster girls these photos show quite a collection of very original and interesting motorcycles .. probably a few genuinely valuable gems in there including what I'm told is a 1968 Honda CL 350



UPDATE: @seannalexander is my hero -- he fixed it


Riding the Backroads

Great weather today - sunny, calm, bit of a refreshing breeze - suitable for a motorcycle ride!  Looking for a change of scenery we headed up through Ancaster on the far side of Hamilton and rode Sulphur Springs Rd -> Mineral Springs Rd -> Binkley Rd where we parked the bike and walked part of the Rail Trail.


CDN Intl Military Tattoo @ Copps Coliseum

This year the Tattoo paid tribute with an Honour Guard to those young men and women who have returned from serving in Canada’s armed forces. The soldiers who have answered the call were featured during the finale at each performance -- Welcoming Our Troops Home from the end of offensive/combat operations in Afghanistan.



Got a new bed from IKEA today!


Hyvää Ukon Juhla

Today (June 21) is the summer solstice - the longest day of the year!  For Scandinavian cultures and northern communities like Thunder Bay (where I used to live -- also has a large Finnish population) this day  is very important and almost as anticipated as Christmas.  These northern latitudes have very harsh, dark winters so midsummer celebrations are definitely called for during the few intensely bright and long days.  Because of Finland's location near the Arctic circle, nights during midsummer are very short or almost non-existent.  Hyvää Ukon Juhla literally means Happy Daylight Celebration!  We may still have a few hours of darkness during our midsummer nights down here in Southern Ontario but that doesn't stop me from celebrating the sunlight .. especially after such a long, wet, dreary spring!


lemon cordial

Head on over to RuffledBlog for a great cordial recipe and printable bottle labels :)


Hamilton, ON

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Never Too Old For Dressup

I was invited to a Summer Solstice party, where just about any type of clothing is welcomed & encouraged .. so I'm taking the opportunity to indulge my love of dressing up ( something I'll never outgrow LOL )  I'm wearing the wings that I had hanging in the craft closet at my last apartment, the multicoloured knit top I found in Gravenhurst last summer and my beloved Docs.  Also shaved the sides of my head again .. feels so much more cool and refreshing!  What a fabulous evening :-)


Rye n Ginger - A Canadian Drink

My drink of choice has always been the unassuming, down to earth, simple Rye n Ginger .. but it wasn't until I ordered one of these in the company of an American friend and got into a bit of a discussion that I realized its another one of those "Canadian things"

Canadian whisky is referred to as rye, regardless of the content, a colloquial phrase leftover from the Prohibition era when Canadian whiskys did contain a large amount of rye.  Nearly impossible to screw up, this cocktail has a good balance of  alcohol and ginger tartness with the soda fizz to brighten it up.  Plus, there's a wide variety of  both ginger ales and  rye whiskys so a number of taste variations are possible.. my preference: Canada Dry & Canadian Club.  Refreshing!

Chilled in the Lake: Nature's Cooler



F*** {caution expletives}

Most of the time, swearing is a sign of a poor vocabulary.  But every once in a while.. four letter words are used so effectively, that they really are funny or witty or just well executed.  Today, not one but two examples came up!  Reminder: NSFW (or children)


U of T Convocation

Congratulations to my little brother who graduated from University of Toronto today :)



Papa Leo's

The Local ($5.99, pictured center ) is well-named considering this breakfast bistro's central location between the hospital and the Concession Street escarpment neighbourhood.  We were looking for a breakfast place up on the "mountain" (if you can call it that) and we found it in Papa Leo's Restaurant!  As always I prefer to support local businesses, especially ones that buy regionally themselves.  Leo himself encourages this in his restaurant - selecting produce direct from the Hamilton Mountain Farmers Market (just across the street) on Saturday mornings and supporting local fair trade /organic coffee importers Red Hill Coffee Trade.

My personal preference is for small portioned healthy meals, and my favourite dish is The Continental - fresh fruit, cottage cheese, toasted bagel, preserves ($6) along with any of their fruit smoothies.  But for someone with a larger appetite, the portions might not be enough - so order a side dish such as extra bacon or a fruit bowl :-)  As the girls from @beauxmondes_ point out in their own great review there are so many other options, from pancakes and french toast to refried bean topped corn tortillas


Red Wine Honey Reduction

to be spread on Herb Rubbed Salmon
2 cups good red wine
1 cup liquid honey
6 sprigs of thyme
3 bay leaves
1 6”x6” piece cheese cloth

Wrap the herbs in the cheese cloth and tie it up in a little bundle. Combine all ingredients in a small heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the herb bundle, and continue to simmer for approx. 1 hr more. Keep and eye on the reduction and check now and then. It’s done when it has reduced by at least half, and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.


Herbal Iced Cooler

@cdragonwagon 's absolutely massive (1120 pages) cookbook has been on my shelf for years - this tome of vegetarian cooking is chock full of not just 100s of recipes, but lots of informative articles on nutrition and healthy living.  It wasn't until this week, when I went to make my summer staple: a refreshing container of Herbal Iced Cooler (recipe below) that I noticed the author's unusual name: Crescent Dragonwagon .. and wondered to myself .. is that a pen name?  No - apparently it's not!  Crescent chose her ridiculous (her word, not mine) name when she was a 16 year old baby radical but stuck by it as she matured as both a children's and cookbook writer.  Where is she now?  Head on over to her blog to find out :-)

Herbal Iced Cooler

  • 8 1/2 cups water, preferably filtered or spring
  • 8 hibiscus-type herb tea bags, such as Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger
  • 1 12-ounce can frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • Garnish: fresh sprigs of spearmint or pineapple mint, and/or honeysuckle 

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Drop in tea bags, remove from heat, and let stand till lukewarm. Remove teabags and squeeze them, to get every drop of flavor. Discard "squoze" tea bags.  Combine steeped herb tea with juice concentrate, the reserved cold water, and fruit slices. Chill deeply.  Serve, preferably in chilled glasses, garnished with mint and/or honeysuckle.


Envy Lounge

Between discovering my talents as a Drag Queen costume consultant and becoming comfortable and open with my gender identity / sexual orientation I've been making a whole bunch of new friends and hanging out in new places.  One place I've been spending quite a lot of time is the Envy Lounge!
My new friend Enzo is the (gay) owner/operator of this premier lifestyle lounge but he opens his doors to more than just gays and lesbians - anyone with an open and positive mindset is accepted and welcomed.  Operating as a cafe during the week, and a nightclub on weekends the Envy has been very successful in its first few years of operations, perhaps because Enzo's family are extremely supportive and already own some well established bars in the area.

The renovations are classy, gorgeous and tasteful - natural dark wood, bright green or rad B&W patterned walls and interesting steampunk-esque fixtures.  Upstairs is a quiet lounge all in black leather with a bigscreen TV and a fireplace and the fully-licensed patio outside is fresh and breezy but very private.  Great coffee (or so I'm told) and $3 drinks on Fridays, but my personal preference is to order off the colourful "martini" menu!

On weekends, the Envy is an absolutely packed rockin' pumpin' hotspot.  I don't think I've seen a better dance atmosphere (gay or straight) anywhere else in Niagara!  But with all ages nights, Brock PRIDE events, Kink/BDSM socials, a book club, a transgender support group, bingo night, pool tables and a great quiet upstairs lounge .. the Envy is far more than just a nightclub .. its the gathering spot for a great GLBTQ community that is blossoming in Niagara.

Located at 127 Queenston St in St. Catharines its important to note the entrance is from the parking lot which is around the corner on Haynes St (can be tricky to find)


We No Speak Cantina

The original video for We No Speak Americano is one of my favs ..
but this Star Wars remake is downright f***ing awesome


Campy Vamps

With all the Vampire stuff flying around right now (Twilight, True Blood, Vampire Wars) I thought I'd re-watch one of my favourite movies to remind myself why it is that I don't want to partake in the latest cultish followings.

What makes Interview With The Vampire a truly great movie is that its primarily a commentary on life, mortality, relationships and vices and only secondarily a "vampire movie"  With an air of larger-than-life realism, stunning cinematography and a storyline that transcends a few hundred years of history this movie is timeless and as watchable/relevant today as it was almost 20 years ago??  in 1994. True there are some undertones of homo-eroticism and the vampires both male and female are stunningly, inhumanly beautiful .. but they don't sparkle!

To me Twilight is a teen romance, thin on both plot and dialogue that just happens to have vampires and werewolves as the heartthrobs.  However the saga presents itself as the latest epic in a long history of vampire lore and it just simply isn't.  Its a well crafted marketing and merchandising ploy to grab the ideal consumer audience: teenage girls.  True Blood I might give a chance, because I'm a big HBO fan and absolutely adore Alan Ball's American Beauty and his first series: Six Feet Under.  Vampire Wars?  don't even get me started - the next person who sends me any of that Facebook garbage will be immediately unfriended.


I'm Just a Girl

Tonight I'm hopping on the motorbike for an evening ride into Toronto to see one of my favourite singers / jazz artists of all (present) time: Shannon Butcher perform at the Rex.  I first heard this vivacious, stunning woman crooning tunes with Swing Rosie, some number of years ago and I've been hooked ever since!  One of the most interesting performances I've ever experienced was at Yonge-Dundas Square where she shared the stage and her lyrics with a vibrant sign-language interpreter.

"Jazz isn’t about one label or style; it’s not about one person or time," says Butcher. "It’s about the freedom to bring together all of your experiences and sing in the moment using every aspect of your musical personality."

Shannon brings a new twist to jazz, if you can even call her music that.  Despite being a regular at the Rex, and on JazzFM I'd say she has a much broader appeal - with covers of pop tunes and some well crafted originals outnumbering the jazz standards in her repertoire.  Her influences seem to range from rock, swing and blues to country, pop and some groove, funk and soul .. yet all with an overtone of jazz that's refreshing not overbearing.  Her newer album Little Hearts has been very well recieved, and I expect to hear a number of songs from that one tonight but I still cherish and prefer the previous album: Words We Both Could Say .. maybe because it contains my favourite of her covers: a pop-jazzy version of No Doubt's "I'm Just a Girl".  I also can't wait to see her baby-bump as she's expecting soon and I'm told she's just glowing!

LATE EVENING UPDATE: great show! Shannon played I'm Just A Girl "for the girl who lives in trees" just as my good friend Ken McDonald showed up (another great Toronto jazz musician)  Other highlights: Shannon is now officially a rockstar .. what a truly fabulous night!  I'm going to bed this evening thoroughly joyous and still dancing :-)