Just pick a couch already!

Remember when you had your first apartment and this infographic was true?

How much does it cost to furnish your first apartment
From: Osgoode Properties

I actually think I didn’t spend any money on my first apartment. Unless some ice-cube trays from Honest Ed’s count. Well that’s not strictly true. I guess I hit Bloor Street for the ubiquitous futon required of all university students. The rest of our stuff was collected from friends and relatives and most of the decorating came in the form of Klimt posters and beer coasters.

Ah but that was 1994 and three of us were content in a little basement apartment in Little Italy listening to Ace of Base and Tragically Hip (for the record I was listening to the latter, not the former.) in our scrunchies and overalls.

Now Pat and I are on the hunt for new furniture and it costs a bit more. It’s the price for trying to leave Ikea behind and buy grownup couches and shelves and the other stuff that the hip people in magazines have and you want.

Our TV is too nice to trust an old wood plank and some bricks we stole from “the quad”. DVDs just don’t fit in milk crates like albums did. I want furniture that an Amish guy had to hand build, not stuff I can still not put together correctly no matter how many Allen keys I have.

Well after a year and a half of complaining we’ve started looking and are close. Another year or so and we should be able to pick a couch that pleases my design sensibilities (does it look cool?), Pat’s artistic vision (is it comfortable enough to play Halo on?) and isn’t totally wrecked inside a week by three cats (they will wreck it anyway).

Can it be done? Is there a magical store in Toronto where I can walk in and see my entire condo before me, totally furnished and within a reasonable budget? Sigh. Honest Ed’s here I come.

New Orleans I like your style

This has little to do with Ontario, historical homes or their renovation.

Over the winter it’s nice to dream about what we want to do at the schoolhouse. Looking at catalogs and empty walls is okay but we needed a restorative kick in the pants to get excited again. That kick came in the form of an Easter trip down south. Damn New Orleans has some fine homes.

I'm not saying I'm going to put columns on the schoolhouse but in New Orleans it works.

We recently visited the Big Easy on a recent trip for a friend’s wedding.

Yes visiting here is all about hurricanes (the drink and the weather phenomenon of same name) and having fun, but if you get a chance to take your face from out of a frosty glass and look around, you can see what beauty it holds in terms of preservation of specific styles of architecture. There are shotgun homes, creole cottages, and buildings influenced by their French and Spanish visitors of years past. A good bit of history in a few blocks by foot or streetcar.

The French Quarter is one thing but the Garden District is where historical home buffs find heaven.

According to the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans there are many programs and resources available to homeowners interested in maintaining or repairing buildings in the style of their former glory.

I don't know if a vampire could live here but I could.

We strolled through the garden district (mostly to find Anne Rice’s old house and Trent Reznor’s place) and were pretty awestruck. The buildings just want you to sit on their porches and sip mint julep while waving lacy fans.

Now that is a porch I could sit upon.

All in all this trip was an excellent source of inspiration for us. If you are planning a trip to New Orleans, here is a list of historic homes you might want to visit. Now pass me that mint.

High on High Park

That’s High ON High Park, not in High Park.

Not that I judge. I’m just saying that anyone in Toronto that needs to get a whiff of some (clean) spring air and some grass knows to go to High Park. Take that as you will.

When we are in the city, this is where I go to run or walk or generally chill. You see a good cross-section of Torontonians here doing all sorts. I’ve seen cyclists, jogging groups, stoner kids hanging out and those armies of moms with strollers who refuse to walk anything less that five astride. I even saw a wedding last summer.

High Park

High Park has a zoo (until this year’s city budget kills it), a giant playground (which recently burned down), great trails (which need patching)…well despite all its issues, I still love to visit.

At this time of year everyone goes to the park to see the cherry blossoms. Well not generally at this time of year but when the weather is this nice, that is.

High Park cherry blossoms

Tourists flock here and lame joggers like me stop and attempt to take macro photos on their phones on windy days when they are out of breath. And then their batteries die. Which is why I have two lovely photos here from photographers who planned ahead and thought about what they were doing.

High Park Sakura Project.

Now a lot of people go for the cherry blossoms but I go for Grenadier Pond and the swans.

There are a few theories about why it is called Grenadier Pond but whatever the reason it is always this nice, calming place where you can walk, run or sit by to collect yourself after a long day.

whenever I head over on a run I start thinking about things like what plants to plant, how much work will I get done on the yard at the schoolhouse and all those things I don’t have time to think about during the day. My happy place? I guess so. In the city at least.

Jesus, what is with all this happy deep thought crap? It’s like Oprah is in town or some shit. Oh wait…

The cats ate my homework

Well the good news is we had an excellent vacation in New Orleans.

The bad news is that while we were away, and despite mom’s best efforts, the cats (Mr. Sparky Lewis we are looking at you) took the opportunity to munch on my newly sprouted peas and peppers.

 new life

Sigh. I guess this weekend I’ll be starting again. Cats do benefit from eating the occasional leafy green. Though that was why I was also going to plant catnip.

But let’s face it my sprouts didn’t look nearly as nice as these plants I found on Flickr. I will have to look at this as a new opportunity to better my efforts. Ah well, with spring comes rebirth. I guess this is re- rebirth?

You know what is harder than blogging about yard work?

Actually doing yard work.

After all of these months dreaming about getting outside and digging into some real work I forgot how tough it can actually be.

Oh spring. I always think it is best to wait until spring to rake until I actually get there. I am generally wrong. And I broke two rakes.

I started out ok, donning my new and very cool wellies, gloves and spring jacket. But by the end I was boots up on the couch, too tired to even crack a bevy.

Oh and I only got about 1/4 done at best. Needless to say I’ll be back soon to get another tiny corner complete. I guess I’ve got more work to do.