Sunday, July 26, 2009

What I miss

is the architecture in Krakow.

I even sort of miss the cobblestones (although my ankles don't):


This art supply shop is located only a few steps away from my former flat in Krakow. I walked by it almost every day, always peering in the windows to see what was new, yet never actually going inside.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I took this pic my last night in Krakow, at the flower market in the Rynek, and completely forgot about it until I downloaded my photos a few days ago.

Monday, July 6, 2009


I finally downloaded all of the photos I took the last few months I was in Europe and have spent the last few hours looking through them.

This snapshot is for K and P who each bought something like 6 pairs of shoes while visiting me in Poland in early April. Oddly, I don't think I purchased even one pair in the entire two years I lived there.

We found this shoe store in Zamosc, a lovely town in eastern Poland. Not sure how many pairs the Canadians purchased here, but I know it was more than one.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

You can go home again

I'm lying on the couch in my newly renovated living room. I've just cleaned it in anticipation of showing it off to my grandmother tomorrow afternoon.

I guess I've been back in Canada now for 6 or 7 weeks and I finally feel like I belong here.

The first few weeks were rough: I was sad and depressed about leaving Krakow and felt completely displaced (for a while I bandied about the phrase relocation dislocation) and at loose ends. I hid out at my friend S's house in Leslieville, working from there most days and leaving the house only to run errands or to go to the gym and to check out the progress on my renovations.

But I've adapted. I'm living in my own house now and the renovations are almost completely finished. I no longer have to spend most of my non-working hours making house or car-related decisions leaving me more time to spend reconnecting with my friends.

Plus, it is summer and despite a strike by the city employees (creating mounds of garbage everywhere and shutting down public services like pools and ferries), Toronto is a pretty good place to be. The trees are green, the flowers are blooming, the sun is shining (well most of the time), and the patios are open.

A part of me will always miss Krakow, but for now I'm home and I'm happy.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Young Poland

Last Saturday, on my flight back to Toronto, I spent a few hours reading about my favourite period in Polish art: the Young Poland movement. The book was a farewell gift from a friend and provides art and architectural examples of the movement in and around Krakow.

Several of my favourite churches, galleries, and buildings were listed in the guide, and I was thoroughly enjoying reading about Krakow, when I turned the page and saw a picture of this guy:

This gargoyle perches on the building I lived in for the past two years. Imagine my surprise to see him featured in a guide to Krakow!

I knew my building was designated as a heritage building (it was the former power plant for Krakow before it was converted into an architect's office and apartments), but I guess I didn't realize how historically significant it really was.

Yep, I lived in a building with a gargoyle. Not many people in Toronto can say that.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Derek and Flannery

Here's the first anecdote of many about Derek:

Soon after I moved to Toronto from Waterloo, Derek was accepted into the publishing program at Centennial College. We ended up being roommates, living in a 2nd floor apartment in an old house on Keele St in High Park.

I've got so many great memories of that year: sitting on the deck gossiping and sharing stories about our lives for hours, both of us being terrified of the huge raccoon that used to live on the roof, laughing at our upstairs neighbour Rocker Dude, hosting cocktail parties that lasted all night (I don't think I've had someone pass out on my kitchen floor since those days), and just hanging out in our pjs watching TV.

That year was also the year I decided I would get a cat. For months before actually adopting the cat, I mused about what I would name her (for it would be a female). I wanted something literary. Perhaps Jane or Margaret after one of my favourite authors. Or maybe named for a fictional character. Possibly Daisy.

Meanwhile, Derek picked out his own name. For him the only possible choice was Flannery. Didn't matter to him that I had never read Flannery O'Connor. He stuck to his guns, referring to my future pet as Flannery in conversation whenever he could. And then he dealt the final blow, telling me (with a sparkle in his eye) that it didn't matter what I decided to call the cat, he would call her Flannery.

The morning we went to the humane society, Derek finally relented, saying that whatever I wanted to call the cat would be fine and he would go along with my choice. I think he secretly knew by that time that he had already indelibly imprinted the name Flannery on my brain.

So Flannery she was, and still is. I can't imagine her as being anything else.

Yet even though Derek gave me a Flannery O'Connor novel (aptly titled "A Good Man is Hard to Find") for Christmas that year, it was years before I could bring myself to read it. What would I do if I didn't like the works of my cat's namesake?

But, as always, Derek's recommendation was sound.

And oh how Derek loved Flannery, always scooping her up for a cuddle whenever he came over and wondering if she remembered that they had lived together all those years ago. Of course she did.