My friend and fellow grad school survivor (we defended our dissertations within a month of each other) Tanis MacDonald, took the train in from Kitchener to be my guide for an afternoon. I wish I'd thought to have a copy of her latest book of poetry (her third), Rue the Day, for her to sign, but I'll have to save that for next visit. (I'd recommend any of her books -- her poetry is accessible but always packs a punch -- see an example I posted earlier. They're available through Chapters Online). From my hotel, we walked to city hall, which Tanis pointed out to me is commemorated in Dennis Lee's Civil Elegies.
That's Tanis above, as you might have guessed. From here she led me up to Queen Street West where we ate in the back patio of a great little place, La Hacienda -- as my knowledgeable host pointed out, this patio, with a mature tree as a surprising centerpiece, is typical of many Toronto spots where you enter through a busy streetside front door and find yourself in a small garden with welcome respite from the urban pace. We had so much to catch up on, comparing notes on teaching at fairly different institutions -- hers puts more emphasis on research, mine on teaching-- and commiserating over the difficulties of finding time for writing in between prepping lectures, marking, and serving on committees.
We then headed over to the Annex
okay, maybe you need a closer look to see why I couldn't resist buying this (well, besides how hard Tanis was twisting my arm, really;-)
Not sure how true it is, but I'd do quite a bit for a great pair of shoes, so maybe cooking . . .
and then we sat at a Greek restaurant (the Danforth houses Greektown) and drank some bubbly water with our coffees and caught up even more. Oh, and Tanis reminded me of that Bare Naked Ladies lyric "We bought an old house on the Danforth." Too soon, it was time to hop on the subway again, head back to my hotel, and say good-bye 'til next time.
And then I had to put my feet up for a few minutes so that I'd be ready to walk up to meet Megan in front of the Crystal where we both posed for photos while waiting for Rob to join us. Once he arrived, we headed inside and upstairs to dine at C5 (where she's been working for the past few months). We had a splendid meal -- I can't even remember how many courses the tasting menu involved, but it was wonderful. Besides that, the room itself is very impressive and I kept being distracted from the dinner conversation to "ooh! and "ah!" at the sheets of lightning off behind the CN Tower.