Monday, August 27, 2007

Toronto Weekend

As usual, we had itchy feet. Naoyuki really wanted to go to Palm Springs for the Short Film Festival but neither of us wanted to take off that much time. I suggested Toronto instead and he found a great weekend deal at the Toronto Hilton, in downtown Toronto at the corner of West Richmond and University.

We left about noon on Friday and stopped by one of our favorite places, the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton. We have been two of three times previously but we had never been to Hendrie Park where we found roses, medicinal plants, and a shady woodland, among other things, nor had we been to the Rock Garden which is totally spectacular. A very good visit, although it was rather hot (upper 80s, low 90s – we’re such wimps now!) for all that walking around outside.

Our room at the Hilton was quite nice (27th floor with a great view of the CN Tower) and because Naoyuki earlier had joined up for the Hilton Honors program we got to visit the Executive Lounge (up on the 32nd floor with nice north and south views) for complimentary nibbles and cocktails. Afterwards we did the 15 minute walk down Adelaide Street to Nami for really good sushi. Then back to the room to crash.

Saturday we had breakfast (Executive Lounge, again), then walked up past the Ontario Parliament Building through Queen’s Park to the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, which had a first rate exhibit of Chinese porcelain made for export during the 16th through the 19th centuries. It was our first visit to the Gardiner, which is a very modern, newly renovated space. We very much enjoyed the Gift Shop (and came close to actually buying something, which we almost never do) and might have tried the restaurant if we hadn’t had other lunch plans.

Lunch was at Fire on the East Side with my longtime online friend J. and M., J’s new(ish)-dating-since-March boyfriend. J. and I have a long-time, shared passion for men’s bodybuilding and M., as another chat friend says, “puts us all to shame.” It was fun to have a chance to talk about the sport face-to-face with people who are equally knowledgeable about it and interested in it.

After lunch Naoyuki and I paid a (relatively quick) visit to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), which is currently undergoing renovations. Some cool work by Chuck Close and an impressive collection of Henry Moore sculpture but most of the exhibit space is shut down (and almost all of the collection in storage) while the AGO undergoes a massive renovation project. We look forward to visiting again after the construction project is completed in 2008.

Then it was back to the Hilton for a quick workout in the fitness center and then off to the Distillery District for dinner at Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill, which (unlike another restaurant in the district) was quite pleased to see us, even without a reservation. Good food and a very attentive wait staff made up for prices that were a tad on the high side (it’s a popular destination with tourists and wedding parties, it seems.)

And then…


The new Cirque du Soleil show under the Big Top in Toronto’s port district was really quite spectacular. The costumes and the music are always great, of course, whatever the show, but the focus here (besides the clowning around) was on acrobatics and athleticism. I can’t tell you how many times I said “HOW did they do that?!” and “Oh My God, you’ve got to be kidding!” Which, from my point of view, is the mark of a great circus!

A great way to end a great Saturday!

Sunday was more low-keyed but still entertaining. We went to China Town so that Naoyuki could shop for exotic fruits and vegetables, then up to J-Town (a collection of Japanese-owned stores selling food, groceries, and other products) for some groceries and a wedding present for my baby brother-in-law and his bride-to-be. Plus back downtown for a return visit to the Textile Museum of Canada and another couple of quirky-yet-beautiful exhibits and a trip to our favorite of all gift shops, where we found a piece of Panamanian Kuna cloth to go with the pieces we picked up on our Panama Canal cruise last November and December (2006).

And, yes, in case you hadn’t noticed, we very much enjoy the fact that we live only 100 miles away from Toronto!

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Moving along

I have set up a new online domain, (no content yet), that will eventually replace my holdings at As of now, my (new) preferred e-mail address is

So why the move?

A couple of reasons:

(1) I was still using the hosting company that Jeremy had employed since about 2000, They've long since moved away from hosting personal websites and beginning in early 2007 they precipitously raised the rates for those of us still hanging about. I have better things to spend the money on.

(2) The domain name is still registered to Jeremy, even though I've been the official contact as far as the hosting company is concerned for many years. I tried explaining to Network Solutions LLC that there Domani Internet Services really wasn't a company (even though it was legally incorporated in Georgia), just a hobby of Jeremy's, but they wanted me to send a copy of the death certificate and the will and on and on. Of course, there was NO will, and even though I could deal with writing yet another letter and faxing yet another copy of the death certificate, I'm pretty sure they would say that was inadequate and I definitely am NOT up for calling Becky (Jeremy's mom) and getting her to write a notarized letter stating that as his closest surviving relative she disavowed all interest in the site. (She'd do it, I'm sure, and I'd have a nervous breakdown asking her to do so.)

So at some point before long I will tell to pull the plug on the site, after I've moved all the content to the new one, and then it will be in limbo, presumably until the end of time or whenever the name registration is up for renewal.

When I told Naoyuki I'd made this decision, he was rather perturbed. "Are you sure?"

And, yes, in fact, I am. was a Jeremy creation and he's not here to maintain it. It is time for me to have a site over which I have total control, not just legacy privileges, where I can maintain and update the content I've created over the years -- and so that I can maintain (most of) the personal content he created.

I'll post an update here when the new site is up and running.

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Wisconsin Wedding

My nephew, Joshua Stephen Jasper, married Allison Stump at Settler's Park in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, at 4 p.m. Saturday, August 11, 2007. Josh, 22 (he'll be 23 in October), is a professional welder in nearby Manitowoc while Ali, 20, is a staff member at the American Club in Kohler.

It was a lovely day for a wedding, sunny and clear, and although it was rather hot (low 90s) there was no humidity and a nice breeze. Josh and Steve, my brother, and Bruce, Ali's dad, managed not to melt in their formal suits (black jackets and pants, white shirts, and magenta!! vests and ties), and I survived, too.

The reception was held afterwards at the Villager, a restaurant / bar / banquet hall just a few blocks from the park. It was a pleasant event, although I escaped (along with my mom and her husband) about 8 p.m., long before they shut the party down (about 11 p.m.)

It's not my first Wisconsin wedding.

THAT was Barb's and Steve's, December 17, 1982. It was my first trip to the "North" and (if I recall correctly) my first trip on a commercial airplane. Steve and Barb drove down to Chicago from Sheboygan to pick me up. Along with Steve's best man, Dave Pearce, I stayed with Barb's parents, Harold and Arlyn Meyers, and their two younger sons, Tom and Jim (who I didn't see again until Josh's wedding this weekend!) The reception at the (now defunct) Eagle's Club was a night to remember.

Josh is the first of my mother's eight grandchildren and the first to get married. As I told Mom and Ron, "It's like deja vu all over again. I remember being their age when Barb and Steve got married, and now I'm the same age you were when I got married. It must be triple deja vu for you!"

(They didn't seem to be too impressed by this reasoning but it worked for me...)

Saturday (the wedding day) was another anniversary, mine and Jeremy's. We would have celebrated 13 years together. I told that to Steve, who sighed and said, "Whatcha gonna do?"

"What else?" I replied. "You go on. And you remember."

And you enjoy other people's celebrations.

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