Toronto livin'

I've been living in Toronto for a little over two months now, and we're well into the "mostly wasps with a 60% chance of stinky garbage" phase of summer. For better or for worse, most of my gigs at this point are either outside or in churches, meaning a trip to the Salvation Army to get some less-hot black clothes is probably in order! Thus far it's been enjoyable, though, especially since some of the gigs I had in the past few weeks were at Casa Loma. Casa Loma is a large and impressive castle with equally large and impressive gardens built in the early 1900's but Sir Henry Pellatt, who as far as I can tell (mostly by reading the informational signs inside Casa Loma itself) was kind of a pompous dick. Eventually he couldn't pay his taxes and the city seized the castle, although not before it was used during World War 2 as a secret Allied research base-- the sonar equipment used to detect U-boats was developed in the attic of Casa Loma, hidden from the public (who came to the castle for weekly social dances) by nothing more than a sign that said "Under construction, we apologize for the inconvenience."

Anyway, Casa Loma has some pretty rad gardens, maintained by a whole army of gardeners, which includes a closed (and air-conditioned!) glass gazebo in which concerts are held every Tuesday. I didn't take any pictures, but fortunately for once the publicity photo is exactly correct about what it actually looks like: 

Casa Loma set up for a concert. 

Casa Loma set up for a concert. 

The music is great; we played an "Opera Hits" show, Beethoven 7, and the most recent Tuesday, a concert of mostly French Impressionism. The place is always packed-- even the Beethoven 7 concert, when it started pouring rain in the middle of the performance, people who were outside of the gazebo stayed to listen!

Tomorrow I have a different outdoor gig, at the Jackson-Triggs winery. I've played there once before, with NYOC in 2012. Jackson-Triggs has its own amphitheatre and puts on an entire summer concert series: 

On my way through wine country tomorrow, I'm also planning on stopping at a meadery to buy some mead, which I haven't been able to find in LCBOs and have been trying to for ever!

I also have some solo stuff going on; last Friday I played a kids' show of my very own, consisting of the 2nd Cello Suite and Nussio's Variations on a Theme by Pergolesi, with lots of explanations, jokes and tricks in between the movements of each. One of the teachers at the Niagara Summer Music Camp later told me that she had never seen the campers so attentive before for a single-instrument recital!

I'll be playing the same rep again, plus the Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras No. 6 (for flute and bassoon) and some Handel duets at the Belfountain Music Festival on August 4th. 

Besides all that, I also got a job at a patient transfer company-- the non-emergency ambulances that take patients between hospitals and from their homes to hospital appointments-- and as a result of the lifting requirements of the job, have finally started lifting weights for real! I have been doing the Stronglifts 5x5 program at the U of T gym. I've been meaning to learn how to lift for... like, years, so this job is the kick in the pants I need :D I start my job training at the company in a few weeks!

On a personal note... I got engaged! Here's a fuzzy laptop picture of my hand with some new bling. (Might do away with the black nail polish for the actual wedding, haha...)

Finger bling!

Finger bling!

That's all, folks. Now, I gotta go work out/warm up/make reeds/ get supplies to make some jam with the huge excess of mulberries on the trees around my house!