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Blog: The Red Chronicles

Spring chicks

By April 21, 2017 Performance

“hanging out with the hipsters is hard work

how many selfies can you take without looking like a jerk?”

-Sheryl Crow, Be Myself

  • Sheryl Crow has released her ninth studio album, Be Myself. Nine seems a good number for Crow who has nine Grammies to match. After a recent foray into the country music arena, Crow’s latest is a fierce flourish of rock-pop born of a wish to revisit the sound and feeling of her earlier records. Still, the record hardly ignores the current landscape as the musician felt a sense of “real urgency” following Trump’s election. Match that with a recent bout of breast cancer, motherhood, and the launch of a new clothing line, and you have a sage on your spring jam.

  • Tap-dancing is one of those skills you can’t do without absolute commitment. See it nailed down in full glory this weekend with the most buoyant cast of spring in Wavestage’s latest production, Anything Goes.

  • Toronto’s Soulpepper is bringing their most celebrated productions to New York for a month of programming this summer. I’ve seen most of these shows and loved them here and here. Read on about the hidden figures behind this initiative and others.
  • Fun quiz: read this description and try to guess which famous Torontonian is featured in an essay in this week’s New Yorker:

 She would look striking even if she were not familiar. She owns an array of brightly colored winter coats—jewel red, imperial purple—with faux-fur-trimmed hoods that frame her face, as do her abundant curls of silver hair. She has high cheekbones and an aquiline nose, the kind of features that age has a hard time withering. Her skin is clear and translucent, of the sort that writers of popular Victorian fiction associated with good moral character.

 Read on here to see if you guessed right.

This spring chick is spring cleaning this weekend (sigh) between cheering (GO LEAFS GO!). Then again, I might just ditch and hang out in the best playhouse in my neighbourhood. Guess where? Then again, if I tell you, I might have to kill you.

 

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Very Married

By April 20, 2017 Life

It was an April morning like any other in Toronto when my parents pledged to take care of one another in front of friends and family at a midtown church. Sixty years later, the front of the church stands yet; behind it, an enormous hole where construction has begun on new condos. Change is a constant in this city. To become attached to any one pile of stones is sure to bring heartbreak.

Attach instead skin to skin.

 

Today my dad reaches under the table for my mother’s hand at an intimate family lunch in their honour. Beside me, my mother giggles. For a second I allow myself to be her University of Toronto chum, pondering the merits of this very tall suitor, who courted her for more years than he would have liked before she said yes.  He would have to promise first to have many children for this only child was resolute about wanting a brood. That we would be unwieldy and prone to spontaneous outbursts was likely not what she imagined. Yet here we are, doing that celebrating thing we can’t seem to give up, and here’s Dad at the head of the table once again, reeling out the first chapter.

“I was suggested by somebody that I should run as as a Member-at-Large in first year so I went to the meeting and there was this good looking blonde who got nominated as the woman head of the year. I went out to Charles Street on the first football game and here came the blonde with her friends and I said to myself, I better sit by her because we’re going to be on the executive together: this was the beginning.”

We’ve heard this one before. Indeed, we’re arrogant enough to think we know all the chapters, one spectacular constellation to guide us in the fog. Of course we don’t.  It is theirs alone, inside every embrace.

 

But we do have the main, the heft, the long thread of this gorgeous narrative weaving through all of us.

Today, I had the immense honour to toast this couple and what I told them was this:

Your story is unending. It is in me when I wake up and when I close my eyes at night. It is the story of us, and lives within your five children and eleven grandchildren. It will be the story their children and all future generations know. It is the story of devotion and strength, of tremendous commitment and good humour. It inspires me and sustains me; my own marriage exists on the shoulders of yours.  

“I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest — blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband’s life as fully as he is mine.”

― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

 

Diamonds really are forever.

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Easter peace to you all

By April 16, 2017 Life, Rituals

“Mother of all bombs” dropped this week. Did you shake where you stood as I did hearing the terrifying physics of this first-ever weapon deconstructed on a radio programme? I was in my kitchen, chopping carrots.

Far away is right here in 2017. There is no far away.

Be relentless about peace where you stand if you’re lucky enough to live in Canada.

To all my readers: Happy Easter.

 

 

More on Easter:

Three years ago:

You’re never too old for egg hunts

How deep is your love?

Four years ago:

Green Eggs and Ham

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Pink isn’t just for millennials

By April 3, 2017 Headlines, Life

Millennial pink has reached the zenith of zeitgeist gushing.  Didn’t know pink was a thing? Me neither. The Friendly Greek wore pink shirts decades ago; in my closet are several pink purses.

On at least two occasions, I wore a large pink hat.

None of this makes us anything remotely on trend. How can you be hip in a red blazer fit for a tour guide?

“No one really agrees on what shade millennial pink actually is. Nonetheless, we think we figured it out. Essentially, it’s a subtle, muted pink — not too bright, but also not too blush (blush is also the “new neutral,” have you heard?) How did this fad begin, you ask? It could have been when Apple released the “rose gold” iPhone in 2015, or when Pantone named rose quartz the “Color of the Year” in 2016. Either way, it’s a thing, and we’re here for it.”

aol.com

“Gone is the girly-girl baggage; now it’s androgynous. It doesn’t hurt that the color happens to be both flattering and generally pleasing to the eye, but it also speaks to an era in which trans models walk the runway, gender-neutral clothing lines are the thing, and man-buns abound. It’s been reported that at least 50 percent of millennials believe that gender runs on a spectrum — this pink is their genderless mascot.”


nymag.com (Read here for a complete breakdown of the trend)


“A color becomes popular because it’s symbolic of the age we’re living in. These are turbulent times. People are looking for calm.”

-Laurie Pressman, Pantone Colour Institute (more from Bloomberg here)

“I don’t like it but I can see why it’s popular. This is how I feel about a lot of things pitched to my demographic. Still, better than Boomer Pink, which locked Millennial Pink in the basement without a job and is inexplicably snide about it.”

Alexandra Petri, Washington Post


Running out to purchase things in hot colours never works much for me (who has time?) but some manage to pull it off.

Around here, some pink is year round.

And other pinks show up when it’s their season to strut.

Easter brings out the shine in pink, and my mother’s gorgeous pink candles.

I’m not fussed if pink is out of fashion decades from now (or how about next week, thanks to the Trump green invasion), certain as I am of the longevity of Anne’s Seasonal Kitsch that keeps me from losing my mind cued up and ready for the uncharted curves ahead.

Pink is not about the feminine or the frivolous.

For me, it’s the pucker up* we long for…

…and in the eyelids of sleeping babes. I’m for those forever.

Come on now. Show me your hip side. Got any millennial pink in your collection? Share in the Have your Say section below.

*photo credit: Jane Langford

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Kudos and Curses

By March 30, 2017 Performance

Winter has been rich for readers and arts lovers. Lots to love, and some? Not so much. Read More

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Mango Crisp

By March 27, 2017 Recipes, Urban gadfly

I love weekend brunch. It’s my favourite meal to host, but so too is sitting down to a latte bowl made by someone else at a tiny gem in your own city. Hitting the Toronto brunch scene used to be a rare thing for us. You try hauling teenagers out of bed on a weekend morning, let alone waiting for them to get dressed and ready for a family outing. Now the Friendly Greek and I play tourist in our own town and smile as we ask “table for two, please.” Read More

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Mango Mama

By March 23, 2017 Recipes, Travel

Screw you spring. So you want to take your time? That’s okay. I’ll make do with hot blooms*, and well…there’s always mangoes.

Living in a big city like Toronto means finding these fruits will not require a trip to the Caribbean.  Mango lovers can find a fantastic variety of this juicy stone fruit at most grocers, and they’re in season now. I found these beauties, the Palmer variety from Brazil, at Longos this week and cranked the music up. Grab your sarongs. Yeah baby. It’s a mango party.

Showing off in the Tropical Treats chapter in my food memoir is a very dangerous cake.  I usually make it with four small Ataulfo mangoes, but if you’re able to get your hands on one of the Palmer mangoes, one mango will do the trick.

You’ll need rum too. Sip it slowly as you make the easy peasy caramel that coats the bottom of the pan. Thanks Mom, for this tiny perfect copper pot: my new go-to for wee cooking matters like the caramel syrup in this recipe.

The amount of rum that actually goes into the cake is tiny and no, you can’t taste any alcohol, just a gooey rich mango-banana flavour that is (almost) as good as a trip to the beach. If you want the recipe, I’ll happily send it, along with my buzz sheet that goes out to subscribers. Sign up is easy on the top right of this site. Or order my book and you can have all the recipes to yourself.

Throwback Thursdays (colour therapy after all) in the long slow thaw are a little easier with a crisper full of the tropics!

For more mango (yes please!), try this smooth and very sexy gelato recipe or a zesty mango salad, 

Coming up soon…Coconut mango crisp. Mmmmmmmmmm…..

Can’t find mangoes? Hop down to the Shrangri-La Hotel where this incredible virgin cocktail is on the bar menu. Hong Kong Lemonade, a sheer shot of adrenaline sunshine,  is a blend of juices including ginger, yuzu,orange, cranberry, and lemonade.

 *blooms courtesy of Kindness Queen Stephanie Black, who popped into Anne’s kitchen with Junior Star Baker Chloe for this week’s edition of with love and sugar bakes. Who will be our guest next time? 

 

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Shamrock daydream

By March 17, 2017 Life

If today is a day for parades, and pubs with green beer (dumb-no such thing exists in Ireland), then let it too be a day to toast a country of my ancestors. What I took away from a 2011 family holiday to Ireland was a great affinity with mist and magic.

 

Another visit is surely ahead for us. Until then, I snuggle down into my Irish woolies (purchased on the Aran Islands, easily a favourite spot on that incredible trip) and let my mind drift into fairy realms. That’s my St. Patrick’s Day: convening with dead writers.*

 

Lovers on Aran

The timeless waves, bright, sifting, broken glass,
Came dazzling around, into the rocks,
Came glinting, sifting from the Americas

To possess Aran. Or did Aran rush
to throw wide arms of rock around a tide
That yielded with an ebb, with a soft crash?

Did sea define the land or land the sea?
Each drew new meaning from the waves’ collision.
Sea broke on land to full identity.

Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)

 

Another good way to celebrate is making this.

 

We found versions of this date pudding with whiskey sauces across Ireland and I have loved it ever since. Want a recipe? There’s one waiting for you in my book. Hope you have your copy.

 For more on our trip, catch our goofy side here.

* Irish fiction is flourishing. Read more on the writers of the new wave.

More fun for your weekend:

  • So you think an English literature degree leads nowhere? Meet this Canadian CEO who might change your mind.
  • Hanging with a girlfriend posse from a more innocent time is therapy for me (see you tonight, ladies!**) and I suspect many others. Faithful friends are among the best things in life, along with dark chocolate, spring mornings, and this song. That’s why I cried when I read this story of a friendship gone wrong.
  • New York City women have a new hang out. The Wing is “your throne away from home; a sacred space where you can work, get to inbox zero, shower, get a blow-out, store your stuff, take a conference call, make a new friends, or even stage a small coup. All in one place”. Here’s how it started.
  • Emma Watson, star of the new film Beauty and the Beast on whether Belle is trapped in an abusive relationship
  • Elsewhere in the landscape of age-old folk tales: I’m going to see this ballet on Sunday and I can’t wait. Pinocchio is on through March 24th in Toronto.

**Bringing treats. Duh

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March Roar

By March 3, 2017 Film, Life, Performance

YIPPEE! MARCH IS HERE!!!!

No, I’m not heading to the beach for some of this and that.  I’ll be at school this month (more on that to come) and yes, there are reasons to kick up my heels yet.

Read More

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A banquet but no feast

By March 1, 2017 Film, Headlines

Watching the Oscars while sick offers a cocktail of kicks. While I don’t recommend it entirely—stomach flu has zero charm unlike its cousin, the common cold which allows for chicken soup—I will say this for it: delirium rids the thing of any heft. Read More

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