Left Feet & Maple Tea

Saturday Feb.5, 2005. This is how it went down.

8:10am – Foggy, mild.

Song – Dog on Wheels (Belle & Sebastian)

Location – Train 70 (Via Rail) – London to Toronto

What is going through my head?

My mom thinks I’m too old for knee socks. I think knee socks are keen. I cannot be stopped!

I knew a dog on wheels once. His name was Spike. He belonged to my next door neighbour. Poor doggy! I’d hate to be a doggy on wheels.

Song – Spill the Wine (The Animals)

Close call –

While waiting in the train station I spotted a co-worker whom I find extremely annoying. My greatest fear loomed ahead. If she saw me, would she try to sit next to me on the two hour train ride? The danger of traveling alone! Maybe she was going to Niagara Falls and would have to board a different car. Maybe she finds me as annoying as I find her! I could only hope.

Upon boarding, I chose two empty seats. I sat in the one closest to the aisle with my back to the aisle pretending to fumble through my bag in search of something. Stealing glances at the boarding passengers, I continued to rummage. Peeking behind me I saw that the co-worker had seated herself a few rows behind. I had succeeded in avoiding her and managed to snag myself an extra seat all to myself! Sweet victory!

Song – Euphoria (Firefly) – Delirium

Location – near Woodstock

The girl in the seat across the aisle next to me just leaned over and discarded her paper napkin into the little bag in the netting on the back of the seat ahead of me where I’m keeping my juice. If you had garbage, wouldn’t you put it in your OWN space? Or wouldn’t you either ask first, or even ask to have the bag and keep it in your own area? I would. I’ll never understand human behaviour.


My life is coming out of it’s own grey fog. I’ve been enveloped for the past few years.

10:50 – The Senator (near Dundas and Yonge)

I’m waiting for my friend to arrive. I haven’t seen him in three years. I expect we’ll have an enjoyable and entertaining time. Toronto makes me a little sad still. C’est la vie! My friend will cheer me up. The Senator is the oldest restaurant in Toronto, or so I hear. It opened in 1890. I don’t think that was the original name. It is very retro. I feel like I should be meeting with a famous person for an interview. It’s that kind of place. Looks like a greasy spoon right from the 1950s. There is a cabinet by the cash full of old salt & pepper shaker sets. Coca Cola signs hang in various spots. A vintage Kelloggs cereal display hangs from the wall. I like it here.

I order an Earl Grey. I want the hot cider listed on their menu but they don’t have any. My friend arrives. He orders Earl Grey. We laugh about the synchronicity of it all. I tell him I like his shirt and will take a photo. I grimace and make fun of myself for taking photos of everything. He understands and says he has brought his camera too. We laugh. He brings out his camera. We both have the same exact model of camera. Spookiness ensues. I do believe I heard Twilight Zone music. Perhaps not.

After brunch we head over to the Eaton Centre for some shopping. Not my favourite place, but I’m in search of something only to be found there. The store is gone. We move on to our next item on the itinerary: Kensington Market in Chinatown. I want to go to a Chinese Vegetarian grocery store in the back of a restaurant. I’ve brought along a cooler to keep the frozen foods solid. We arrive and I insist I treat my friend to a drink & snack. We decide we’re hungry enough for a meal and veto our spaghetti dinner plans. He doesn’t mind that all the food is vegetarian. We order won ton soup, dumplings, sweet & sour oyster mushrooms (OH I LOVE THESE!), spring rolls, and california rolls (the kind with avocado inside). I eye the Coke cooler but resist. I am determined to quit the Coca-Cola habit for good. I MUST!

Next, we go to a store that I’ve never seen before. It must have recently opened (although I haven’t been in Kensington Market since June). It is called “Little Toyko” and features a variety of things Japanese. Anything from pottery to bath salts, Japanese videos & books, to foods of all kinds. I don’t think my friend has ever seen me so excited. I must look at everything. I notice the bath salts first. They are called “ofuro salts” as ofuro means bath in Japanese. They sell three brands. I recognize the one brand that has Kanji characters and a picture of a Famous bath house called “Dogo Onsen”. Onsen means “bath house” in Japanese. I am estatic!!! Dogo Onsen is in the city where I lived in Japan. Whenever my friend from Japan visits, she brings these salts to me. They are such a luxury item to me! I decide to buy two packets.

I end up making three separate purchases there throughout the afternoon. The owner woman is very happy with me. More because I am so excited than anything. She even starts to speak a little Japanese to me. I am honoured! My goods purchased: Bath salts, Wasabi rice snacks, yam flour to make Okonomiyaki with (and the owner gives me a recipe), frozen Edamame (soy beans in their pods), and a candy treat shaped like an ice cream cone.

We head over to a candy store located on the corner of Baldwin and Augusta (I think). I find maple tea there. I’m delighted! My friend says he would never have known there was a store hiding in the small space. I’m happy I’m showing him something new.

A childhood friend has recently opened up a store in this neighbourhood. The store sells shoes for Vegetarians. It is called “Left feet”. I had forgotten the address but I know it is close by. We ask a pretty young woman dressed in a shaggy multi-coloured vest if she knows of the store. She perks up when we said they sell veggie shoes. She suggests we check the next corner. As we approach a series of store fronts I vibe that we’re getting closer. Sure enough, the store is just steps ahead. Unfortunately, the window is covered in paper saying “Left Feet. Coming soon”. I am disappointed. I could have used some new shoes! So I leave my business card for the owner with a message that says “I want shoes. Open up”. I hope he gets it.

I have 2 hours to catch my train home. We are both feeling mellow and haven’t any ideas about where to go. We’re sick of paying for parking. I am usually a pedestrian in Toronto so this is quite a foreign concept to me. We decide to spend the next hour or so at Chapter’s Bookstore. We browse separately .

My friend drops me off at the train station. My journey is over. I’m ready to go back home.

Stay tuned for photos…


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