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Sun May 25th, 2014


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11:56 pm - Out and about
An accomplished weekend, and a very nice weekend for accomplishing. I was too busy being social on Saturday for Doors Open-- lunch with university friend unseen for 20 years or thereabouts, tea with aunt, an evening of The Little Girls. Only had acupuncture on the agenda for today and intended to make it (at last after four years) to the Tibetan Buddhist temple way out west in Junction. But by the time I got moving there was only ninety minutes to my appointment, so on a whim went to the Gardiner Museum (of Ceramics.) Never been in all its 30 year history, since porcelain is so not my thing. But it was free and fast, and off I went.

But not so fast in the event, because what the webpage doesn't tell you is that there's a sizable room full of preColumbian pottery, which in view of my current reading (the perpetual Acatl) I wanted to look at closely. And practically first off was the display of Moche pottery which is amazing. The Mayan and Aztec jars and figures were good and unsurprising, but the Moche were something else.

There's a small collection of Japanese pottery as well, but it's Kakiemon ware and its European imitators. I can see why the Europeans went gaga over it: it's bright and gaudy and not at all like the Bizen ware that I'm more used to.

My acupuncturist is already west of me, so I set out from there to that temple in the Junction, an undistinguished section of town where several roads converge and veer off in a very confusing Seven Dials fashion, just after two railway lines play hob with the up and down of the terrain. (It's called the Junction because way back when, *four* railway lines met there; also there were stockyards. It's only just recovering from the effects of these.) Thirty years ago I thought nothing of biking out there, even in winter, to my piano lessons near High Park. Traffic has gotten heavier, drivers have gotten meaner, I've gotten older. Even though I was on the main drag for only a few blocks, it was not a happy trip. Getting back was worse: the streets south of the Junction suddenly abandon the grid-map imposed on TO by some military surveyor and revert to following the original topography. Anything called Indian Road is a tipoff that you're following an ancient trail. It's a nice end of town, I'll admit, but much messier than the map indicates. The damage is compounded by turning Indian Rd into a crescent just at the end. And then they were repairing the railway bridges over Bloor, squeezing traffic into single lanes.

Shall not be doing this again in a hurry. The temple itself was nice but very Tibetan: not toned down to western tastes like the one near me that I visited two years ago. (That one also disses the Dalai Lama, which is, you know, not done. And the one in the Annex generates a lot of scandal, and the one virtually at the end of my street is on the third floor of a no elevators building. This is why I'm not a practising Buddhist.)

Then came all the way back to the university, intent on visiting the School of Hard Knox, as we call it. Alas, Knox College and its university gothic was only open on Saturday. So finally ended up at the old Admissions building, once the Observatory at UofT, next to where our daycare used to be until 2002. It's been taken over by some moneyed institute of international studies; the romanesque outer face remains, but the inside is all white godless office space. But back of it the little house still stands, that was unused for years and a scant ten feet away from the pre-school playground. (These facts may be related.) Little house is angled off a bit: I now discover that's because it housed the Observatory's meridian telescope and had to be oriented true n-s, unlike all the streets in TO which may be grids, but are off by a few degrees.

Is also the Glorious Twenty-fifth, and the city smells of lilacs. But I have none to wear, alas.

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