Checking out UofT Library and the ROM

A chilly 5°C today but with sunny and blue skies. Sent Glen on his way to work, from the comfort of our still warm bed, and then roused myself and went to the gym.

I know it’s cold but I don’t understand how you can exercise in a very hot room (except for Bikram). The gym was about 77°F, which is 25°C. Might not sound high but when you’re lifting weights it gets uncomfortable. So I surreptitiously, over time, change the temperature to something a bit more comfortable. However, by the time I’d got it to a chilly and enjoyable 15°C, the gym was empty.

I tidied the house when I got back, ate breakfast, then sat down to write. It’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this month whereby people all over the world (it should really be International Novel Writing Month but InNoWriMo doesn’t have quite…actually, it sounds pretty good) aim to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I’ve done it before, a few years ago, and reached the target. Back home November isn’t really the best month to do it as it’s getting warmer and people’s activities are generally more geared to outdoors rather than staying indoors and typing. In the northern hemisphere, the climate is a bit more conducive.

So I started on 1 November and have been keeping up with the target (1667 words per day requirement) though I haven’t exceeded that yet except for once. It’s like I get to the target and then stop. With all the time I have, I really should be able to get this done much sooner than 30 November but so far it’s not looking that way.

Nevertheless, I reached my word count today, with a break in the middle of writing to go to the bank and the supermarket, and I think I had lunch somewhere in there too.

After that, I didn’t want to spend the rest of the day inside (it was about 2pm by this time) so I thought I’d check out the University of Toronto’s main library. It’s about a 20 minute walk away from the apartment. It was lovely, brisk walk, the cold air cutting through my jeans and my fluffy jacket.

Arrived at the library which was being well utilised by students. I went up the floors and there are plenty of places to sit and study and read (although I didn’t actually see all that many books). My initial thought for going there was to scope it out as a place to write. Writing at home might sound ideal but it’s very easy to get distracted. I like routine so I thought perhaps heading to the UoT library every day would be worthwhile.

It’s a big space but it’s not very inspirational on the inside. Plus all those students. Would be great to people-watch though. So I’ve crossed that off the list. I might just try the Starbucks on the corner (about a minute away) instead of traipsing across town. When the snow comes, that’ll just be awful.

I was near the Royal Ontario Museum and, as I’m a member, I popped in there to have a quick look around. It was a kind of drive-by museum viewing. I didn’t spend long there or pay much attention, preferring to just focus on a few things that caught my eye.

The Dior coat-dress
The Dior coat-dress

The first thing I saw was a video about the making of a Christian Dior coat-dress. The ROM had acquired the haute couture outfit and put next to it a video of the whole process. Absolutely fascinating! The detail that went into it was amazing. I was transfixed. All the back and forth between the different experts to get it right, the embroidery, the pleats, the sewing.

Designed by John Galliano, it took 500 hours went into its construction. One month after this dress was shown, Galliano made anti-semitic remarks and was fired from Christian Dior.

Did you know that Tsar Nicholas II’s sister Olga lived in southern Ontario from 1948 until she died in 1960? She’s buried here.

I zoomed through the rest of the galleries and then walked home to prepare dinner. The sunsets earlier now, about 4:30/5, and the dimming light over the parklands seen from our window is quite beautiful.

What do you say, eh?

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