Archive for the 'Cheap Dates' Category

Summer Road Trip

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

It is officially summer, which means I am already panicking that it will fly by too quickly. Rather than live in the moment I spend the winter wishing the dark days away, then when summer finally arrives I immediately begin to dread the return of itchy sweaters. Between bouts of winter anxiety I am determined to squeeze out every drop of summer until the first awful autumn leaf falls.

To kick off my summer campaign, The Sweetie and I are going on our first road trip of the season. We will drive with the windows open and the tunes blaring and I will force him to sing duets with me. Jacked up on sugar and caffeine, my car singing will be even more tuneless than usual. We will see a Hollywood blockbuster at the Mustang drive-in. It is owned by an old, hairy hippy who shares rambling peace and love soliloquies over the sound system before starting the movie. The next day we will swim in a sparkly lake that will be so cold that we won’t be able to feel our legs, but we’ll do it anyway, shrieking the entire time. I’ll get a stupid sunburn as I do every year because I will miss one patch of skin when applying sunscreen. We will eat tomato sandwiches on the beach and get gritty sand in our teeth. I will eat blueberries and have bright blue lips. I will read a trashy novel and smear the pages with greasy sunscreen fingerprints. The sound of the water and the sunshine warming my skin will lull me into a glorious, hazy stupor.

We’ll drive back into the city rejuvenated, greasy and relaxed. I feel very Buddha-like after a summer getaway, partly because of the bulging Buddha belly escaping from my bathing suit, but mainly because of my ability to feel mindful and present. It is easy to have a fresh perspective and to feel like all is right with the world when the sun shines. Summer is easy that way. If only it would last forever.

Woofstock Heaven

Monday, June 13th, 2011

This weekend was the most glorious of all weekends in Toronto. It was the annual Woofstock festival, a delightful extravaganza for dogs and their owners. It is a meet and greet filled with vendors, contests, lots of bum sniffing, and barking. I was giddy and unperturbed by the crowds and the mob shuffle that usually makes me irritable and instantly looking for an escape route. I cooed at the dogs, watched the stupid pet tricks contest, which included a dog that sang along to a harmonica and a skateboarding bulldog, and felt like I had found my Nirvana.

My Best Investments

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

How to avoid being crabby on a rainy autumn night:

  • Eat The Sweetie’s best in the world pasta arrabiata – lots of it
  • Have chocolate ice-cream in the freezer
  • Snuggle under a blanket with the pasta king Sweetie
  • Watch multiple episodes of Flight of the Conchords and high five The Sweetie for our brilliant investment in seasons one and two

Treasures and Picnics

Monday, July 13th, 2009


The Sweetie’s lovely and talented sister is visiting from Victoria which gave me the perfect excuse to yet again drag The Long Suffering Sweetie to Aberfoyle Antique market. Knowing that his sister is a fellow treasure hunter, I could pretend that I was suggesting a Sunday excursion for her benefit. It isn’t that The Sweetie is adverse to antique markets, he is a patient and curious Sweetie after all, but each trip has filled him with a mounting fear that our house will be overrun with clutter. He dreams of one day having a stark, minimalist home, and every ridiculous bird creamer and Santa snow globe I discover takes him further and further away from his zen fantasies. I can see him visibly cringing when I am fondling salt and pepper shakers shaped like corn cobs or cooing over rusty bird cages.

Luckily for me, The Sweetie is an indulgent brother, and his sister and I had a wonderful time exploring the stalls and finding beads and baubles for future jewellery making projects.

After many hours of hunting, our hands dusty from rummaging through piles of trinkets, we had a lovely picnic to replenish ourselves.

Sunshine, treasures and loved ones make a perfect summer Sunday.

Roti and Uno

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009


I’m still savouring the past weekend. It is impossible to go wrong with a summer’s weekend, even ones that are sprinkled with rain.

Friday was a gorgeous night when the temperature felt just right on the skin. Cool but not cold, just soft and pleasant, perfect for sitting on a backyard patio with grapevines overhead. We had a roti-off with friends who have been singing the praises of Bacchus roti, while we were more partial to Vena and Gandhi. Not all of the contenders were represented but we had a mini roti-off between Bacchus and Gandhi, unveiled in all their roti glory from behind a homemade curtain to heighten the drama of it all. So far, Bacchus is in the lead for best roti in Toronto. It will be hard to compete with their mix of channa, squash and spinach. So yummy and creamy and delectable.

The evening continued with full bellies, beer  and a game of Uno with candles flickering in a gentle breeze. Summer transforms the simplest of meals and activities into something magical.

I look forward to the ongoing battle for Toronto’s best roti, an Uno re-match and breezy nights with friends. Life is good in the summer.

Happy Accidents Despite the City Strike

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009


At last this week feels like summer should: hot, sunny and glorious. The Sweetie and I decided to frolic at Centre Island for the day. We traipsed to the ferry docks, slathered with sunscreen and dreaming of riding the giant plastic swan that swims through the pond on rails.

The ferry was closed due to the Toronto City worker’s strike. Gahh!

I never expected to be a reverse Norma Rae, but I have little sympathy for the city worker’s strike.  When people are losing their jobs or hanging on to them by a thread, it feels wrong for employees of the city who are being paid taxpayer’s money to strike just because they want to bank their sick days for retirement. The Sweetie and I have already had a few heated debates where he is trying to defend their right to strike but as someone who is self employed, I have zero job security, zero benefits and zero sick days, let alone sick days I can bank for my retirement, so I am not overwhelmed with sympathy. I was even less sympathetic when my dreams of a tacky swan ride and soft serve ice cream were thwarted.

Luckily it is summer and the sun was shining and it is hard to remain cranky when the weather is so beautiful. We strolled around Harbourfront like tourists and had a wonderful day despite the city strike. Furthermore, if we had made it to the island I never would have met Bill. He was sitting on the boardwalk surrounded by pigeons eating bread straight from his hands. Bill was kind enough to teach me his special bird feeding method- start by scattering crumbs to whip them into a bit of a frenzy, then hold a piece of bread (crusty Italian is their favourite apparently) in your palms and wait, quietly. Eventually I too was a pigeon whisperer and had birds landing and pecking from my hand. There will be other opportunities to go to the island but a lovely interlude with a gentle, generous man felt like a surprise gift and far outweighed a swan ride.

Sometimes the best moments are accidental ones, although if it had been a cold and miserable winter’s day there would have been nothing but cursing at the city workers and a surly subway ride home. Thank you summer, thank you Bill the bird whisperer and a back handed thank you to the striking city workers.