Balancing Act

I have got an absolute fuck-load of stuff going on in my life right now, and unfortunately it’s been getting in the way of my beloved blogging time. I only managed to write one post during February. One paltry post! That is unacceptable. If it weren’t for a couple of timely re-blogs, my blog might have slipped into a coma altogether and I’d be having a very difficult discussion with its doctor on the pros/cons of pulling the plug. But I’m still here, and I’m still trying to have it all.

It’s hard though, you know? I’m consumed by work, clocking around 50 hours on a good week, that is, when my workload isn’t paralyzing. I’m trying to plan my dream wedding, but keep getting thwarted by craziness and heartbreak. I just got some devastating news yesterday that derailed my whole weekend, and I spent all of Saturday night sobbing instead of relaxing, which I clearly need more of. I’m trying to maintain a semblance of a social life. I just renewed my dusty old gym membership so I can get all svelte and stunning in the hope that I don’t look like a sack of oranges for sale on the side of the freeway while wearing my wedding dress. And I’m trying to save some of my time for D, too. So he doesn’t feel like he’s getting hitched to the invisible woman. I gotta save some of my time for blogging, but at this point it’s cutting into the few hours I have left, hours that should be saved for sleep. But that doesn’t seem to matter anyways, because I just wind up spending a third of the allotted sleeping hours laying awake and thinking about all of this shit.

Deep breaths, girl. You’re starting to get carried away. That’s better.

To be fair though, I did waste an exorbitant amount of free time watching all of Parks and Recreation on Netflix because another part of the problem is that work is so draining right now that it’s difficult for me to do more than stare at the TV and drool when I get home. My brain is so overloaded, it might implode.

Even though I wasn’t able to post much last month, there were some bright spots to be had. I may seem a tad ranty and distraught now, but I did manage to find some fun and count a few blessings.

I got to catch up with my homies for a good, old-fashioned bust up at the local bar. We tried to go to two other bars first though, before we were finally let into The Rose and Crown. The first place we tried to go, we were rejected by the bouncer because “there’s too many jeans”. That is exactly how he put it.  Apparently, we’re all out of the sartorial loop. Screw that guy though, you’re supposed to wear jeans to the bar. He’s clearly an idiot on a power trip.

My drinking buddies

My drinking buddies

That’s not a very good picture of us, but this one of my buddy Clark bumping into the disco ball because he is ridiculously tall is pretty great.

disco ball

Disco Party Clark

I slipped and fell drunkenly in the street on the walk home, though. I ripped my new dress and messed up my foot something awful. Pulled some bullshit little ligament that I didn’t even know existed. But sometimes, you’ve just gotta get drunk and fall down. As long as you don’t go to sleep in the street, it’s all good.

Valentine’s Day was pretty great, too. I usually don’t care for it, but I think D recognized an opportunity for us to just forget everything for a couple of hours and spend some time together. He surprised me with roses when I got home from work, which never fails to impress me. Harvey was also impressed.

My other Valentine

My other Valentine

We had an incredible dinner at this Thai place in our neighbourhood. I felt special and loved. D is a marvel and I’m a lucky girl. Even though he just came in and interrupted my writing to tell me that we only have two packets of instant gravy and they are both mis-matched, one brown and one chicken, which for some reason sparked a bout of snippy bickering. But I digress.

I also ate the gooiest, most outrageously cheesy sandwich of all time. Another resounding pizza grilled-cheese success!

Another one for the history books.

Another one for the history books.

We’ve switched breads in our household. We’re now eating a kind called “Ancient Grains” instead of that bleached atrocity that I used to love, white as the driven snow Wonderbread. It wasn’t as cataclysmic a change as I had anticipated. The ancient grains bread is actually quite delicious.

My friend The Magpie had a baby. She’s away from work on her maternity leave, which sucks. But she’s living her dreams, so that totally outweighs any of the sucking. I can’t wait to meet her new little friend, although in a weird way, I feel like I already know her. I spent the bulk of The Magpie’s pregnancy calling her bump Scooter and encouraging her to stay in there a while longer.

So even though I haven’t had much time for blogging, I’m still out there trying to wedge awesome things into my hectic life wherever they will fit. No matter how insane it all feels at times, I haven’t been completely stripped of my positivity.

Everything does feel like such a disaster right now, yes. But these are all things that I wanted, I asked for this. Well, with the exception of the unstoppable flood of sobs that started yesterday and seem to have no end, obviously. But anyways… I guess I’m just going to have to find some balance. Is that why people do yoga? Seems like a lot of useless rolling around on the floor in spandex to me, but maybe I’m not looking at from the right angle.

All I know is that right now I have a whole bunch of feelings that I need to go and eat. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter, I’ll eat them. All feelings are ripe for the gobbling right now. So it’s a good thing I was able to spare 15 minutes of my time today for my good friend, Pillsbury.

Red velvet white chocolate chip cookies, I need you now more than ever.

Red velvet white chocolate chip cookies, I need you now more than ever.

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We Finally Went to That Place

So before I start this post, I just want to point out that I did a little housekeeping. I categorized all of my posts for an easier reading experience, you know, on the off-chance that someone new comes along and wants to read all of my cool shit. And I rearranged the sidebar a little, just for the hell of it. Nothing too drastic, it just makes me feel good to be organized, and I’ve been putting this off.

Anyways, onwards and upwards to more pressing matters. D and I made our big move to the city in May. We take the subway to work every day. Right beside the subway is this awesome looking restaurant called The Construction Site, and it specializes in grilled cheese sandwiches. We’ve walked by it hundreds of times, and we’ve talked about going there just about every weekend since we moved here. But for some reason whenever we’d go out to eat it just wouldn’t occur to us.

I had a really fucking delicious grilled cheese sandwich in the summer when The Magpie and I had lunch in Kensington Market one day. A crispy, cheesy, yummy sandwich on a sunny afternoon, that’s the ticket.

grilled cheese

That sandwich was amazing. Especially compared to the crap I’m expected to ingest at home. I don’t really know how it’s possible that I ate this amazing fucking sandwich in the summer and then went for months without trying the place right down the street from my apartment. Like, what the eff brain? How could you let this happen? Oh, it’s tummy’s fault? Hmm, well I’ll be having words with her too, rest assured. That bitch is gonna pay for this.

Many months went by since that incredible sandwich in the market happened to me. But finally on a cold and blustery day in January, it occurred to us. We should have totally awesome grilled cheeses this weekend. Yes, yes we should. We work hard, and we deserve a decent grilled cheese sandwich for a change dammit!

So we bundled up on Saturday afternoon and went for a little stroll to that grilled cheese place that always looked so awesome, but for some reason we never went in. We pushed the glass door open and walked into what has to be one of the cleanest restaurants I’ve ever seen. Spick-and-span. This little adventure was off to a great start already. The menu was enticing, with lots of options. But I’m a classic kind of girl. I dig simplicity, and there’s comfort in the familiar. So that’s what I ordered, The Classic. Aged cheddar on french white bread, it’s a guaranteed slam dunk. D followed suit on the sandwich, which was surprising because he usually loves to mix it up.

So we were just a couple of classics. Out for a classic Saturday afternoon stroll, stopping in for our classic sandwiches. It was a classic Smash and D day.

The dude behind the counter fired up our sandwiches with a smile, and our mouths watered. It would take a few minutes, as all masterpieces do. So we sat down to wait at an enormous table with double-wide chairs. I’m not a double-wide person per say, but I like to stretch out. I haven’t even eaten yet and I’m totally sold on this place. They have all the secrets to success cracked: clean restaurant, good service, assumed excellent food, and double-wide chairs. That’s how you do it!

Then the dude brought two square cardboard boxes and set them in front of us. Ah, the sandwiches had arrived. I’m so friggen excited just remembering this moment you guys, it was like opening a perfect little present. One that you’d picked out for yourself on behalf of a hapless significant other and forgotten about. We looked across the table at each other excitedly, anticipating greatness. We opened the lids.

yummy sandwiches

Daaaamn, that is one fine lookin’ sandwich. I almost didn’t want to eat it, it was too perfect.

Before putting the sandwich to the grill, the bread had been sprinkled with what I’m guessing was a parmesan cheese blend. It added to the crispness of the bread and the flavour of the sandwich immensely. My first bite, a lovingly long cruuuunch into the bread. An instant explosion of awesome on my taste buds. It’s a good thing I was sitting down, my legs surely would have given out otherwise. And I wasn’t even drunk when I was eating this thing, this is my totally sober recollection of it. Damn, that’s good sandwich!

The chips were incredible too. They were warm. What the eff? They warmed my chips? Holy shit this place is amazing! They warmed my freakin’ chips, that’s so rad! They were crunchy, kettle-cooked little slices of perfection, liberally seasoned with rosemary. What an absolute delight.

As we ate, we could hear another customer talking to the sandwich dude, asking questions about the food. He told her that everything they serve is organic. The bread, the cheese, the chips, the other meats and ingredients. Everything is organic. I’m not very particular about this when it comes to my food, but for those of you who are, then this is great news! These guys give a shit about the food they’re serving, and it shows. The taste is incomparable to any other grilled cheese I’ve ever had. That one in the market was hella good too, but these places are apples and oranges.

You must eat here. As soon as you possibly can. You will not regret it, I’d stake my whole reputation on this recommendation. Do it. Do it. DO IT!

I can’t believe it took us this long to eat here. We’re such idiots! All those wasted months of grilled cheese consumption. Oh, and now I’ve made it a goal to eat more meals at home like some chump. I guess I can make an exception for this place. For those Saturdays when I’m feeling classic.

Hot Hot Harp

It’s a long weekend this week, so lots of good things to take stock of, but there is one thing this week that hands down made my day most of all and has earned a spot in the blog.

I’m working with the Magpie again, which has been truly wonderful. She cites moving to Toronto as the best decision she’s ever made in her life, and since I’ve known her has been incredibly encouraging (if not blatantly overpowering) in her suggestion that I move here too. A most fruitful decision indeed.

Moving to Toronto has been so refreshing and rewarding! There’s always something to do, someplace to be, and  someone to catch up with. One of the best things about it has been getting out during my lunch hour and exploring. At my old job our office was located in an area dominated by other office buildings. There was absolutely nothing worthwhile within walking distance of the office. If you wanted to go get lunch you had to have a car, and sadly I do not. On occasion I would grab lunch out with the other girls, but it was always a scramble to get food and bring it back in time to scarf down quickly at your desk. You weren’t really allowed to take a leisurely lunch.

Now, I can stumble out the office door and there are hundreds of options at my fingertips! I literally cross the street and encounter tons of choices. It’s so wicked! Because I had conditioned myself to work through lunch and not find any enjoyment in it at my old job I had these lingering pangs of guilt about getting out during lunch hour at the new job. A few weeks have gone by and I’ve gotten more used to popping out the door and not feverishly watching each second tick by on my watch, stressing that I’ve got to get back to my desk and not selfishly pilfer company time.

Case in point, this week. Everything is still very new to me, so I get pumped up over the littlest thing. I think it’s been fun for the Magpie because my shiny, wide-eyed, virginal view of the city mirrors back everything about it that she fell in love with too. This week, she decided that we could afford to take our time and head to Kensington market for lunch. We hopped on the street car, sailed through Chinatown (loved it!) and then strolled the streets of the market.

So colourful and wonderful! Amazing treasures to be found! This place is an explorer’s dream come true to be sure.

We had lunch at a place called Grilled Cheese, as you may have guessed serving up delicious grilled cheese sandwiches. Picture it, fluffy texas toast crisped to perfection with a melty, gooey cheddar middle about an inch thick. Golden brown and laden with rippled chips and a crunchy dill pickle, we had found euphoria on the workday lunch hour. We sat outside on a picnic table in the sun chatting and laughing.

After lunch we walked back through the market, and there I beheld the most pleasant sight of all the day’s outing: the hot harpist.

It’s very common to walk the streets and see people playing guitar and singing their dirges for a buck or two from friendly passersby. It is not common to see a gorgeous specimen of a man plucking tenderly at a harp in the noonday sun. That is something remarkable. Naturally I started drooling, what is a girl to do?

The best part about it was as I was gawking and walking, the Magpie was laughing heartily, as is her way. When I asked her what was funny she said “oh that guy behind us was saying to his friends ‘Who knew that the harp was such a good way to get chicks!’ What a Beavis thing to say!”

We had been a bit too leisurely and hastened our pace to get back to the office, but when we got back not a single person seemed to notice or even care that we’d whiled away a solid hour and then some at the market. This was the most glorious moment of all this week: the wonder of exploring the market, feeling the noonday sun on our faces, and oogling the hunky harpist had finally helped me let go of my guilt over enjoying my lunch hour.

I’ve shed the last vestiges of conditioning from my old job. I’m no longer hindered by guilt about living my fucking life. Work can wait for me, I won’t be rushing my lunches anytime soon.