The Telltale Spring

There’s a familiar golden glow creeping through the curtains. No, actually. Not creeping. It’s been creeping the past few days, but today is different. It’s not glowing anymore. Today the sunlight is bursting through the  infinitesimal parting of the curtains. Proudly casting the full power of its rays upon the carpet.

I smile broadly into the pillow and stretch. Inhaling deeply, basking in the comfort of the crisp sheets. Dressing the bed in light breezy linens was the right thing to do. I feel validated.

Following the subtle leads and piecing together the slight clues of the universe, I was able to cement my case for the changing of the sheets.

Let’s review, shall we?

1) An insatiable desire to eat food on a bun

During the weekly grocery shop D grabbed a bag of buns and threw them into the cart without a second thought. “Let’s do stuff with these this week”, he suggested. Hmmm, maybe. That’s warm weather food though, I don’t think it’s time for that. I gave one of the buns a tentative squeeze with forefinger and thumb. Ooo, that’s good stuff. Fluffy. Fresh. It feels so right. I will do stuff with these buns. I’m going to get them home pronto and do terrible things with them. Terribly delicious things.

meatball subs

Meatball subs, drenched in marinara sauce and cheese.

Jumbo honey garlic sausage dogs.

Jumbo honey garlic sausage dogs.

The ambitious use of mustard is not to be overlooked. It’s a critical piece of evidence in itself. The stomach just wants what it wants. Foods shipped daily to tummy via bun.

2) The bike rack, in use!

A cold, shitty day in February while walking home from work. All of sudden, I’m face to face with what has to be the world’s longest bike rack. Enormous, and appearing out of nowhere, it caught me off guard. Seriously, it can fit like 20 bikes! No, actually, it can fit like 30. This rack can take a whole lot of bike. It was all D and I talked about over dinner that night. The mysterious new bike rack. Now a very major part of our lives. Who put it there? Why was it so big? Why couldn’t it wait until April to be installed? What was this urgent need for an extra-large bike rack in February, and why weren’t we aware of it? Then, we started betting on when we’d see the first bike. Surely it’ll go unused for months! We both wagered on dates in April. Logical, sensible dates in April.

The first recorded appearance of a bike on the new bike rack was Tuesday March 5th.

March Madness

March Madness.

The biker struck again on Friday March 8th.

A presumably happy customer.

A presumably happy customer.

Looking back now, I can’t believe how young and naive we were. Those were the days. The long forgotten days of weeks past, when a much younger Smash could not possibly fathom bikers in March.

Whoever you are, random biker, I commend you.

3) Sudden boom in street performance

D and I pass through Yonge-Dundas Square quite frequently on the weekends. To and from various activities and adventures. It’s very hectic. There’s always a lot going on there. It’s a very popular area for street performance and entertainment. However, winter can be quite discouraging to the performers. It’s cold, wet, and dark out. The people on the street are hurrying about, with very little desire to stop for an extended period of time. Seeking the warmth and comfort of the indoors, they speed through the square.

Friday night, D and I are strolling along Yonge. Hand-in-hand, we’re leisurely. It’s sort of warm out. It’s nice. As we approach the Yonge-Dundas Square, it starts to feel quite crowded on the sidewalk. Large clumps of people are gathering, watching something.

The closer we get, the more we can make out.

A man, covered from head to toe in golden makeup. A golden hat. A golden suit. A golden face. He’s a living breathing Oscar! His movements are robotic and strange. We can’t look away.

Eventually, we do pull ourselves away. Only to stumble upon another performer! A young dude, with a glass crystal ball. He’s moving it deftly from hand to hand. Rolling it across his fingers, gliding it up his arms and across his wrists. Every twist and turn of his limb a wonder. It’s as if he doesn’t have bones. So cool!

But we have to keep moving. We walk another couple of steps, and suddenly a catch in my throat. It is the most breathtakingly awesome sight I’ve ever beheld.

"You underestimate the power of the dark side"

“You underestimate the power of the dark side”

It’s freaking Darth Vader, holy shit, this is so awesome!

A new performer every couple of steps. The streets are crawling with them, and people are taking the time to enjoy it. Because it’s warm out. Because it’s Friday. And because you never turn your back on the dark lord.

4) Harvey hunts

My loveable little dude Harvey, suddenly has an abundance of visitors to stalk from afar. Big chubby city pigeons are stopping for a rest on our balcony. And Harvey has been very interested in monitoring their visits. Most likely to ensure that the pigeons don’t breach the indoor perimeter. He’s doing an excellent job protecting us from unwanted intruders.

He’s been listless lately. I’m happy that the pigeons are here. They keep him alert. He’ll go from blissed out napping to fighting fury in 5 seconds flat the instant he catches a glimpse of pigeon!

Based on these four facts, I made the decision to switch over my bed linens. I ditched the heavy-duty flannels for breezy cottons. The universe wants me to be ready. Spring is coming. And I have to be prepared to make it feel welcome.

It wants me to eat foods served on buns. It wants me to use the bike rack. It wants me to applaud the street performers. It wants me to clean the windows so Harvey can have the clearest possible pigeon viewing experience.

By logical assumption, it also wants me to change the sheets.

I’m ready for you Spring. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to speed your impending arrival.

Shine!

Shine!

Doggin’ It

Picture something delicious. I wonder if you see what I do?

Picture a childhood comfort food. Something simple, it’s hot off the grill. Something synonymous with summertime and baseball games. Something that can be topped in countless ways. Something guaranteed to please almost all finicky eaters. Got it? Do you see what I see?

Hot dogs, naturally. A classic summertime food. Anytime I have a hot dog I think about pool parties, backyard barbecues, birthday parties, baseball games, and hot sunny days. Hot dogs aren’t a complicated food. They don’t demand linen napkins, or fancy table settings. They just want to be held briefly and consumed happily. That’s all they ask of you.

They don’t get a lot attention or praise in the adult realm of eating. They may be a favourite food when young, but as we grow older, our tastes evolve. We try new things. We don’t spurn the items on our plate because they look funny, or simply because we’ve never heard of them before. We can look past old prejudices of food. We become bolder and more empowered in our choices. Things like hot dogs, chicken nuggets, spaghetti-o’s, and mac ‘n’ cheese tend to stay relegated to the children’s realm of eating. You may still eat them as an adult, but perhaps you are less likely to think of them in terms of a “dining experience”. It’s usually just quick, easy consumption.

Hot dogs are readily available in the city. You can find a street vendor at just about every turn. I enjoy the occasional street meat scarf, not gonna lie. It’s usually when I’m drunk, or just need to quickly fill up the tank while out and about. I think of them as quick, nostalgic sustenance. I don’t think of them as a treat per say, or an indulgence. They’re just there. Good old, predictable hot dogs.

But sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised by something you least expect…

The weather this weekend was spectacular! Both Saturday and Sunday were wondrously sunny and warm. It was an absolute delight to be outside. I didn’t want to waste what could possibly be the last perfect weekend of the fall season, so I made sure to spend as much of my time outdoors, soaking it all in. On Saturday I spent the afternoon and evening shopping on Queen street with my friend Rebecca. It seems a lot of other people had the same idea. The streets were rammed with other giddy shoppers, just enjoying the beautiful afternoon with their fair city. It was a great way to spend the day, catching up with a beloved friend while exploring the city.

On Sunday D and I knew we had to get out. I hadn’t seen him at all on Saturday, so a long walk through the city was the perfect way to spend the day. When our tummies started to rumble longingly for lunch, D suggested hot dogs. He said he had a place in mind, he’d passed by it on the streetcar before, and he was interested in checking out.

We walked a couple blocks further and found ourselves at Fancy Franks, a gourmet hot dog place.

whatever they’ve got inside just has to be good!

Alright, I had to give D credit, this wasn’t the cheapie street vendor dog I was expecting.

They had a really diverse menu. There were all kinds of wild and crazy hot dogs we’d never even heard of before. Certainly not your standard backyard fare.

D got the southern fancy, a hot dog loaded with pulled pork and cabbage slaw. Not what I was expecting him to choose at all:

Southern Fancy

He was quite satisfied with his choice. I on the other hand, could not resist the siren song of the corn dog:

take that, POGO!

It was so crispy! The incredibly crispy batter and delightfully juicy dog danced so divinely together in my mouth. After that first sumptuous bite, I knew I’d made the right choice. We’d died and gone to hot doggie heaven.

The dog doesn’t stand a chance.

As we sat there eating our dogs, the sun streamed through the windows onto our faces. I closed my eyes, and for the briefest of moments, I was transported back to summer and childhood. I thought about hot dogs, and how indicative of the suburban backyard gathering they are. How easy it was for parents to put hot dogs on the grill for their kids, and add  a few steaks for themselves.

Today was a perfect storm for reminiscing. A perfect storm comprised of gorgeous weather,  a little free time, and delicious summertime foods. Thoughts of summer, suburbia, and childhood foods blossomed with reckless abandon in my mind, and I sat there powerless, letting them.

Hot dogs. A boring summertime staple of suburbia? Or  a charmingly tasty and indulgent adventure?

Prior to today, I may have said the former. But Fancy Franks has changed everything now. Fancy Franks co-opted a convenient food from my past and transformed it into something else. Something indulgent and delicious. Something wistful and endearing. Something truly satisfying.

Can you picture it?