Harv Dreams of Bubbles

My sister and brother-in-law just adopted two kittens. Super cute, great personalities. We went to see them a few weeks ago and as we were playing with them, my sister commented that one cat seems to be more of a “mouser” and the other a “birder” while describing their styles of play.

I hadn’t really thought about Harv in either of those terms before. And as it turns out, he’s neither. He’s a bubbler!

I was about to start washing some dishes the other night and so I squirted some dish soap into the sink. As I did so, several tiny bubbles floated out of the nozzle, immediately catching Harv’s attention. He went nuts!

After he popped all of the bubbles he sat there looking at me expectantly, wanting more. I obliged. He went nuts again. Meowing crazily, tracking the bubbles across the kitchen as they floated perilously close to his swatting range. I was amazed. I kept making bubbles for him to chase and he loved it.

Then D came along and told me I was wasting dish soap, so I stopped and finally got started on the dishes. But Harv didn’t want to stop. He kept meowing and brushing up against my leg all cute, trying to get some bubble action going again. I decided that this was a hobby worth pursuing for him so the next day I went to the store and bought actual bubbles. With the little plastic wand and everything. I thought he might enjoy the challenge of larger bubbles.

It was tremendously fun!

bubbling

moar bubbles

Especially after I started blowing them in front of a fan and letting them really whip around the apartment. That made him insane!

on the nose

preying

Harv loves tracking the bubbles and then getting as close to them as he possibly can before they burst. Classic bubbler, that cat of mine.

It’s like crack for him, he wants to chase bubbles every night now. He’s hooked. Just look at his face when I got the bubble bottle out:

IMG_6210

Look at it:

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 8.16.56 PM

LOOK AT IT FOR ALL ETERNITY:

bubble obsessed

That photo is just dying to be made into a meme. Even the strongest of all catnip couldn’t compete with bubbles for this cat’s attention. It’s all bubbles all the time around here now. And I’m an enabler.

Tales of Philly: Day 1, The Road to Philly

I wanted to write while we were in Philly last weekend, but our window of time to spend there was so small, I just couldn’t bear to waste a minute of it. But before we left I promised you stories from the road, and I always keep my promises, most of the time. Onwards!

It’s a long drive to Philadelphia from Toronto. Not sure if you knew that or not, but it’s a key detail in the story of Day 1. I’m not really sure we knew what a long drive it was going to be either, until it actually started happening. In my mind road trips are all zany adventures, like in the movies. You know, like how Harry and Lloyd drive in the wrong direction for five hours or wind up losing their ride and have to get to Aspen on their wits, or lack thereof, and a stolen briefcase full of cash. It wasn’t like that at all, not even a little bit.

We had our route meticulously mapped and used D’s GPS to keep us on track. Our only real foible of the road happened when the interstate directions got a little complicated near Scranton and the GPS robot’s volume was too low to be heard over Stevie Wonder. And stupidly could not be adjusted while in use. I mean, how stupid is that? So totally stupid. We had to pull over and park in the lot of a Radisson Hotel to disconnect it so we could raise the volume. Then we spent the rest of the trip in suspicion, distrusting everything our robot navigator said the whole rest of the way. Every time she did speak from there on out, I’d give her the old hairy eyeball and tell her she better not make us lose any more time.

Time was a precious commodity. Even though we knew we were strapped in for a long haul, we were obsessed with trying to make up time. Once in a while the distance estimate on the GPS would slip down a minute or two and we’d somehow feel like we’d just beaten the devil himself at his own wily game.

The first leg of the drive was the most fun. We were full of pep and ready to take on the world. We crossed through the border at Fort Eerie and the drive was quite scenic. Lots of farms. Huge twirling wind turbines for miles and miles and miles.

new york

more new york

I mentioned that I made a bunch of mixed CD’s for the trip, yeah? Funny story about that, the first mix I made, aptly titled Road Trip to Philly: Vol. 1 turned out to be something of an epic break-up mix. Featuring such memorable hits as “Song for the Dumped”, “Divorce Song”, “Don’t Speak”, “Let Me Go”, and “All You Ever Do is Bring Me Down”, it didn’t exactly set the ideal tone for the next 9 hours in the car… whoops! My bad. But it was a good thing I packed us an absolute shit-load of candy to take the edge off. And it was also good that my next mix on deck was Road Trip to Philly: Vol. 2 Funky Disco Hits. That helped turn our beat around.

dino-sours

Thank you Jesus for this bounty of Dino-sours.

We left hella early too, like 7:30am because we wanted to avoid rush hour traffic while leaving Toronto. We didn’t really use good road trip math though, avoiding Toronto rush hour no problem, but completely ignoring the fact that based on our timing, we’d be getting into Philly during rush hour. Whoops! Another bad, but not entirely all mine. We started closing in on Philly around 4:30pm and that bitch GPS robot estimated we’d be at our hotel by 4:52pm. Unfortunately for us though, she doesn’t take into consideration traffic, so the next hour and half was pure torture. Creeping and crawling our way into the city. Sore and aching from being in the car all day. Hungry and dreaming of endless cheese steaks while our bellies rumbled away, no hope of being sated any time soon. If ever…

It sure was a beautiful day to be cooped up inside the car though. And my view from the passenger side was quite interesting at times.

Philly!

highways

When we finally did manage to squeeze ourselves into the city, the downtown core was clogged up so bad. We moved like molasses the whole way to our hotel. It totally sapped my will to live. We were there, man! But we just couldn’t enjoy it yet. Had to get to the hotel and get our car parked. When I finally did get out of the car I was back to feeling excited again. This city is happening! And our hotel was so frigging beautiful. I splurged and booked us at some hoity-toity joint, The Latham. I figured ten hours in the car merited a luxurious as hell hotel stay.

We had a big comfy baller bed!

big baller bed

Which I managed to get a few of my classic Smash pounces on.

jumpin on the bed in philly

Once I’d gotten that out of my system, we left the hotel in search of food. We were starving! Didn’t walk too far until we found something that looked promising, an Irish pub called The Black Sheep. And we had the best fucking meals ever. I don’t know if it’s because we were really legit starving or just because it actually was the best damn food ever, but holy shit dudes. I’m drooling right now as I relive it. D got himself a big juicy cheeseburger and I had the most incredible fish ‘n’ chips I’ve ever had in my life.

philly cheeseburger

philly fish n chips

Seriously. I’ve eaten a fuckload of fish ‘n’ chips in my time, and this was hands down the best of the best fish ‘n’ chips I’ve ever had. Skyrocketed to number 1 on my list. The piece of fish they served me was so thick and flaky, it just slipped right onto my fork and into my mouth. The batter had this incredible seasoning that I still dream about. It was just… so goddamn good.

We went for a walk after dinner, strolling through Market Square. It’s so gorgeous. I love Toronto with all my heart, believe me, it’s the love of my life as far as cities go. I’ll be forever smitten with its charms. So Toronto, love of my life, I don’t mean you any harm when I say this, but Philly… oh beautiful Philly, what a stunner you are! And we weren’t even in historic downtown yet either.

city hall

d in city hall

City Hall, it was quite remarkable. It’s how a city hall should be. Grand, impressive, awe-inspiring. What a perfect, sparkling gem. Philadelphia’s city hall demands absolute respect and admiration, it deserves no less than that.

We were tickled pink when we realized that the park preceding it is called Dilworth Park. That’s my BFF J-Dillah’s name. Joce-Force, you see this? They have a park in Philly that wears your name! And it’s so pretty, just like you.

Dilworth Park

An evening stroll through Market Square and City Hall, it was a wonderful introduction to the city of brotherly love. All the strain and exhaustion of the car ride just melted away.

LOVE

We made it. Philly wasn’t just some half-baked pipe dream anymore. It was real, we really did this. And we couldn’t wait to see what else this incredible city had in store.

But that’s another story, to be told in due time.

Moar Snorkelling!

When we were in Hawaii a few years back, we frigging loved snorkelling. It was so much fun and we had no idea we were going to see so many cool fish. We debated a few different adventures for ourselves on this trip, but ultimately we decided that we wanted to go snorkelling again. It just didn’t seem as much of a value to spend our money on fifteen minutes of parasailing when we could spend the whole morning in the ocean doing something we knew we would enjoy.

We booked the excursion through the hotel and got picked up by the shuttle bright and early at 8:00am. The shuttle drove us out to Bahia Petempich National Park and we were in luck with the weather. It’s been kind of overcast and a little bit rainy the past few days, but today was sunny and clear. The perfect day for a snorkel adventure!

ready to snorkel

This time around it was a little bit different from in Hawaii. We had to take a boat out to the reef instead of just being able to walk right into the water. We were pretty jazzed about snorkelling in deeper waters, being right out in the middle of the sea added a thrill. I was a little nervous too, but that’s all part of the fun.

One thing we didn’t realize was that we’d all have to stick together in one big, uncoordinated group the whole time… A bunch of dicks kept bashing into me and splashing their stupid flippers in my face. It was kind of awkward trying to pay attention to where the group leader was swimming and enjoy what was going on beneath us at the same time.

But we did see quite a few fish!

fishy

fin kiss

reef n fish

There was a stingray nearby, but by the time we got sort of close it swam away. One guy also said that he saw a barracuda, but I have my doubts about that claim. We didn’t see as many diverse types of fish as we did in Hawaii, but there were quite a lot of the fish we did see and they were super active.

Time flies when you’re snorkelling. It just super crazy whips right by. Before we knew it, our time was up and we had to make our way back to shore. When we got back they had beers waiting for us! Ice cold and ready to chug as soon as we hopped off the boat. That was a nice touch.

I also saw some cats chilling by our picnic tables! They were so cute. One of them thought my camera was a tasty little snack that I was going to feed it.

cats of mexico

I can cross another of many important milestones off my bucket list now, I puked in Mexico! I think I swallowed a tad more salt water than the last go around snorkelling, and felt overwhelmed by nausea on our shuttle ride back to the hotel. We had to ask the driver to stop so I could barf all over the side of the road. It was a smart call that I only had a banana for breakfast that morning. My pal Joce always told me that the most perfect food to eat when you’re hung over is a banana because it still tastes good when you’re ralphing it back up. And she was right! So I barfed three times on the side of the road and was able to hold myself together until we got back to the hotel.

It’s a bit of an apples and oranges scenario trying to compare both of our snorkelling experiences. But I think overall, I preferred Hawaii better. I liked not being stuck in a group, feeling like I’m being babysat the whole time. Having the freedom to come and go from the water as you please is a pretty big plus. And having the freedom to snorkel throughout the reef wherever you want is nice too. Although we did enjoy the beers and loved the thrill of being out in the middle of the sea, Hawaii wins this round.

We got home, showered all the sand out of our cracks and had a really superb afternoon nap. All in all, I’d say it was a fun way to spend the day.

Everything I Want

I know what I want and I don’t fuck around when it comes to decision-making. And I’m stating that as simply and sweetly as I possibly can. I’ve never been one of those waffling and indecisive individuals, I’m too impatient for that. I just follow my heart and the decisions come easy. Some people have a hard time following their heart, which makes sense if your heart is a total wiener. But mine isn’t. My heart is open and passionate and fierce. It never lies, its chambers pump honesty through my arteries and into my veins all day long. It’s easy to follow and it never disappoints.

There are an absurd number of decisions to be made when you’re planning a wedding. It can be exhausting, sure. But if you’ve got a bold heart to follow, like I do, then it’s pretty fucking easy. You just have to endure, that’s the trick. Drown out all of the unnecessary babble around you and endure. And don’t put too much weight on the little things, save your energy for more trying decisions.

It took me a long time to wrap my head around the planning of my wedding. I always knew exactly what I wanted, deep in my heart, I just didn’t want to tackle all of those decisions immediately. But when I was finally ready to commence planning, the decisions starting coming fast and easy. Venue, food, colour scheme, music, guests, it all just starts falling perfectly into place.

Stepping back, and looking over the work we’ve done so far, I can safely say that I’m kicking the fucking shit out of wedding planning, you guys. Like, seriously. Kicking the fucking shit out of it.

We’ve got an amazing venue:

Cardinal Golf Course

Our gorgeous golf course venue is going to look stunning all covered in snow

 

A delicious menu picked out:

4 oz. chicken breast and 4 oz. tenderloin

The meat: 4 oz. chicken breast and 4 oz. tenderloin. That’s right, each guest gets both!

roasted red pepper mash and steamed asparagus bundles

The veggies: roasted red pepper mash and steamed asparagus bundles

The dessert: banana chocolate chip cheesecake

The dessert: banana chocolate chip cheesecake

Exciting Do-It-Yourself invitations:

yep, we're gunna print them ourselves!

yep, we’re gunna print them ourselves!

The perfect pair of shoes to carry me down the aisle:

Sparkly golden disco shoes, fuck yeah

Sparkly golden disco shoes, fuck yeah

Our territorial, er I mean ceremonial, rings:

Our wedding bands

Wedding bands

And another majorly huge decision was made this weekend. Probably the biggest decision of the whole entire wedding.

The dress.

Wanting to be different, I originally intended to buy something online. Buying online meant that I wouldn’t have had to order it so far in advance, and I could carry on living my life without stressing too much about my figure. But if you go through a bridal shop, ordering eight months out from the date can potentially be cutting it too close. I was still feeling like I had tons of time, that the wedding was still a good stretch away, like in the distant future. So I had a little bit of a panic attack when I realized that eight months is kind of the unofficial cutoff for choosing the dress. If I left that all-important wedding dress decision unmade for too much longer, then it would be too late for me to backtrack and order something from an actual bridal shop. If the online search went tits up, then I’d be royally fucked.

So I texted my maid of honour, Joce-force, in a bit of a panic. She encouraged me to book some appointments and said that we’d ditch our boyfriends for the day to go shopping until we found something awesome. And we did. We did it, you guys. We got up early on Saturday morning, did a little bit of light day drinking while en route to bridal shops across the city, and we found the perfect fucking dress. I’m so excited about it.

And I’m so happy that Joce was there to help, I needed her. She doesn’t pull her punches, especially not with the pushy sales people and designers. I’m decisive yes, but I’m shy about telling people who I don’t know that I think something is shit. I only had to look at Joce and she knew what I was thinking. She’d tell people when I thought a dress was crap with no qualms whatsoever. Joce kept a steady stream of secret purse drinks flowing, she made inappropriate and hilarious jokes all day to keep us laughing, and she even haggled with snooty salespeople for me.

We knew we had the perfect dress when a dreamy, disbelieving look stole across my face as I looked at myself in the mirror. A happy, heart’s desires fulfilled kind of look.

It only took one day to find my wedding dress. Because I know what I want, and I don’t fuck around. And because I have an awesome friend who can turn even the most daunting of tasks into hilarious adventures.

Sexy tigres forever!

Sexy t-rex hands never fail.

Another decision masterfully conquered, and many more still to come. I’ll just keep following my heart and it’ll make sure that I get everything I want. It always does.

Holiday Review

Well, there’s another Christmas come and gone. And a new year will dawn in a couple of days. I hope you kissed someone special under the mistletoe, ate entirely too much, and maybe even made an ass of yourself at a large family gathering. That’s what the holidays are there for, after all.

My holidays were fun, even though they veered off course a time or two.

The holidays started with the launching of a new tradition. My sister arranged a “Cousin’s Cocktail Christmas Party” and it was a great success. We got together with our cousins and their spouses/partners for some drinks, snacks, and general merriment. We then went to a comedy club to yuk it up. It was fun. Some of my best memories of Christmases past are of playing with my cousins. Our parents would get us all done up in fancy little outfits and try to impress upon us the importance of “behaving ourselves” at the dinner.

cousins at christmas

And obviously we’ve all grown up a whole lot since those days, but one thing that hasn’t changed is how much fun I still have with my cousins.

cousins christmas

Overnight we were harassed by an ice storm of disastrous proportions. We woke up to a world that had been completely consumed by ice.

ice storm

ice storm 2

ice storm 3

The storm took down countless trees and power lines. Over 250,000 homes in the city were without power for anywhere from 24 hours to a week. My cousin Ryan slept over at my sister’s place after the Christmas party, and awoke the next morning to find a tree had fallen onto his girlfriend’s car.

tree on car

The storm wreaked absolute havoc on the city, and I was glad to head north and out of the icy mess for a few days. But the fun just didn’t stop coming. On Christmas Eve I got sick. Really sick. Feverish, coughing, totally congested. I felt like a bag of assholes. My dad cooked up a feast and I barely even nibbled at it. My appetite was nowhere to be found. We then went to my mom’s for drinks and board games, which I normally really enjoy. But instead of having a bunch of Christmas fun with my family, I sat on the sidelines bundled in blankets, sweating buckets while a perpetual coughing fit racked my body. I was one pathetic sight.

On Christmas day, I was supposed to accompany D to his family get together. But I felt so goddamned shitty I couldn’t even get up off the couch without draining the last vestiges of my strength completely. I had to choose my battles wisely. D went on without me, and I stayed home. I laid on the couch and watched the entire 6 hours of The Stand miniseries on DVD. I had just finished the book, and my mom had the DVDs of the miniseries, so she let me borrow them. And they came in handy, that’s for damn sure.

The following day I felt well enough to go to lunch with D and his dad. At least I could be a part of some of his family celebrations, for his sake. But we didn’t do a lick of Boxing Day shopping. I usually love getting out there with all the other crazies, ripping shirts off of shelves like a maniac and bitching about getting cut off in the parking lot by some asshole who isn’t even looking. Jesus, he isn’t even looking! What is he, BLIND OR SOMETHING?

But even though I wasn’t in peak physical condition for enjoying the food, the shopping, or the gatherings, I was still plenty good at enjoying presents. And you know Smash loves presents. Just a recap for anyone who may not be familiar with this facet of my personality: I FUCKING LOVE OPENING PRESENTS. I can’t stand unopened presents. They make me insane. My fingers positively itch with the desire to rip and tear if they get within five feet of something that’s been wrapped up. It’s a compulsion.

I opened a lot of great gifts this year.

presents

Some of the gift highlights:

Star Wars Salt n Pepper Shakers!

star wars salt and pepper

Enormous Batman Mug!

batman mug

New Hobo Mittens!

mittens

Bitchin’ New Watch!

watch

A Big Bottle of Booze!

booze

His and Hers Robot Pillowcases! (My friend The Magpie embroidered these for me and they are absolutely stunning, I fucking love them to bits.)

pillowcases

And A Shitload of Chocolate!

chocolate

And I got tons of other great stuff too. I’m lucky. I have a lots of people in my life who love me and want to give me things that I love for christmas. Things that make me squeal with delight like a little kid. I’m probably the easiest person on the planet to buy gifts for. I’m easily pleased and I’m not picky. If I can have a thrilling time shredding a gift of its wrapping, I’m set. And as much as I love tearing into a pile of presents, I love giving great presents too. I know that everything I picked out for my loved ones this year was well received and will be cherished forevermore.

Even though the weather was truly frightful and my immune system totally flaked out on me, I managed to find some enjoyment in the holidays this year. Got some fantastic gifts, started a fabulous new tradition, and I took some time to plan my next big moves for the upcoming year. I’m really looking forward to the new year. I’ve got big plans brewing for 2014. It’s going to be my year. I’ve got a list of goals a mile long and I am going to be dogged in my pursuit of every single one.

Peace out 2013, it’s been a slice.

Bound for the Sound

Finally.

We’ve been saying this for so long. For years, even. We’ve exclaimed it with unfettered excitement, we’ve shouted it with glee. We’ve clinked our glasses and chugged our tallboys after many a heartfelt expression of it. That wonderful little rhyming phrase that carries so much promise, Bound for the Sound!

It feels like we’ve been saying it every time that we’ve gotten together with our chums Shan-Wow and Hoben since they moved to Owen Sound a couple of years ago. Every time. We talk about how drunk we’ll get. We talk about the laughs we’ll have. We delight at the thought of the memories we’ll make, the shenanigans that will ensue. Bound for the Sound is all about going nuts, enjoying a classically debauched night much like those of our misspent youth. It’s all about recapturing that young and dumb magic. But we’ve never made good on it. Not once, not ever. Until now.

Hoben is one of my best drinking buddies from long ago. He coined my colourful nickname. He started the proud tradition of deckers. He introduced me to D and forever changed my life. He’s good people. And Shan-Wow is his equally awesome lady-love. She’s hilarious and amazing and you can’t not love her to bits. Hell, she’s a founding member of the Top-Secret-Euchre-Club and a Dumb & Dumber Enthusiast. So you can trust me when I tell you that these two know how to party.

shanny and hobs

Owen Sound is a good long boot northwest of Toronto, a two and a half hour drive on a “making great time” kinda run. So D and I had to rent a car to drive our asses up there. We splurged and signed up for the “Intermediate” level car, which is usually something nice and hefty, with lots of trunk space in case we need to transport a body on sudden notice. Which happens to us more than you’d think… What we wound up with was a mint 2014 Dodge Charger with only 60km on it. It was black and shiny, it looked like the fucking Batmobile for Christsakes. D was excited about it until he realized it was front-wheel drive. That made for some interesting moments tearing through the snowstorm that was pounding down on the city just as we got going.

It was a long drive, getting there. Our nice spacious 4-lane highways quickly petered out into 1-lane rural roads. We saw a spectacular amount of farms, barns, crumbled barns, horses, cows, and snow-covered hay bales whizz by our windows. And wind turbines too. There’s a shit-ton of those all over the place. It was pretty cool, actually. It felt like we were driving through some secret alien place. An abduction zone, or something like that.

wind turbines

We also drove through a town called Flesherton. I shit you not, reader. If I ever find out that there isn’t a spooky group of ritualistic killing machines who feast on human flesh living in that town then I am going to be majorly disappointed. It would be such a waste of that town name not to have a few resident cannibals at least. We drove through Flesherton super fast and with intensity so it felt like we were escaping it. It was great fun!

Also great fun was stopping at the Six ‘n’ Ten Minimart for our booze. Look at that fucking place. It’s incredible!

six n ten

Booze sales in Ontario are government regulated, so you can’t just buy it anywhere. It typically has to be from an L.C.B.O. store (which stands for Liquor Control Board of Ontario) or at a store that is aptly named The Beer Store. But there are exceptions. There are Agency stores in small towns like Owen Sound that are able to sell liquor. Which, to us, seemed kind of like an urban legend because we’ve never actually seen any before. It was an exciting novelty.

We got stuck behind some over-cautious and tediously slow geezers, and then a snow-plow for a while too. I thought D was going to road rage us right into a ditch with all of his impatience. But we made it eventually, taking about an hour longer than expected. And when we finally did get there, it was time to fuckin’ draaaaannk.

Hobs and Shan had tickets to the OHL game that night, and not to keep sounding so ridiculously Canadian here, but that stands for Ontario Hockey League and is a Junior hockey league for kids ages 15-20. Lots of the kids in the league aspire to NHL greatness, so they always play their asses off. Small-town hockey and cheap drinks on a Saturday night. Man alive, my inner hoser was busting at the seams.

me n cubby

We mixed up a bunch of rye ‘n’ gingers in some ginger-ale bottles for stealthy drinking out in the parking lot during intermissions, and pounded beers during the game when we were inside the stadium. We got right fuckin’ tuned.

IMG_2457

me n shanny

the group

Pretty much everyone in town comes to the Saturday night games. It’s a small ass town and there ain’t that much to do, so it makes for some good times. We hung back a bit after the game was over to let the overcrowded parking lot clear out. We’d gotten there about 10 minutes after the puck drop, so we parked at the end of a very long row of cars. By the time we left the game and came out into the parking lot, our park job wound up being incredibly inconvenient for everybody else trying to leave the rink. It was hilarious.

our car

Yep, that’s our ride. It’s doing a damn fine job making all those other cars go around it to get out. This is not the Charger by the way. Shannon drove her car because the Charger would have been absolutely worthless in an unplowed lot like this with its fucking crazy front-wheel drive. We polished off a few more drinks in the car, then left it there for the night. It could be picked up in the cold, sober light of dawn. We walked to a bar to continue the fun. D had a little bit too much fun at the game though, and wound up spending most of his time at the bar puking it up in the bathroom. But I guess that’s bound to happen when you skip over dinner in favour of rye.

I fared much better because I enjoyed a bunch of delicious arena snacks with my drinks. It was the smart play.

my snacks

I was going to share my pretzel with D, so it could help soak up some of the booze rolling around in his belly, but he fucked off and I couldn’t find him. I waited so long that the pretzel got cold, and as a result, really goddamned hard. A would-be-delicious treat turned inedible by the passage of time. But the popcorn was still quite tasty, as arena popcorn tends to be. Turns out D was standing around chirping some local dudes in their mid-40’s because they were drinking Bacardi Breezers. Time well spent, indeed.

We had to leave pretty early the next morning to make sure we’d get the rental car returned on time. Hungover and exhausted from a night of raucous drinking, we were daunted by another long trip in the car. But with mile-wide Canadian grins spread across our glowing hearts we did alright. We saw thee rise. We made good time and we enjoyed the quiet ride home.

It was a great fucking weekend. Once in a while I need to go all hoser berserker on life. It just feels good. Based on the smashing success of our inaugural journey, I can safely say that we will return. We will be Bound for the Sound yet again.

First Snow

You know it’s coming, it’s inevitable. You just don’t know when.

Some people will keep a wary eye on the weather reports year round, because you never know, right? Others only start to concern themselves with the possibility of it when the wick in the jack-o-lantern has finally been extinguished. Some people dread it, they were counting on a green Christmas this year. Some people hope for it with childlike desperation, they just can’t wait to hit the slopes. We know it’s coming when our girl Mother Nature starts dropping her coy little hints everywhere. Frost dusting the front lawn and creeping across windshields in the morning, warm coffee breath magically appearing before you as you huff your way towards the office, the rain puddles of last week turned slick and icy, a freezing cold surprise on your bum when you get up to pee in the middle of the night…

We steel ourselves for its imminent arrival. We test out the old space heater to make sure it still works. We gather up extra cozy thermal throws to snuggle on the couch with. We stock up on salt, shovels, anti-freeze, car scrapers and lock de-icers. We have to be vigilant. Especially here in Canada. The start of winter is unpredictable at best. But once that first snowfall takes, we can count on a solid four to six months of unrelenting cold and darkness.

I myself, prefer to be surprised by the first snowfall. I don’t try to anticipate it, that would spoil all the fun. There are so few surprises I will tolerate in life, but the first snowfall is one of them. And there are a myriad of ways that it can surprise you.

From the classic waking up on a cold morning and peeling back the curtains to reveal a generous three-foot-deep heaping of it, to the sneak attack flurries coating your car that you encounter upon your departure from the mall, possibly laden with spoils from your early Christmas shopping adventure. I love it when that first snowfall catches me off guard.

D and I went to a movie on Saturday afternoon. It looked a little chilly out, but otherwise calm. We wore our heavy winter jackets nonetheless, just in case. We made our way to the subway station, ducking our faces from the biting cold wind that whipped about our uncovered heads. “Fuck, it’s cold out there,” D exclaimed as we hustled down the stairs to the platform. His ears and cheeks were bright rosy red. “Yeah, but at least it’s not snowing yet,” I replied.

Seven stops later, we emerged from the subway and found ourselves smack in the middle of a swirling and splendid first snowfall. Surprise, motherfuckers!

Fat wet flakes floated all around us, settling on our coats and in our hair. I imagined we were trapped in a snow globe and laughed joyously as we dashed across the street to the theatre. A brilliant surprise first snowfall.

first snow yonge and dundas

first snow

The flakes were enormous and sticky. As we settled into our seats we wondered what kind of scene we’d be greeted with in two hours time when the movie was over. Maybe we’d be snowed in! Then we’d have to live off of popcorn and fountain sodas for the next couple of days while we anxiously awaited a ragtag group of unlikely heroes to dig us out. Maybe the power would go out and we’d be given some rain check vouchers and a bunch of awesome free shit to pacify us because they couldn’t finish screening the movie. Or better yet, maybe there would be so much snow that cars would be left buried and abandoned. Yeah, and there’d be a full blown riot in action. We could loot ourselves a sweet new snowmobile and scoot our way home through the hysterical masses. Oh yeah, I’d totally be up for a bit of light looting to cap off our date.

But, as it so often is with all of my daydreams, such was not the case.

That first snowfall was fickle. When we left the theatre we were met with sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows; everything that’s wonderful.

sunny snowy day

sunny snowy day 2

Well, not exactly that. But that would have been cool too, dammit. Another daydream dashed by stupid reality. But it was a lot nicer out than I was expecting. Although it wasn’t as extensive a first snowfall as I’d have liked, it did leave in its wake a beautiful view of the city. One that I can admire from the warmth of my apartment.

view of snow from above

IMG_2371

Surprised and delighted by the first snow of the year, I can’t wait for more. There are plenty of opportunities for my zany winter fantasies to come true this year. I believe in the magic of winter, and think that the first snowfall is a hopeful time. A time for wishes and dreams aplenty. A time for thinking about the future, and planning ahead. It’s a time for thoughtfulness and reflection. It can be a difficult and frustrating time, too. The cold, the rapidly shortening hours of daylight, the impossible driving conditions, the constant barrage of snow. It can feel eternal at times. But it is easily endured by those that choose to embrace it, rather than fight it. They don’t call it The Great White North for nothing, my friends. You can learn to love it, or move.

I’ll survive the frigid winter weather with my fingers firmly crossed inside my woolly mittens, hoping. Wishing on snowflakes, and dreaming on every visible puff of breath that escapes my lips. Because that’s how I like to be.

Always hoping, eternally hopeful.

More Adventures in Pizza

If you’ve been here for a while now then you know about my insatiable hunkering for pizza. I just love it so fucking much.

And I will also mention that since that post about my Top 5 Pizzaiolo slices, I have gotten free pizza there twice. TWICE! Once because the delivery boy recognized me (not for blogging, just for excessive pizza eating) and said that I could be the “Customer of the Day” therefore, my slice was free. I don’t even know if they have a customer of the day program. I suspect maybe he was just liking what he saw. I did actually wash my hair that day, so it’s plausible. One time I got a bunch of extra pickles for free at Harvey’s because the dork behind the counter was digging my sweet Star Wars t-shirt. Well, and maybe the rack underneath it too. But whatever, free pickles right? The other time I got a free slice from ‘aiolo was just last week when the manager was trying out some new cheeses on the pizza and asked if I wanted to try it out. Heck yeah I do. I’ll never say no to pizza, especially not when it’s free. So, that little piece of artistry has paid out handsomely in pizza karma.

free pizza

FREE PIZZA!

D and I used to buy shitty frozen pizzas from the grocery store all the time. Mostly when we lived in the ‘burbs and mostly so that there was pizza on-hand for when I got drunk late at night and all the pizza shops were closed. Doing that probably saved us a couple of break-ups. But with great pizza right around the corner, we don’t have to worry about that anymore. We haven’t had to resort to shitty frozen pizzas in a long time, and our life together is all the better for it. That also makes the little pizza monster that lives in my belly pretty goddamn happy. Now whenever we want to make pizza at home we just buy the dough and do it ourselves. It can be an ambitious undertaking, but it’s usually always worth it.

DIY Pizza

DIY Pizza

Homemade pizza is always that much more satisfying because you did it yourself. We went to a most delicious homemade pizza party at my cousin’s place a couple of weeks ago. It was more of a gourmet pizza experience. We used chorizo instead of pepperoni and I actually put some frigging vegetables on my pizza for a change. Something I’m normally opposed to, but I thought in the interest of acting a mature adult for a change I’d give it a try. I’m delighted to report that I’m hooked on sun-dried tomatoes now. I didn’t take any pictures though, because I didn’t want to seem weird or impolite. What’s the photo/food etiquette these days anyway? As long as it’s not “see-food” it’s okay? I’m not sure on this. Plus, I was enjoying the food too much to stop and take pictures of it. But trust me when I say that it was some of the best I’ve had in a long time. Crunchy, thin crust. Oo baby, that’s the stuff.

Frig, I just love it so much! Sometimes I try to make other things be pizza too. Like those delicious pizza grilled cheese sandwiches that I learned how to make because of my nana. Or like my latest and greatest pizza concoction: pizza bagels. And not those runty little bullshits that you buy in the freezer section at the grocery store, un uh.

I’m talking delicious honey ‘n’ oat bagels toasted an immaculate golden brown. With a generous slathering of garlic butter and assorted pizza toppings for the sake of the taste buds.

Oh bagel, you came and you saved me

Oh bagel, you came and you saved me

And these are great because you can do as many as you want, however you want them. Which is perfect for me and D because we never want the same toppings, as evidenced by the green pepper/mushroom segregation above.

Mushrooms lurking under all that cheese!

Mushrooms lurking under all that cheese!

The pizza bagels were a smashing success. We’ll probably stick with them for a while before I move on to discover bold new pizza frontiers. Maybe it’ll be pizza croissantwiches. Or pizza baguette. Mmmm, pizza waffles! Yeah, there’s potential there…

I suppose that’s all the recent pizza news I have for you today. I have to go change my shirt now as an unsightly drool stain is forming. Until next time my demented darlings.

Smash’s Fall Favourites

The air is crisp and cool in the morning, livening up throughout the day, bringing mild and refreshing afternoons. Should you wear a big fluffy sweater or a lighter shirt/jacket combo? Heavy duty boots or happy-go-lucky sneakers? What about sunglasses? You’ll probably need them for that precious two-minute window between the sun waking up and the final steps taken towards your office building where you’ll spend the next 8 hours languishing under the ghastly fluorescent lighting. But then those shades will be irrelevant by quitting time when you slink home in the dark like some kind of mole-person.

Sometimes you’ll dress too heavily and wind up sweating like a goddamned animal in the afternoon as you trudge home. Sometimes you won’t dress heavily enough and will catch yourself a nice bout of walking pneumonia because you didn’t fully dry your hair before rushing out of the house in the morning. Sometimes it’s perfectly sunny and charming. Others, it pours cold bullshit like a motherfucker. You never know what kind of weather you’re going to get from the God of Fall, but you roll with it like a champ. It’s oddly invigorating, and you like being kept on your toes.

Oh, Fall, you adorable little trickster, you! I may not be able to count on you for the most reliable weather, but I can still count on you for a bunch of awesome shit every year nonetheless. Stuff so awesome that it makes handling your bi-polarishly insane weather ups and downs well worth it. For instance…

1) Delicious Holiday Foods

Fall signals to us the readiness of apple orchards, pumpkin patches, and major corporations to churn out fucking delicious seasonal foods. Hearty pies, spiced up lattes, caramel drizzled confections, fun-sized chocolatey treats, and turkeys big enough for a ride in the car sans booster seat. Fall gives us bounty. Delicious, plentiful, bounties of food. And because Fall is as generous as it’s weather is fickle, it also gives us holidays that don’t shame us for indulging our most gluttonous and depraved food desires. You’re supposed to get drunk on Ma’s special Thanksgiving punch and make a messy emotional scene. Hell, it’d be impolite not to.

I bought this apple pie at the grocery store for $2.99! What a scrumptious steal. And it’s going fast by the look of it…

cheap pie

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be gorging myself stupid on a big juicy bird just like the one we had last year.

big juicy bird

I’ll probably also eat a shit-ton of fun-sized Halloween candies. Way more than a person with actual dignity would ever feel comfortable admitting. Ones that I bought for myself at the store because that’s how I roll now. I’m an adult, and I don’t walk around the neighbourhood, undercover of the night, begging for candy anymore. I just go out and buy it like the lazy couch-grazing asshole that I am because legging it for candy is for the kiddies.

2) Doing Weird Decorative Things To Pumpkins

I don’t know how this tradition came to be, and I don’t really care. Pumpkin carving and/or decorating is an essential part of Fall. If you don’t roll up your sleeves and plunge your bare hands deep into some slick and slimy pumpkin guts at some point throughout the Fall, then you’re not doing Fall right. Pumpkins want to be carved, or mutilated, depending on how handy you actually are with a knife.

Last year, I offered up my humble Batman carving to the God of Fall. He wasn’t impressed, but he accepted it. Joss is the one who actually pleased the God of Fall with her delightful feline rendering.

pumpkins

And don’t forget, even the tiny pumpkins want to be included. My little sister Jess gave this tiny pumpkin a handsome Dracula face to wear for the holidays last year. He wasn’t left out, and we all felt the better for it. Warms the cockles of your heart that does.

dracula pumpkin

And if you really can’t stomach the pumpkins, at least get some gourds for chrissakes! Pumpkin’s little ugly cousin Gourd might be more your speed.

3) Awesome Blogging Festivities

There’s a lot of fun to be had during Fall in the blogging community. And you don’t have to be a blogger to enjoy it, either. Just grab a comp and bookmark your favourites. People do fun weird things in this world of ours, and all of that spectacle is within your reach. One blogger chum of mine over at The IPC just wrapped up a great little contest known as Shitfest Fall: 2013. You may or may not have enjoyed my distasteful entry back in September. And just today the hilarious dudes over at Hard Ticket To Home Video launched the first entry of their Third Annual Schlocktoberfest. It’s going to be an absolute mecca for cheesy horror movie lovers out there, and you won’t want to miss it. One of the best surprises for me this fall was when The Surfing Pizza started his annual Halloween Countdown early. I read his posts with religious devotion throughout the entire month of October. Often at my desk during lunch. I’m that person, laughing like a lunatic at my monitor for no apparent reason. Like we’re having the funniest conversation ever, in total silence. I’m starting to get a reputation, and not the good kind.

A few clickety clacks on the keyboard and you’re having the time of your life. It’s way more fun than reading the shitty old news or poorly edited Yahoo articles.

4) Costume Parties

I’m a creative little weirdo and I love to get hammered, you guys know that. Halloween fucking rules because it’s the perfect outlet for all of my binge drinking and strangeness. And this year is no exception. We’re going to party, and we’re going to have hilarious Halloween costumes that we crafted ourselves. I personally prefer funny costumes to skanky, and the drunks at the bars eat that shit up! The pilgrimage to Value Village to rummage up secondhand clothing suitable for costume crafting is something I look forward to every year.

We’re going to put our heads together to come up with something even better than last year’s colourful iteration of Archie and Jughead.

Archie and Jughead

It’s okay to admit that you find Archie remarkably sexy. I got that a lot last year. Archie loves the ladies and the ladies love Archie right back. Even if it is only a Tootsie Roll in my pocket.

5) Fall Back

When you drink and party as much as I do during the fall holidays, that extra hour we’re given because of Daylight Savings Time is nothing short of miraculous. If I’m gonna keep carrying on this way, then I’m gonna need my goddamned beauty sleep. Two years ago, I had to go to Abu Dhabi for work in November. It was a life changing experience, I’m glad it happened, and blah blah blah all that wonderful positive shit. But I missed out on Daylight Savings Time. I didn’t get to Fall Back like I always do at that time of year, and my heart ached for it. Instead, I was all imbalanced from Springing Ahead without the corrective Fall Back to even me out. It makes a difference. I was one mean motherfucker when I got back from the Middle East and I don’t blame that on jet lag. I worship Fall Back and can’t wait to get up at 2:00am on Sunday November 3rd for the divine pleasure of turning the clocks back. And once that deed is done, I’ll be going back to bed for more quality shuteye.

We’ve only just begun, but I’m already feeling this season. To the God of Fall: you rock, bro.

To Market, To Market

Rolled out of bed at the ungodly hour of 9am on Saturday morning. Slogged my way to the kitchen for a cold, placating glass of milk. Rubbed the sleep out of my eyes as I sat down next to D on the couch, and groaned for good measure.

Approaching with caution, D said that it was a nice day. Sunny and warm out. I grunted my acknowledgement of that statement. He let me wake up a bit more before he added that it would be a great day to go to the St. Lawrence Market.

The last vestiges of grumpiness wearing away, I let that idea sink in. Yeah, it did seem like a good idea. Going to the St. Lawrence Market is one of those oh-so-Toronto things that we’d been meaning to do for a while now. Ever since we moved to the city in the spring of 2012 actually. Fucking slackers, we are.

Well, slackers no more I decided. So we got our shit together and made our way down to the market. Just a quick subway ride to King station followed by a happy little stroll down Wellington Street and we were there.

It was glorious!

st lawrence market

The St. Lawrence Market, established in 1803, is one of Toronto’s most beloved landmarks. It’s friggen’ historic!

st lawrence again

Known for the farmer’s markets, antiques, restaurants, local arts and crafts. The market is truly something special. We started our journey inside, perusing the foodstuffs of the upper level. I was expecting aisles and aisles of easily assembled stations for hawking ones wares. I didn’t realize that there would be actual establishments within. With their elaborate signage, all of these places contribute heartily to the unique atmosphere of the market.

carousel bakery

pizza and pasta

With every turn of the corner something more and more delicious to see. Our mouths were positively watering. It’s a wonder I didn’t wind up with a river of drool down the front of my shirt.

meats!

pastries

produce

From the finest in meats, pastries, and produce to delicious eats that even a frugal gal of my ilk can afford. What a steal on sausages!

sausages

And everyone is so friendly. You get a big happy smile from the vendors at every station, and some casual chatter. Or maybe that’s just how it was for me because I was sporting a delightedly insane bulge in my eyes and a big goofy grin. I was so happy and walking around the market was so wonderful, I couldn’t contain my glee. It was awesome and special. Yeah, thinking back they probably all thought that I was pretty special myself…

us at market

After we’d seen all there was to see inside, we made our way outside and across the street to see what the outdoor vendors had to offer.

outdoors

sunflowers

I saw the bunches of sunflowers for sale and I just had to have them!

my flowers

They were fitting, the best thing I could possibly get to commemorate my first market going experience. Sunny and bright, and so perfectly indicative of the morning we shared at the market.

I trimmed and arranged them once we got home, humming and smiling to myself in the kitchen, with Harvey squawking curiously at my feet. It’s not often that I bring fresh flowers into our home. Lazy and careless, I much prefer the amount of maintenance that comes with having fake flowers. Their shelf-life ain’t nothing to sneeze at either. I find watching fresh flowers die slowly before me over the course of a few days kind of depressing. I’m not much for watching life-forces wane. But sunflowers are hearty, easily outlasting the daintiest of flowers, so taking a chance on them this time around doesn’t feel quite so melancholy.

And Harvey was quite fond of them as well…

harvey and the sunflowers

harv and flowers

smitten kitten

Yes, I would say that this little kitten of ours was quite taken with the sunflowers. Smitten, you might say. A smitten kitten.

How I put off going to the St. Lawrence Market this long I’ll never know. But now that I’ve had a taste I will definitely be back for more…

I’ll go for the charm, and stay for the dirt cheap sausages.