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.

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A Surprise

When was the last time you did something truly kind or generous for another person? Something that wasn’t done out of obligation like a birthday, holiday or anniversary. Something you just felt like you wanted to do because the surprise and happiness registered on the recipient’s face is more than enough payoff.

It’s probably been a very long time since I last did something for another purely out of kindness and affection. Sadly, I can’t even remember what it would have been. A couple of months ago I bought a new set of headphones for The Magpie because she kept forgetting hers at home and not having tunes at work is balls. But they weren’t special or anything, like six bucks total, so that doesn’t really count.

It’s shameful really. I have so many wonderful people in my life that I fucking treasure the shit out of and they deserve to feel the full magnitude of my adoration more often. People are precious and they don’t last forever so give as much love as you can while you can.

It’s been a bit crappy lately. There have been plenty of nights in the last week and a half when I’ve come home from work in an absolutely abysmal mood. High-strung and super irritable, melting the faces off of my fellow commuters on the subway ride home with withering looks of derision cast their way at the slightest provocation. I feel bad for D for having to deal with it all. I imagine that interacting with me the past while has been a lot like trying to force a meaningful relationship with a rabid wolverine. It ain’t been no picnic, that’s for damn sure.

I was thinking about him Friday afternoon. Thinking about how strong and patient he is. How often he probably bites his tongue. All the little things he does just so I’ll be happy. One night last week he ate all of the burnt perogis so I only had to suffer the slightly singed ones. He let me stay up, reading in bed with the lights on while he tried to sleep because I was at a scary part in The Shining and just needed to have him close. He sends my food back at restaurants when something is wrong with it because I’m too embarrassed to do it myself. When we rent a car for the weekend to go see our families he lets me control the radio and CD choices for the whole trip, even though we have majorly opposing tastes in music with very minimal overlap. When his boss rewarded him with concert tickets to any show of his choosing in Toronto because he’d been killing it at work, he used them to fulfill one of my lifelong dreams instead of choosing to see a band that he likes. And he’s able to do these things with such ease because my happiness matters to him.

The BNL concert was unreal. I can’t say enough how much it meant to me. It was amazing how selfless D was about using his reward on me. He’s the real deal alright.

I started to have this urge, while I was thinking about D and how great he is, to do something. A compulsion to demonstrate the depth of my admiration for D. I just had to do something. Something kind and generous because he hasn’t been getting the very best of me lately. And I was struck once again by how remarkable it was that he gave me the BNL concert. I remembered him telling me a few days after the BNL concert that his favourite band Killswitch Engage had just announced a show in Toronto for a date in October, and how much he would have loved to go. Hmm, that could work.

I was almost ready to pack up and leave the office on Friday when I decided to hang back a minute and see if tickets for the Killswitch Engage show were still available. Unfortunately for me, the show was already sold out. However, because of how quickly the show sold out they’d decided to do another show the next night and tickets were still on sale. Fuck yeah, just my luck! So I immediately decided that I was going to buy him two tickets for that concert. Yes, I’m going to give D what he gave up for me. And the look on his face is going to be worth every penny. I bought the tickets, printed them off and stuffed them in my bag. I was buzzing with excitement the whole way home just dying to spring my surprise on D.

Killswitch Engage is the first concert we ever went to as a couple. They played a show in Waterloo on Mother’s Day 2008. I actually still have the ticket stubs.

ticket stubs

It was a great show. They were promoting their latest album As Daylight Dies and Howard Jones was the lead vocalist at that time. I’d never even heard of the band until I started dating D, but that album stayed in the CD player in his car for about three straight months and I really came to love it. I especially love Howard. He’s got such a killer voice and he’s an amazing performer. He’s magnetic on stage; captivating and astounding the listeners by perfectly blending his melodic singing with bone-shattering metal screams. It’s so much fun to watch him work. Listening to that album is so enjoyable. The music is phenomenal, undoubtedly. But it also takes me back to that summer when we started dating. When I hear the opening bars of My Curse I feel like I’m in D’s old sunfire again. Driving around with the windows down, D hammering his thumbs on the steering wheel in time with the drums,  butterflies in my stomach and not a care in the world.

D was going to fucking love this, and I couldn’t wait to see his reaction.

I got home on Friday, grabbed the tickets from my bag and tossed them at D. He looked at them puzzled for a moment and then unfolded them.

“Whaaaaat?? What is this all about?” he asked. I told him that I loved him and I appreciate how awesome he is and that he deserves it. “Fuck yeah! This is so awesome, thank you!” was his response. Huge smile on his face, eyes gleaming with happiness and surprise. Exactly the look I was going for. It was even better when I told him that the second ticket isn’t for me. I told him to take anybody he wants, ideally one of his metal-head cronies. And he loved that even more.

D was ecstatic, still is actually. And I felt amazing too. It was just what I needed, that boost of extraordinary, something to banish the gloom of last week. I may not have all of my problems licked, but at least I still have it within me to make someone else happy. D is so goddamned precious to me. And treating him to a night of ear bud busting metal fury is the best possible way that I can express that to him.

Rock on D, you skiddy metal-head weirdo.

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.

Pinch Me

I got to live one of my dreams last week.

I have a lot of them, actually. I’ve always got my sights set on something, so there’s no shortage of dreams in my life. And I would say that I’m living them constantly. Because I have a wide range of dreams. From things that are very easily achievable, like eating at Wendy’s twice in one day or starting up a colony of sea monkeys for my desk at work. Then there are dreams of a more complex nature. For instance, having a freak accident that transforms me into a super-powered mutant or time travelling to 1968 to dry hump a young Charlton Heston in his mega-hunk days. And there are tons and tons of dreams that fall between the foolishly simple and absurdly impossible ends of my dream spectrum.

And that’s really the key to achieving your dreams. Make sure you have a shit-ton of them, all of varying degrees of difficulty. Then when you achieve a bunch of the smaller ones you’ll feel fucking amazing, and the big ones won’t seem so daunting. Now I know that some of my dreams might not ever come true, I accept that. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t keep having them.

Dreaming is fun. It’s my most cherished pastime. And once in a while I get some seriously awesome results…

Barenaked Ladies concert. The dream I’ve held onto the longest and treasured the most. I’ve wanted this so badly, with an aching pain, from the very instant I first heard Steven Page’s dulcet tones and Ed Robertson’s gorgeous harmonies. Their voices floated through the speakers and found their way to my grateful ears. By the time I’d completed my first full listening of Gordon the band had already claimed a permanent residence in my heart.

Now this dream may seem like it fits into the easily achievable category given that I’m Canadian and the band lives in Toronto, but it hasn’t been easy at all. Circumstances beyond my control have thus far prevented me from ever being able to see them live. But I always promised myself that the very second the opportunity arose, I would pounce on it.

And pounce I did! D won a contest at work because he’s such an industrious fellow. His reward was 2 concert tickets to any event in Toronto this year. Because he’s such a wonderful boyfriend, we had ourselves some freaking Barenaked Ladies concert tickets lickety-split! That, or I was just forceful enough in my insistence that the tickets be used to accomplish one of my most treasured life long dreams that he couldn’t turn me down.

Actually, I believe it was the lack of any upcoming concerts for any of his favourite groups that saved the day. But that’s just a minor detail.

I could have bought the tickets, like a normal person, sure. But I’d just shelled out a wad of cash back in April for me and D to see Muse. And there’s something about seeing one of my all-time favourite bands for free that just feels so right. We were able to save our cash for more noble pursuits once we got to the concert. Like multiple bubbas of beer!

It was a beautiful night for a concert, a perfect night for dream fulfilment.

walk to concert

We met up for dinner after work and then walked to the Molson Amphitheatre. We got there with plenty of time to spare, so I immediately made my way over the concession stand so I could grab myself a t-shirt. You have to, it’s just one of those things that’s non-negotiable. It’s your favourite band, you’ve never seen them live before, you better buy yourself a fucking t-shirt. The dude who sold me the shirt told us that Ed Robertson was actually down on the pavilion just playing some tunes for the onlookers. It was awesome. I couldn’t see him that well because word had gotten out and he obviously started drawing a crowd. But what a rad dude! He could have just been hanging out backstage getting wasted before the show, but instead he chooses to give the early bird fans a rare treat.

And then, because he’s even more awesome than that, Ed also made an appearance on stage to play with Boothby Graffoe, who was on deck first. Accompanied by the immaculate Jim Creeggan as well I might add. I love him so much more now because of that. Thanks Ed!

Ed on stage

The opening act, Guster, I had never even heard of before. But they blew me away. I’ve been listening to them incessantly via the internet ever since that night. But I will definitely be picking up some of their CD’s on my next stop off at HMV. Because I’m the only person on the planet that still listens to actual CDs obviously. I love when that happens, a solid opening act that you can enjoy exploring afterwards. I’d always wanted to see Ben Folds live too, so it was an added bonus that he was part of the tour. It was fascinating to watch him work those deft fingers of his along the keys. He was truly captivating. And when he closed the show with “Song for the Dumped” and threw his stool at the piano, I thought the crowd was going to riot. He worked us up to such dizzying heights. Truly, we were enraptured by his greatness.

Ben Folds

I was drinking a lot of beer. It was starting to worry me that I was going to miss the start of the main event because I kept rushing off to piss so often. But luckily I had good timing. The tell-tale reverence that washed over the boisterous crowd announced the start of the main event. This is it. This is what I’ve been waiting half of my life for. The moment of truth so to speak.

Barenaked Ladies took the stage and started playing “Limits”, the opening track of their new album. That nervous lump of anticipation in my throat quickly gave way to feverish excitement. This is it, and its so surreal. I let myself get lost in it.

BNL

BNL2

It was everything I’ve always been dreaming about. When they played “Brian Wilson” my heart felt so full. Like a tiny little piece of it had been missing this whole time and had finally been filled. I gushed and sighed and exclaimed how truly happy I was to D.

And I wasn’t the only one feeling the magic that night. There were TONS of drunk people! I saw a guy walk right into a wall. I saw a guy being escorted out before the show was over with puke all down the front of himself. I saw a girl passed out on the lawn outside the stadium, who refused to walk any farther and insisted to her friends that she just needed a little nap. I overheard this really drunk guy telling a girl he just met how truly beautiful she was and that he hoped they’d meet again one day in a pasture. It was incredible.

I know that my photos of the concert are super crappy. Not even close to capturing how fucking awesome it was. If you want to check out some really stunning pics from the show, you can see them here courtesy of Aesthetic Magazine Toronto

It ended too suddenly for me though. I wish it could have gone on forever. But that’s not how dreams work. They’re fleeting, and therein lies the magic. When you’re lucky enough to achieve those dreams you hold most dear, you can’t quibble over the details. You have to be thankful, so that your other dreams can come true too.

Thank you dreams. Thank you for coming true.

Swoon Worthy Sunset

I’ve mentioned before what an incredible view I have from my apartment. It’s especially enjoyable in the summer. Hot, sweaty, and exhausted after a long summer day, I look forward to the calming quiet of the balcony at sundown. The cool cement floor feels divine on the bottoms of my bare feet. The city sights and sounds emanating from below are reassuring. I can do anything I want out there, on the balcony. But mostly I do nothing. I just drink in the view and enjoy a few moments of solitude. I recharge while reflecting on my day.

I’ve seen some remarkable sunsets from the comfort of my balcony, but nothing that could ever rival the majesty of a Hawaiian sunset.

That is, until recently.

These photos offer a glimpse of the most swoon worthy Toronto sunset I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing.

sunset 1

sunset 2

sunset 3

sunset 4

sunset 5

sunset 6

Sometimes it just feels good to be quiet.

We Be Ballin’

Spring is here now in the city. It’s here for reals this time. No more glorious sunny day fake outs followed by five days of shit. It’s not testing its toes anymore, its long since cannonballed off the deep end. And it brought with it long weekends, baseball games, birthday parties, barbecues, weddings; all kinds of social engagements to occupy my time. Because Spring knows how to party. It’s fantastic!

The only downside is that it keeps me so busy that I barely have time to blog. And I’ve had many a drunken adventure since my last post…

We road-tripped it north to my dad’s on the Saturday of the long weekend. We spent the whole day outside. And it was an immaculate day! Sunny, blue skies, nary a cloud in sight. We basked in the sun, played bocce ball and threw some horseshoes. We caught up, we laughed. We even ate dinner out on the dining hall sized picnic table my dad built a few summers ago. It easily fits 10-12 people comfortably. We feasted like kings too! On perfectly grilled T-bone steaks, creamy mashed potatoes, and asparagus picked fresh from the garden that day, just to name a few of the highlights.

My favourite part of the day though, was playing with this little cutie:

Bogie the dog

Bogie the dog

Sunday morning we got up early. It was a special day. We had an internet date with Joce and Harry! I’d been looking forward to it all week. It’s been a couple of months since they left, and we’ve missed them terribly. It was so great to see their smiling faces and chat again, like we used to. It was early for us, but they were rocking some beers, ready to have a good time. They’re having an absolute blast and I couldn’t be more excited for them. No matter how far away they are or how zany their adventures are, I’m grateful we have the ability to stay connected. Because let’s face it, I’m greedy; I need as much of their huge smiles and good vibes as I can get.

We also reunited with some old friends. From my wilder days. And yes, I assure you, there were much wilder days. These days, I’m a lazy, old, domesticated house cat by comparison.

A large group of us got together for the Toronto Blue Jays game on the long weekend Monday. It was fucking awesome!

We love our Jays!

I love going to the ball games. It’s just the place for me. You’re encouraged to get drunk and scream until you’ve lost all vocal capability. Baseball games were made for me. Much like that girl with Tourette’s that Deuce Bigalow took out to the ball game, I fit right in. I’m loud and I curse like an old-timey dock worker. Baby, I’m home.

A gorgeous day. The sun rocked us through the open dome. The fans were rowdy and excited. And the best part? We kicked the Rays asses!

Gotta support the team

Gotta support the team

I’d missed my friends. It felt so great to catch up with them. All this time had passed, it had literally been years since we’d seen each other, and frankly its shameful that we allowed it to go on that long! After the game, we hit the bar to keep the good times rolling. Truly excellent.

It was our first game of the season and it was invigorating. I gushed to my boss about it the next day at work. How much fun we had and how great our city’s team is. How it was the perfect way to cap off the long weekend. Which I guess stuck with him a little. Because when he was given plum seats for the game that night and couldn’t find anyone else to go with he offered them to me and D. What a rad freaking boss I have! I couldn’t believe our luck, so I jumped on the tickets. D raced home to get our jerseys because you’ve gotta be prepared. You’ve gotta show the team all the love that you’ve got.

We were so close, I could have whispered my hatred for Escobar and he would have heard it. More importantly, I got to tell our boy Bautista how much we love him!

I'd know that stance anywhere...

I’d know that stance anywhere…

What a rush! We were right in the middle of all the action. You could smell their sweat, sticky and stinky underneath us in the dugout. Stinking like champions. Foul balls were flying over our heads all night. Encarnacion’s bat even went sailing through the air right over us, landing a few rows behind our seats. It felt like we were in the game. I’ve never experienced anything like it, and I can’t say enough how thankful I am to my boss.

here come our Jays

here comes Lawrie!

Bautista, Rasmus, Cabrera

Bautista, Rasmus, Cabrera

Normally, I’m a cheap seats kind of girl. I dig the atmosphere up in the nosebleeds, and buying cheaper tickets saves me more cash money for beers. But I get why people would shell out for the good seats. It’s a completely different way to watch the game. I strongly encourage any fans out there to do it at least once if possible. Fly yourself close to the sun, just shy of getting burnt. There’s no way you will ever regret it. Even though we lost this game, I left feeling like a winner.

We were invited to the game the following night as well, but we were bloody exhausted. It hurt us to take a pass on it, we were heavily invested in that series already. But for the sake of our health, we had to turn it down.

Another work week comes and goes. And what do you know? Friday night it’s time to party! And we’re ready, we’ve sufficiently recovered from the weekend before.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ODONES!!!!

birthday girl

birthday girl

I friggen’ love you man!

What a terrifically drunken night of celebrations. We went to Berber Social down on Front Street. It was to die for! The food was incredible. All these great sharable dishes. We had beef keftas, inverted fish tacos, arancini, fingerling potato chips, and so much more! If you love to eat as much as I do, this place is worth your time.

the party crew

the party crew

my lovey

my lovey

looking good buddy

looking good buddy

We drank, we laughed, we talked for hours. Then we wound up down the street at the Firkin to catch up with some more people. Where the partying continued!

Jagerbombs!

Jagerbombs!

peas in a pod

peas in a pod

bromance is in the air

bromance is in the air

The following morning was a little rough, I’m not gonna lie. It took an unfathomable amount of effort to keep those Jagerbombs down. But eventually I was feeling good enough to scrub the shit out of my apartment. I really needed to clean it, and I wasn’t going to let some little hangover get in the way of that. I went nuts on the bathroom, scrubbing every exposed surface within my sight. Then I tackled the kitchen. Ran the dishwasher, hand washed some delicate shit, sorted out the fridge, and detailed the microwave. I also vacuumed and dusted. Brushed all of the little Harvey furs off the couches.

It was exhausting, but it felt amazing when I was done. It’s some sort of high. One that I’ll always enjoy. That of an utterly tidy home. I warned D that if he fucked any of this shit up, I would have his head for it.

We reunited with more friends that night, having them over. We stayed in, keeping it casual. Although, that didn’t stop one of my Tequila and Pom juice shots from making my buddy Clark puke! The wild days live on indeed.

It’s been totally awesome these last few weeks. There’s always something to do, someone to see, something to celebrate. I live for these hectic and heady Spring days. And as great as it is to stop momentarily and remember it all, I’ve gotta get back out there. There are a bunch more party times to come. They’re all desperately counting on their dose of Smash to spice up the night.

Hmmm. Maybe I’m still a rambunctious tomcat after all…

A Colourful Wedding (In More Ways Than One!)

I still feel a little tingly from Saturday night. Some residual happiness just kicking around my heart. I wish it would last forever. That feeling you have after a really amazing wedding. It’s a feeling of clarity, because everything makes sense in the world. Like a perfectly matched pair of mismatched socks.

One of my most beloved and wonderful friends, The Magpie, got married to the man of her dreams. And they threw one of the best weddings I’ve ever been to.

It wasn’t about a perfect white dress, sweeping landscapes as backdrops for the perfect pictures, or lavish spending. There’s such an emphasis on weddings these days. Such high expectations. People get consumed in the details, trying to control every aspect of it, forcing perfection. The Magpie’s wedding was a departure from all of that over-stylized bullshit we’ve come to expect from weddings.

It was real. All of the emphasis was exactly where it should have been, on the marriage itself. You could hear it in the way they said their vows. You could see it in the way they looked at each other as they danced. You could feel it the very second you walked into the room. They meant it. They meant it with every fibre of their beings. And they’re going to keep on meaning it, every day, from this day on.

It started with a simple, heartfelt ceremony at city hall. With music and friends.

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The vows were honest and sweet.

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They kissed and signed the paperwork to make it stick. Time to get back to their place. Time to celebrate!

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We’re gunna need a bigger tub…

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There were brilliant toasts. Curse toasts even. I’ve never heard a bride drop an f-bomb in a thank you toast before, but it was a delightful addition!

Cue the music, time to dance.

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Twirling and swirling in a twelve dollar dress. Something only the Magpie could make so magical.

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Stealing a laugh with her new father-in-law.

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We drank til our faces hurt, partied like there was no tomorrow.

wedding

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I’ve never been in a room with so much happiness. Which is probably why I was practically bouncing off the walls! The steady supply of drinks may have had something to do with that as well…

I was very happy that night. So happy that I thought my little heart was going to burst in my chest at any minute because it couldn’t possibly manage to hold anymore joy. I love my friend, and I love how it’s all turned out for her. Wildest dreams all coming true.

IMG_1459

Cheers buddy, you’re a wife now and it’s gunna be awesome!

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!

This is Living

It’s dark and dingy. The only lights in the place focused ominously on the stage. Creating ambiance. Hinting of things to come. We wait, our hearts heavy with the burden of expectation.

That last group really sucked. They assaulted our ears with their shitty timing and even shittier stage presence. They did care though. They seemed to love being up there, if the twenty-minute encore was any indication. At least someone was feeling it. We sure as hell weren’t. The silence following their departure from the stage a sweet reprieve.

Then it starts. A hulking, bearded mass of a man takes the mic. A thunderous clash of drums and guitars commands our attention. And our attention is rapt the instant the set begins. Fists clenched and face contorted with feeling, the singer wracked the crowd with the primal screams erupting from the molten-metal core of his being.

This is it. This is what we came for. A kick-ass metal show.

As I stood there swaying with the music, watching our friend Jim own the stage, I thought about how amazing it felt to be there supporting him. How vastly his band had exceeded our expectations. How impressive they were. Every note an indication of how much passion these guys have for their music and the time they’ve spent perfecting it. I was astonished, we all were.

Jim’s band, Sinthetik, was astounding. They melted our faces and blew our minds with their badass sound. They were raw and unforgiving. They were melodic and mesmerizing. Their shit was tight.

It made me feel alive. It made me feel invincible. And it made me want to live my life with the same ferocity of the music. So I did.

After the show, we heaped our praises on Jim, and made our way to the bar up the street. The Magpie. My friend The Magpie’s namesake. It was dim and inviting.

I laughed with my friends, tossed back my drinks, and danced with abandon.

at the magpie

enjoying some drinks

drinks

Magpie and I

It was an amazing night. The metal show the perfect catalyst for my weekend of living it up.

The next day brought with it another flurry of activity. D and I had tickets to the Toronto Auto Show, and we were planning on watching the hockey game at Joce’s place. We picked ourselves up and shook of the grime of the night before. We made our way down to the auto show.

We came into direct contact with approximately a billion people at the show. It was insanely crowded. But through the throngs of auto-crazed maniacs, I was able to snap a few pics.

ferrari

McLaren

mercedes

My personal favourite is the massive Mercedes van. Seriously, if you’re going to drive around looking like a sex offender, you may as well do it in style.

We powered through the exhibits. Although it was fun, we were relieved when it was over. We probably should have gone during a weekday.

Our next priority was making it over to Maple Leaf Square by 4:00pm so we could score some free tickets to the hockey game that night. Neill texted us about it earlier in the day, the ticket giveaway, and since we were going to be in the area anyways, we figured we may as well try. Also, since we were planning on watching the game at Joce’s, wouldn’t it be awesome if instead we showed up with tickets and told them we were going to the game instead? Hells yeah, that would be so awesome!

Carlton, the Toronto Maple Leafs mascot, was going to be at Maple Leaf Square at 4:00pm. And if you could find him, you could have tickets to the game. Not to worry, we found Carlton.

Carlton

We also ran into Batman while we were there. So that was awesome too!

toronto batman

He’s really into hockey.

I should also point out that the game was actually held in Ottawa. But since Ottawa is a bunch of dicks and tried to ban Leafs fans from their games, Toronto decided to show their fans some love. Admission to the game was free, and you got to watch it on the jumbo-tron. And every person at the game got a free 24 ounce fountain pop, a slice of pizza or hot dog, a bag of popcorn, and a candy bar. So screw you Ottawa! We’re gonna make it on our own.

at the game

And we had an awesome time. It felt great to be a part of something like this. To stick it to the man. Leafs fans or not, you simply cannot segregate or banish willing fans from the games. What were you even thinking Ottawa? What a boneheaded thing to do.

The Leafs did lose though. And it was an embarrassing loss. I’m not even a Leafs fan, but I am a fan of a good time. Going to the games is fun, and people should not be denied admittance to them based on their fandom. That’s so ridiculous.

It started with the casual acceptance of an invitation, and became one of the most outrageous weekends of my life. When adventure beckons, I come running.

I love my friends, I love my city, and I love living.

My Top 5 Slices

Warning: severe hunger pangs ahead.

I love pizza. I want it to be with me always.

Pizza is the longest relationship I’ve ever had. We’ve been rock solid since the early 90’s and we’re never breaking up. It’s open though, it’s cool. I can see other foods if I want. Pizza don’t mind. Pizza knows I’m not going anywhere. Pizza knows it would be my immediate choice for last meal if I was on death row. Pizza knows that if I was stranded on a deserted island and could only bring one food that it would be the one. Pizza knows.

Like all great relationships that are going the distance, pizza and I have our best times when I’m drunk. We’ve had some good sober times too, don’t get me wrong. But when I’m a drunken slobbering mess, pizza is at its zenith of attractiveness.

When I was a kid pizza was everything. Fresh, crisp, puffy dough with savoury tomato sauce, pepperoni, and cheese. Maybe even some herbs, as long as I couldn’t see them. My perfect slice. Vegetables on a pizza were highly suspect. They didn’t look right, and to this day I still don’t trust them. And pineapple? You can forget that, that’s perverted. Perverts eat Hawaiian slices. Bet you’ve never noticed that before. But you will now. You’ll notice it the next time you see someone order one. And if it’s you doing the ordering, well, I guess I’ll light a candle for you.

As a kid there were so many opportunities to eat pizza. Birthday parties, sleepovers, sporting events. Some genius even thought up regularly scheduled pizza lunches in classrooms! Brilliance. Bring a buck and grab a slice. Those were the days. We lived like kings.

I loved it so much, that it was my go-to choice at McDonald’s. A fast food joint, known for their burgers, and I still chose pizza.

McDonald’s pizza is the stuff of legends. It’s been so long since I had one, my memory is a little fuzzy. I vaguely remember the pizza itself. What I remember the most is the way the pizza made me feel. A whole pizza. Scaled down in size, of course. But it was just the right amount for my 8-year-old belly. Packaged in its own special little pizza box, just the right size for a kid. I didn’t have to share it with anyone, the contents of that pizza box all for me.

Goddamn special, that’s how I felt.

I don’t know why McDonald’s ever got rid of them. That seems like it was a terrible decision. I just hope that someday they come back. Whenever I get to blow out the candles, swipe a stray eyelash off my face, or come up victorious in a wishbone breaking contest I close my eyes and put all my heart into wishing that McDonald’s will bring back the pizza. They keep futzing around with this silly McRib thing, but I think they’d pull some serious coin from the relaunch of the pizzas.

When I moved to Toronto last year my top priority was finding my favourite place for a slice. And as much as I wanted to savour the search, I really didn’t have to look far. Pizzaiolo. Just a five-minute jaunt from my place. I get my favourite slice and convenience to boot! And there’s a ton of Pizzaiolo locations all over the city. I’ve eaten at half a dozen aiolo locations. They’re all pretty good, but the one at Bloor and Spadina is king. I have never had a bad slice there. It’s always piping hot and fresh out of the oven.

And since I have amassed an absurd amount of pizza photos on my phone in the short time I’ve been in the city, I thought I would put them to good use.

Behold, my top 5 Pizzaiolo slices thus far!

5) The Workday Hangover Slice

hangover slice

I got wasted on a Wednesday night. It was my first time going to Monte Requesto at the Cloak. Good times, great music, and too many beers. Not a great idea when you have to work the next day. But I’m not known for making the best decisions. So the following Thursday I woke up, barfed and went to work. I was too ill for breakfast, so by noon my tummy was rumbling something fierce. The only cure, a hot gooey slice of pizza. My favourite slice from Pizzaiolo is the Toni Pepperoni. They have some really diverse flavours, but I’m a classic pepperoni kind of girl. When I got to the counter there was no pepperoni in sight. The chick working the counter told me they just made one and it was coming out of the oven right that second. Score!

4) Breakfast Slice

godfather for breakfast

One morning in the summer D left early to golf with his dad. So I decided to live it up. And by live it up I mean go grab a slice of pizza for breakfast and watch crappy T.V. shows. What can I say? I’m a girl of simple pleasures. I slept in and walked down to aiolo for open at 11:00am. This is a slice of The Godfather. A deep-dish monstrosity covered in pepperoni, bacon, italian sausage, mozzarella, and parmigiano. It’s like eating a really puffy piece of garlic bread that’s been covered in meat. I don’t always have the appetite to eat a whole slice, but when I do all bets are off! Dipping sauce is a must have with this slice.

3) The Morning After Slice

morning after

morning after gianni old

I am a genius! I got super hammered and stopped in for a slice to cap off my night. I was so happy when I polished off that slice. And in a rare moment of drunken clarity, I thought about my future. Where would I be tomorrow? Of that, I couldn’t be sure. But I was pretty damn sure I wanted there to be pizza. So I grabbed some extra slices to take home and store in the fridge as a tasty treat for the next day. And because I’m the best frickin’ girlfriend ever, I grabbed a slice of Gianni Ola for D. I didn’t want to leave him out. He’s an integral part of my future. Just look at the way the morning light glints off of the pepperoni. That’s a thing of beauty.

2) Afternoon Snack Slice

afternoon snack

Sometimes I like to sleep late on the weekends. D never sleeps in. He gets up and eats his breakfast immediately. So by the time I get up on the weekend, he’s ready for lunch. My eating schedule for the day is totally skewed. I might have breakfast around 11 or noon while D is having lunch. Then I don’t want to have lunch until late into the afternoon. Which puts dinner in jeopardy. A slice of pizza is the perfect thing to eat in the afternoon when our meal schedules are impossibly off-balance. It’s just filling enough that it allows me to sync up my dinnertime meal with D. I got this slice one afternoon in the summer during a vigorous exploration of the shops on Queen Street West. Fresh out of the oven, it did not disappoint. Look at those herbs on the pepperoni! This slice is a work of art.

1) The Drunken Slice

drunk slice

Don’t act like you’re surprised, of course I was drunk when I consumed the best slice of pizza I’ve ever had the privilege of eating. We got seriously ripped at Joce and Harry’s place one night. Just another hilarious hangout with our chums made all the more hilarious with booze. They live at Bloor and Spadina, so when it comes to drunk eats their neighbourhood is the undisputed champ. You can get burgers, street meat, pizza, shawarma, nachos, sushi, pho, bagels, and more. If you can think of it, you can have it. But as I’ve said before, my heart belongs to pizza. Deliciously hot and gooey pizza. Pizzaiolo is my favourite because of the crust. It’s soft, puffy, and crispy at the same time. That’s no easy feat. A drunkard’s dream if I ever did see one.

Oh pizza, our best years are yet to come!

Now that your mouth has watered a river down your shirt, a majorly huge one with fucking tributaries and deltas and everything, I suggest you grab yourself a slice.