It's one of those little gifts life hands you every once in awhile: a rainy Sunday morning. That which invites you to have coffee in bed, to loaf around in your pyjamas and to think of things to cook. Tomorrow I'm heading out of town for the week for work, so I've got some things in the refrigerator to use up, like a red pepper and some zucchini. I had recently noted this recipe in my Pinterest recipe collection which I'd saved from my favourite foodie blog, Skinnytaste.com, and decide to make it, modified to incorporate some not-so-skinny pancetta, also sitting there in the refrigerator. More thumbs-up from both sides of the table.
Friday night. After work we meet up with Carly for "beer o'clock" at our favouite local. Winter has returned today and it's tossing snow around the street like wispy ribbons. I have refused to bust out my warm winter coat yet, and thus walking outside to head home in my inadequate coat makes the blustery wind more unpleasant than it might otherwise. Hello winter.
Walking through the newly landscaped Clarence Square Park on my way home; looking back toward Wellington Street. It's a substantial improvement to that little part of the city, and includes a large, fenced dog run and numerous new trees. My enjoyment of the one-minute walk through it mornings and evenings is enhanced too.
View from my office building. In which the Toronto Argonauts are celebrated for winning the 100th annual Grey Cup. Fun to see all those suits bust out of the office for an hour to cheer on the local team. Strange, too, this parade happening on the day after an unruly and uncouth mayor gets ousted from office on a conflict of interest charge. The fun never ends.
Tonight we meet up with my girls and some of their people for a drink before going out to dinner at a nearby bistro on a gift certificate I got for my birthday back in (the MUCH MORE TEMPERATE) April from those same devoted girls.
We really enjoy the food, both indulging in the place's specialty, steak frites, and the casual ambiance of the place. I like that our mildly snobby but very attentive server is wearing low-top Converse runners with her skirt and blouse. Sitting near us is an elderly and elegant couple out on what seems to be a regular date. I wonder aloud if Ceri and I might still be going out for meal dates 30 years on. (We seem to concur – yes.)
On the walk home I admire the beauty of the city, looking east toward it on Wellington. My photo doesn't come close to capturing how it sparkles; but then it's a photo-a-day project (in spirit) and this is the one photo I got. You'll have to take my word for it.
It's the Grey Cup weekend. As a significant portion of the regular visitors to this space are not from Canada, I suppose I should say that the Grey Cup is the championship prize for the Canadian Football League. The CFL is 100 years old this year. The only people who care a lick about Canadian football, or even know it exists, are Canadians; but they really, really love it.
Each city that hosts the annual Grey Cup puts on a big party. It's an especially great party when your team is in the final. Last year I flew into Vancouver on the day their Lions won the cup. This year it is in Toronto and our Argonauts are in the final. Front Street and those around it are closed to accommodate stages and bands and vendors and beer gardens and colourful fans from all over the country.
We walk up from my place to crash the party. The wind is wicked and whips down from the north; it's bloody cold. Football fans from those cccold provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan and Manitoba and Quebec (and they're all here, along with those from the practically local Ottawa and Hamilton and the not the least bit local British Columbia), would laugh at my complaints. Nevertheless, it's fun to be a part of this very Canadian 100 year old party.
Later, warming the cockles in Fionn's, we enjoy watching some of those colourful fans have the kind of fun they may (or may not) regret tomorrow – game day. I've never been a football fan, but the spirit's infectious, if not the desire to squirt lemon in my eye before tossing cheap tequila down my gullet. Call me a woosy.
Lovely Sunday morning and there's a fair bit of loafing around, reading, making luscious breakfast, I mean brunch, editing photos and eventually getting showered to go out and catch up with the Santa Claus parade making its way down toward St. Lawrence market. As it happens, my fault, we don't get out the door in time and as we walk down Wellington Street, we find a lot of families heading home and what looks like a massive advertisement for Tim Horton's plastered all over the street. If what Tim's is advertising is garbage.
The crowds are a little less charming after the parade than they might be during the parade and it's a relief to duck into the cozy and quiet little Cést What for some fine ale and snack of warm cheese with carmelized onions, and warm pretzels and broccoli for dipping.
Later we walk home in the twilight and I'm thinking the colour of that sky is more beautiful than any old parade float any day.
Should I go suddenly from this life, I hope it's not by decapitation by glass falling out of the sky.
The Harbourfront starts to feel a little lonely in November; all those tourists have gone back to wherever it is they come from. I do find a little comfort in the quiet. The longer stretches of night enfold you; life becomes quieter, less public. In January I'll be aching for more light, but lonely November comes welcome.
It's rainy and blustery here, but nothing serious so far. The sky doesn't give any indication of the size of that cloud formation, which swirls over a large part of the Atlantic and a significant part of America.
I'm itching to get home tonight, but I stop and think about how small I am, how small my city is, in relation to that cloud.