I'm home. I've tremendously enjoyed being away, but as always I am happy to come home. Home where my loves are. Home where Dolly and Mooch and Bubbles are. Home with the comfy bed, the comfy shower, the comfy everything. Home which is close to work, but we're not thinking about that just yet. Next week the Christmas shrimp and appetizers land, not to mention turkeys, and I have no room for any of this and WE WILL NOT THINK ABOUT WORK WE WILL THINK ABOUT HOME...
Mel's Diner, a local institution for a good twenty years now. Breakfast was excellent as always, made even better by a spirited few rounds of Trivial Pursuit. Then we're off to the
Extremely attentive readers of the Breadbin might recall that Eva and Mark went to the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory a little over a year ago, for their second anniversary. At the time (wince) I wrote this:
You'd have to pay me to go to that place, and not chump change, either. I don't hate butterflies, or anything, but...well, it's like a zoo for me. Oh, look, an animal. It's being all...animally. Oh, look, there's another one. Is it time to go home yet?
Funny, what love can do. Butterflies now mean something in a shared mythology, and so I will go to this Conservatory and I will love every minute of it. In fact, it turned out I loved it more than I thought I might.
The butterflies, fluttering by.
Not enough beauty, let's add some.
There we go.
The butterflies weren't all that was waiting for us here: rather incongrously, they've got an ancient Egypt collection on loan from the Royal Ontario Museum.
Both of us are quite interested in this time and place, and so what was a lamentably short excursion through a smallish facility was nicely lengthened.
I specialize in getting lost in my own city. To be fair, I've never been anywhere near this area of it. But still, it's embarrassing. We meandered around for a while before I found a street I knew, and then meandered home...rather like butterflies.
Thanks, hon, for a lovely day. I love you.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15
Not just a highlight of my vacation today, but a highlight of my year. Eva has been graciously allowed to leave work two hours early and we're off to see Kathleen Madigan and Lewis Black at Casino Rama north of Orillia.
We had dinner first, a prime rib buffet that was...not bad. I'd hoped for a little better for the price, to be frank, but very few buffets in my experience are uniformly excellent...it's usually hit, miss, and maybe just wing a little. The wings were pretty good, actually.
Then we went in to the casino and blew a small amount of money very quickly (myself much more quickly than Eva) playing video poker.
I'm good in casinos now. I go in absolutely CERTAIN that I'm going to lose whatever money I have on me, and so I make sure that's not much. I do not allow the slightest tinge of hope to enter my mind even if I win (and I did, a little, at first). Should I ever strike it rich enough to triple my initial stake, I'm likewise out of there, just as surely as if my money depletes to zero.
My money depleted to zero.
Lewis Black and Kathleen Madigan are two of Eva's favourite comedians. Lewis Black is one of mine; Kathleen I'm neutral tending towards favourable on. So I was maybe a little surprised to find that tonight, Madigan was funnier.
The material was, of course, heavy on Donald Trump. How could it not be? They're both political comedians and politics in their country is -- well, beyond ripe, I'd say it's rotten at this point. One of the biggest cheers of the night came with Lewis, early in, said he didn't even want to say Trump's name.
Other material included Kathleen on alcohol and pot, a bit from Black about mental illness that was really on point, both comedically ("if you don't know what bipolar disorder is, you need to date more") and seriously ("we need to open the doors for these people, there are a hell of a lot of them"). The two of them make an excellent team. Eva and I had a great time.
A 9:00 start saw us out shortly after eleven, and we took the 400 and 401 back to save time. Despite consuming a Monster (my third this week, I'm sorry, hon!) in an effort to keep my beloved wife awake, I was almost asleep when we arrived home at 1:41. That was some kind of LONG day for Eva, who started work shortly after 8:00 a.m. and who lives almost 45 minutes from her work.
Thank you, love. That was a wonderful night. It was nice to have alone time on the trip to and from, and that was an experience I wouldn't have wanted to share with anyone else. I love you.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
Today was a very quiet day. A couple of errands, a lovely gift, and then we all took Dolly to Bechtel Park, where she...
The first dog she met was a little French Bulldog named Turnip, about a third Dolly's size, and yet it was our dog who was scared, at first. As more and more dogs made an appearance, Dolly seemed to figure out that these were (a) creatures like her who (b) wanted to play.
Eva and Mark then dropped me at home and took her to get a bath (much needed). They're off at the New Hamburg Fall Fair as I write these up and prepare to go to bed for the final sleep of my holidays (although I'm inexplicably off Monday).
Thank you to all of those who made my holiday very, very special. Dad and Heather, Eva, Mark, Kathy...it's been fantastic.
Best of all, my next vacation is only a month away.