To say the summers are short here is a ridiculous understatement. If the year was measured in the heights of Hollywood actors, summer would be Danny DeVito*. This summer in particular has been an especially weird one. We've had some real downpours, as well as the normal week or so of unbearably hot weather, a couple of great swimming days and then... bam. Fall. Like, I've worn tights to work twice this week without feeling like I'm crawling out of my skin. I wore a sweater to a going-away party... and it was being held in a sweaty bar. The dog doesn't bite us when we put her in a shirt. Even for Canada, this is weird.
Ours is a city that clings to summer like a static-y sock to a slip, however, so even though the nights are cooling off and the stores are full of pea coats, it ain't over till it's over. We will gather on patios and shiver in tents and eat frozen novelties while rocking a cable knit until at least Thanksgiving.
When the summer started, I made an informal list of things I wanted to do before its untimely end. Now, technically I have until September 21 to say I got 'er did, but I've actually made amazing headway on it already. Which is maybe why, though everyone from the trained meteorologists to my notoriously fickle sister has said it's been a crappy summer, it really hasn't felt that way to me. Anyway, here's what this summer has held so far:
Summer 2014 Bucket List
|#1 Fact: California Barbie UNO is the greatest invention the gaming|
world has ever known. Even if it's a bit racist.
It then spent 14 months collecting dust in our basement, kept warm by its brethren, beanbag chair and full-length mirror.
Driven by a desire to enjoy one of the warmest days of the year (and also to prove my lousy sister wrong), I finally dusted off the old girl a few weeks back.
Spite never felt so good. Found a shady spot under a for-real willow tree, kicked off our shoes and supped upon cheese, artisnal meats, olive and rosemary bread, two kinds of salad, lemonade, and brownies. I made the MVP decision to buy a bottle of water on the way down, which ensured only one of us got heat stroke. We learned that the California Barbie UNO game I picked up for free in my old apartment's laundry room is, in fact, amazing, and that I can only eat two Reese Peanut Butter brownies before I want to throw up. I'm still hoping we'll get another picnic in before it turns cold (or maybe even after? Fall picnics sound like something twee people do - probably already a wedding theme on Pinterest?). But either way, consider this one crossed off.
This might not seem like much of a "goal" for you kids, but trust me - for me, shorts shopping is only slightly above bra and bathing suit shopping in the circles of clothes-shopping hell. Luckily for me, I managed to snag not one, but TWO pairs of shorts I enjoy this year, as well as two pairs of capris. I also got rid of two pairs that were just not going to happen for me, ever. Painful, but freeing.
Remember what I said about short shopping? I would do it every day until I retire if it meant I didn't have to go bathing suit shopping. This year, however, in anticipation of a warm-weather vacation, I decided one bathing suit wasn't going to cut it, so I bought two more - this one and, more scandalously (for me), this one. Surprisingly, it's the latter that's seen the most action this summer. I wore it for the first time in Mexico (where I comforted myself that I would see none of these people again) and have worn it in the pool a few times since. Not brave enough around anyone but strangers and family at the moment but y'never know...
Okay, last fashion-related item. I'm usually a dress gal, but as a woman-of-heft, often times, wearing a dress in the summer is downright unbearable. Enter Bandelettes. I never thought a pair of lace bands could be such a game changer, but here we are. Finally, I can wear a dress all day, and most of the night, without being uncomfortable. They're not perfect - they can roll up a tiny bit if you don't get them just right, the silicone can be a bit irritating to the skin after 10+ hours, and one pair got a hole along the inside seam very early on (though they were replaced free of charge!) - but they have allowed me to go through most of this glorious season without wearing tights or shapewear or shorts (though, again, now I'm wearing tights... lousy Smarch weather)
This new discovery allowed me to wear the following new dresses with delight:
|Photo credit: http://bethemuse.ca/|
I may or may not have a problem.
I choose "may not".
6. Host a Clothing Swap
Just in case I do have a problem, however, I really need to host a clothing swap. Every weekend without plans, every online grazing born out of boredom ends up testing the tensile strength of my closet bar. I still have a month left to get rid of stuff before summer's over, if not by a swap, then on Facebook or drop the load at the consignment store/charity depot. My bedroom clothing rack is looking less "New Girl" and more "Hoarders: Buried Alive"
Since the only first-run movie theatre moved out of our downtown core (Don't even start, it's ridiculous), I made a pact to support our city's independent theatres more frequently. It's been a rollicking success so far. I even bought a membership to one of them and have already made my money back on it, seeing Chef, The Grand Seduction, and this little gem, all of which were delightful:
|#7 If you liked The Room, but felt its production values were too high, |
and its plot too plausible, you'll love Fateful Findings.
|#8: Over 500 people agreed: everything is cool |
when you're part of a team
Hoping to go back to see Singing in the Rain this weekend, if it isn't rained out again. (
Preemptively crossing this off as it's booked for next Friday, along with a facial - apologies in advance to whatever pour soul is tasked with my pores/soles.
10. Eat on patios
I'm leaving this one uncrossed, because even though I've eaten al fresco at least 4 times this year, I'm an Ottawan, so that's not even close to enough. Gonna need to at least 2 more patio dineages to this list before I'm even close to satisfied.
|I've also eaten enough of these suckers this year to make it|
on the Greenpeace watchlist.
Turned 32, invited some pals to our place, made all the food, lit sambuca on fire, dressed the dog in a tshirt, used my outdoor voice past 3am. Done.
|#11: I even had it catered!|
|#12: The only thing greener than these babies is my thumb.|
I am so damn proud of my garden this year. We've had some issues (Squirrel Green Bean Massacre 2014: we shall not forget ye), but so far we've had two dinners worth of green beans and four delicious tomatoes (with a tonne more coming, it seems). Possibly my proudest produce is my cucumbers. Little Lebanese-ish guys, we've had two great looking (and tasting) ones already, with another 5 (!) starting to grow. I have an absurdly strong love for how they wrap around our wooden posts, sometimes securing themselves over the course of only a day. I've almost started personifying them, which is super weird, because then I eat them.
13. Pickle some of summer's bounty
Shut up. You'll be the nerd once I'm eating princess-worthy spicy garlic pickled beans and you're crunching on your pedestrian Bicks like a garbage person.
Anyone who's ever been to my house knows that our backyard is not a thing of beauty. It's all cracked asphalt and pine needles and one scary-ass shed that probably has some horrific tales to tell*, but it's large, especially for downtown, and it's ours. Last year we got a patio set and a barbecue, and this year we added a bird bath, picnic table (thanks, neighbours who sold it to us for $40!) and a hammock. Oh god yes, a hammock that doesn't need trees. But what I really wanted to add was some colour. One side of our backyard has a walled area against the fence and there we were able to grow rhubarb as well as whatever lilies the squirrels didn't eat, some tulips and, of course, 8 metric tonnes of mint. But the rest of the area was rather unused. We had one large, rickety wooden container garden that we filled with the aforementioned cucumbers, beans, green onions and tomatoes but I wanted flowers, damnit. So enter the hipster's workhorse: the pallet.
|#14: Please note the bedraggled Canada flag, trampled in the dirt,|
as physical proof of #11
|#15 Suck a butt, multiple choice|
16. Eat on every food truck in town
Two years back, the city loosened its restrictions on the sizes and requirements for food carts, with the idea of revitalizing the downtown area with mobile urban goodness. This is one of my favourite decisions that our municipal government has made. I have tried, very gamely, to visit all of the food trucks our city has to offer, but the fact of the matter is, some of them are in places where I just don't go very often, so it's been a bit of a challenge. But, that's essentially what this list is, so I rolled with it. Here's where I've been so far:
Relish Truck - Had a really tasty mac n cheese here, tasty, spicy condiment known as "red sauce", quality chunky bacon, good, stringy cheese. Was jonesing for a sandwich, though, but all they were serving that day was fancy KD, so I'll have to go back.
Dosa - Never had a Dosa before, which is ludicrous, because these guys are literally a 2 minute walk from my house. Two friends and I sampled three of these, and I have to say, I was mostly "meh" about them. I think I should've the more traditional dosa, not filled with much, rather than the ones we had, filled with (underripe) avocadoes, or cheese and onions. That being said, I'd go again, if only for their insanely good soup and solid plantain chips.
Angry Dragonz - This one would have been an instant favourite if not for the ridiculous amount of cilantro (the devil's own son) in their layered bowls. It basically made it so I couldn't eat any of it. However, that white-kid staple of thai cuisine, pad thai, was really solid and that, along with some of their fantastic skewers is enough for two people to share for lunch. I'll remember to ask that satan's bouquet not kiss my meal.
Still a couple of food trucks to go, but I think I made great headway this year.
|#17 If you think we didn't spend a great deal of our time remarking how|
it was "Almost a triple rainbow!" you really don't know us.
Thinking of going to Folk Fest next month, too, although that's mostly just to prove to myself that Blues Traveller is still alive.
We also took the family to see The Book of Mormon (fantastic, yet again), did 11 Fringe Plays (tied for our best year ever), snuck near the grounds to watch Lady Gaga for free, went with a friend to Glengarry Glenross at The Gladstone - I've done just fine this summer, I think, especially considering I'm such a hermit I might as well be a throw pillow.
Um, I'm white. Duh.
This one kills me, but I don't think it's going to happen. The local fair was cancelled when they started redeveloping the land it was on. I tried to get the family excited about the New York State Fair, which is my fatty happy place, but no one else was feeling it. My mom, especially, was all "noooo. I want to have foot surgery. And I don't want to walk on my caaaaast" like a total baby. Whatever, her pills make her feel like she's at the fair all the time - lucky baby. Still, late summer fairs are a thing. Let's see if life will still hand me an actual rollercoaster instead of a metaphorical one.
19. Go to a cottage/go glamping
Another one that's probably a no-go this year. At first, we thought it might because TB had been holding out on me and confessed his family had a cottage. Cue outrage. But it turned out the only weekend it was free was when we were already seeing Book of Mormon. I tried really hard to reserve something else but everything that was reasonably priced/not the set of Cabin in the Woods was taken or really far away. I honestly had no idea that so many people were hurting for a yurt-ing. Next year, I'll try to get in there before all the city folks with boners for a dock take all the prime real estate.
You know I got this one in the bag. Much like I find myself.
So, now that I lay it out before myself (and really, let's face it, myself is the only one still reading at this point), I actually have had kind of a lovely summer. And I'm really going to try to hang on to these memories when i'm buried beneath 14 lbs of freshly fallen sadness. Hope you're all having a good one, too. Wear sunscreen. Or don't, I'm not your mother.
And now, my summer jam:
*winter would be Brad Garrett
*we're scared to knock it down in case it releases its evil upon us