|Ice on Lake Ontario|
Besides Sam doing what he actually went there to do, we got to see a few other things in Toronto. First of all we were flying into Pearson Airport, which as any good Rush fan can tell you, gives you the "YYZ" code on your luggage tag. So that was exciting and merited a text to my brothers promising to find a Rush museum if there was one and bring back some drumsticks from Neil Peart. (Sorry. Failed on all counts, more's the pity.)
Since Sebby is currently super into airplanes, I was taking lots of pictures for him. We saw some 747s in San Francisco, and even an Emirates A380 (both big exciting planes, apparently; I don't mean to know these things but I can't help it).
I had gotten babywearing advice from my friend Melissa, and borrowed a Moby wrap, since I knew there would be lots of walking around with Teddy. I watched YouTube tutorials of how to put it on until I finally got pretty good at it. People kept commenting on how effortlessly I donned it and carried Teddy, and I would say, modestly, "It's not as hard as it looks"—trying to imply that I'd been at it for years, thinking that made me look cool—and then Sam would say, "She just barely learned how!" thinking THAT made me look cool. Ha! Anyway, the wrap was great. It kept us both warm and I loved having a baby snuggled up on my chest.
I wasn't sure how it would be to fly with a six-week-old, but we were lucky! Theodore was so great. He liked flying (why shouldn't he; he was nursing most of the time!) and gave us lots of happy smiles, and slept when he wasn't smiling. Everyone in the world liked him. Of course.
On our way home, we found time to eat some poutine at one of the airport restaurants, and it was so good. I make poutine at home sometimes (using cheese curds, usually), but there's nothing quite like the real thing. Mmmm. (Poutine, I suppose I should explain, is french fries with cheese and gravy on top. My brother, who served his LDS mission in Montreal, introduced me to it. And my dear friend Rachael lives in Canada too, so I've also had it when visiting her.)
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Our hotel room looked out on Lake Ontario, and the harbor (or harbour, as the Canadians would have it) was covered with all these little jagged sheets of ice. They were constantly shifting around—not fast enough for you to see them moving, but so that after you'd looked away for awhile, they'd have formed new patterns and have new channels of water through them. At every time of day the light caught the ice differently, and it was so beautiful! I couldn't stop looking out the window.
I love how the colors are so muted in this one, it almost looks black-and-white.
We could also see the CN Tower from our window. Because I have some acquaintances who love tall buildings, I happened to know that the CN tower doesn't count as a true "building"—for height-counting purposes, it's just a "structure." And it used to be the tallest free-standing structure in the world. But the Burj Khalifa surpassed it a few years ago, to the poor CN's great chagrin, I'm sure. Still, it's the tallest tower in the Western Hemisphere, so there's that comfort.
Theo quite liked the hotel bed.
To my great delight, Theo and I got to eat lunch in the CN tower with some of the other workshop teachers. Sam was setting up for his workshop, so he didn't get to go, and I felt bad leaving him behind—but I've always wanted to eat in one of those revolving restaurants! And I never, ever thought I'd actually get to. So Sam sent me off with instructions to tell him all about it. It was so fancy! And you could tell it was revolving! (I've always wondered about that.) It was not so much it made you dizzy (at least, I didn't mind it), but you could definitely see movement. In fact it gave me the illusion that the windows were moving around us, at first, though it was actually us moving on a kind of circular platform around the central elevator shaft.
This guy has the perfect "waiter" silhouette
I only took pictures of my food so I could show Sam, but I tried to do it discreetly. :) It was all so good! Goat cheese and chive tart, butternut squash gnocchi, and some kind of maple tart with crème Anglaise.
The view was so pretty! I just wanted to sit and stare out the window, though I did manage to bestir myself and converse with people eventually, and that was lovely too.
Here's the same ice I could see from the hotel room, but from the tower you could see the whole expanse of it.
Later we went on a walk down by the harbor and got to see the ice up close. There were big, thick sheets of it floating around and bumping into each other, and birds were landing on them here and there. I don't know why I was so fascinated with the ice. It was just so beautiful!
Tiny sun-sparkles on the water
Puffed up pigeon trying to stay warm. It was really cold! Sunny, but windy and cold. Especially considering we had left warm Spring weather behind in Utah.
The other outing we got to go on was to a vineyard out past Niagara Falls. It was a beautiful estate, even in the winter when most of the trees were bare.
They gave us a tour of the winery, which was interesting. Non-drinkers that we are, wine and the whole world it inhabits is pretty much a vast unknown to us. So it was cool to see the cellar and the barrels and learn about all the aging and pressing and fermentation and so forth.
Sam and I looked on with feelings of slight bemusement during the tasting session, as everyone inhaled the aromas and swirled the wine around and held it on their tongues to taste the oaky undertones, and so forth. As I said, it's all foreign territory to us, so it felt like we were in a movie or something. :)
Then we got to eat a fancy dinner in the winery's restaurant, which also felt foreign. Courses? Multiple dessert spoons? What is this place? I felt quite apologetic turning down the wine after just barely learning about all that trouble they went to to make it. But the waiters were very nice and didn't (visibly, anyway) look down their noses at us, and the sparkling grape juice we had instead was quite yummy. :)
I had to take a picture of the place setting for Abe, who had learned all about such things at his Etiquette Dinner a few weeks ago. There was much conversation, along our side of the table, about this particular spoon (it's just above the menu in the picture above). We aired various hypotheses about its purpose and usage, but no one really seemed to know definitively, until Claire told us it usually went with the fish course, and was for scooping up the sauce. Trust a Frenchwoman to know her fancy untensils!
Baby Theo behaved himself like a true gentleman, cooing and smiling at everyone.
This was another restaurant we ate at, in a historic mansion in Toronto. It looked so gothic and spooky from outside!
Inside. I liked the marble floor and the fleur de lis wallpaper.
It was so fun to do such fancy things and have so many new experiences! I loved being with Sam and being able to meet new people together. In fact, that was my favorite part of it all: the interesting conversations, lingering over meals, learning about people with lives so different from my own.
And it was a little sad when the time came to go home, but we missed the other kids. And I was happy to have our simple little life to go back to, where there are no sauce spoons or four-course meals, but there IS still a cute little snuggly baby and lots of smart, funny helpers to snuggle with him.
And that's where I belong, really; and these cute guys both belong to me—and that makes me the luckiest person anywhere, I guess.