Our back door, snow shovel and broom on guard. It’s hard to take pictures of falling rain, especially in the dark. This morning there’s sheets of ice everywhere.
We all have something we’d like to write about, but that doesn’t really “fit” our blog. Write it anyway.
If there’s something I’d like to write about, I just go right ahead and write about it. My blog is all over the place.
However, there are many things that I rarely do, and today I did one of them. I went to church. This was never part of my holiday plans, but sometimes circumstances pull me in strange directions. My sister sings in a choir group called Makin’ Waves, and today I went along with her to keep her company on a 45 minute drive, and to hear her group perform at the 150th anniversary of this small country congregation. We had to be there early, so I was lucky enough to claim a seat in the last row (YAY – I love the last row!) and watch while the place filled up to over flowing. I’m going to say there were over 300 people there, but there may have been more. Not a good place to be if you’re claustrophobic on a hot muggy day. Or any kind of day I suppose.
A church service is a nice relaxing thing to sit through (or in this case, to pop up and down in, to alternately sing and keep quiet) especially from a back row seat where you can take your cues from all the people in front of you, because you neglected to pick up a program and thus have no clue what’s going to happen next. There was a lovely little lady beside me who kept thrusting the hymn book into my hands even though I wasn’t familiar with what they were singing. It was a well planned service and they definitely saved the best for last, as Makin’ Waves sang the Lords Prayer. It was absolutely beautiful.
As I’m writing this, the recommended tags that are coming up are all religious in nature. My blog posts are NEVER about church, although I grew up attending one every Sunday until I went off on my own and married a heathen. Actually he grew up sporadically attending church as well, but wishing he had gone fishing instead. As adults we have never belonged to any specific religious group, so my random appearances at church are always very nostalgic in nature.
We skipped the luncheon provided afterwards, and went out for lunch instead. This type of activity is more normal for me, as is the venue.
Only three more days left in my Ontario holiday and then I head back home and back to normal. Churchless once more.
Last night I had an unforgetable dining experience. I was catered to by five industrious people right in the comfort of my own basement.
I learned about this new eatery – The Bakery Down Town – when a hand printed flyer was personally delivered to me in my living room. It said to come on down and eat there – it’s great! Well I am a sucker for skillful advertising. I decided to check it out, and went just as I was. Good thing there was no rule banning bare feet and that no one seemed at all concerned when I arrived without any real money.
At the bottom of the stairs a sign directed me to “Go to the Front Desk Before Anything Else”. The front desk turned out to be way in the back, but I found it anyway. It had a sign written in red pen which said “Open, Come In, Come In.” I thought I was already in, but apparently not. Another sign advised me of the names and duties of all the “employese“. Kenzie – front desk. Kale – art worker and boss. Omayja – hostess and waitress. Madison – chef. Corey – janitor. (Well, somebody’s got to clean up the mess.)
I was handed a menu and a customer comment sheet and a pen. Then I was directed around some furniture to a skipping rope strung between a chair and a doorknob and ceremoniously allowed to cross to the other side. This took a few minutes because somebody had tied a few too many knots.
– Popcorn (with any flavoring) – Fluffy Ice Cream (any kind) – Bread (any kind)
– Cake (any kind) – Cupcakes (any kind) – Salted Corn
– Spiced and cooked onions (you can get them unspiced)
– Salad (with anything on it) – Dried Fruit (any type) – Noodles (any type)
– Fruit Smoothies – Ice Creamy Shakes – Juice (any type)
– Water – Pancakes – French Toast – Eggs and Toast
I rattled off several random menu items, but my waitress got frustrated trying to write them all down. She said she’d just go and get it all by remembering. I told her that would be fine. The Boss popped in to set the mood for a pleasant dining experience and asked me if I liked Lady Gaga. He didn’t stick around for an answer so I don’t know what song it was, but it was definitely her.
The service was very fast, and the presentation quite fascinating. I needed help with identification in a few cases and everyone, including the janitor, seemed eager to help me out. A lot of the food resembled shiny plastic, but most of it was hand crafted from something that looked a lot like moon sand, in a rainbow of colours, on various mismatched plates and platters.
I had hardly stopped ooohing and aahhing over it all before I was being urged to fill out the comment card. The rating scale was (1) bad, (2) okay, (3) not bad, (4) very good, and (5) the best. There were instructions to rate the cooking, cleaning, deep-frying and manners. I gave them all a 10 and five messy red stars. Then I had to say what I liked best, and I told them I was thrilled to get the best table in the house. Would I come again? You bet. Did I think they should have more ABATIZERS? Well, it couldn’t hurt.
So what do you do after a delicious dinner at a fancy new restaurant? Well, you see a movie, of course. Right in the establishments dining room. With REAL popcorn. (That moon sand stuff is kind of dry.) I invited the whole crew. It was the least I could do to reward all their hard work. Seeing as how I didn’t bring a tip and all.
Maybe I’d call it “chez grandmalin”.
When I picked grandmalin as a ‘user name’ all I was doing was putting grandma together with Lin. Seemed innocent enough until someone who knows a lot more about the French language than I ever will wanted to know why I called myself grand malin, or “big malignancy”. Sigh.
‘Malin’ can also translate to ‘clever’, so maybe somewhere in the back of my brain in that tiny little cluster of cells where my french is stored, I thought I was being grandly smart.
Anyway, I don’t want to own a restaurant, and I sincerely hope no one can make me do that. Nor do I want to scare off French-speaking people with duplicitous names.
I think a small coffee shop might be something I could handle, or that I could get other people to manage and run while I sit around drinking coffee all day. And since I seem to have French in my head at the moment, maybe I could call it The French Press. And then people would come in looking for foreign language newspapers.
Buzz Because. Would that work? Please don’t tell me it translates into something sinister in Greek. I don’t care.
My mother was the best cook I’ve ever known. We grew up on a farm eating home-grown, home cooked meals. What restaurant can compete with that? I don’t think I even realized our hometown had restaurants until I was about 10 years old. Mom once took us into a small diner partway through a shopping day, just to get us all something to drink, and my sister and I were awestruck. We started nudging each other and whispering that it was just like what people did on tv! Then I imagine mom felt sorry for her poor ignorant and deprived offspring and went all out and ordered us something to eat as well. I have no memory now of what we ate, but I know we talked about the experience for days.
When I was in highschool we used to walk downtown to the Lido Cafe, a Chinese restaurant where it took all of our cafeteria lunch money to get one egg roll with plum sauce. But the whole point was to get away from the school, maybe consider skipping a class or two, and see how many cigarettes we could smoke in half an hour. The food was hardly a consideration.
Eating out has always been more about the people I’m with, the ambiance and the atmosphere, the service and the presentation. Plus I like just about anything at all that somebody else prepares, so it’s hard to nail down a favourite.
When I was a teenager, there was a concession stand at the beach though, that made the absolute best french fries I’ve ever eaten. They were made with fresh potatoes, peeled and chopped right there behind the counter. Some one told me they had three different fryers with oil at various temperatures, and every batch had to go through each carefully timed stage. The wait was worth it.
The fries were hot and crisp and salty and the oil and vinegar soaked through the paper cone on our way back across the sand. Before we were even plunked back down on our beach blanket the gulls would be circling, screeching, ready to dive bomb and scoop up whatever was dropped.
But do I really remember how they tasted? Or were they that good because the sun was hot on our sun lotioned skin, the breeze from the lake was warm and fresh, the sand felt soft between our toes? Was it because there were always guys with a football or a frisbee showing off while they waited for us to join their game? And later when we were hot and out of breath, the water would feel amazing?
The company, the atmosphere, and the presentation – that little concession stand on the beach had it all. I’ve had excellent seafood meals in posh places with exemplary service and fabulous wine. But the sun and the sand were missing. There were no screaming seagulls. The fries were tasty, but without that subtle hint of Coppertone, they’re just not the same.