My birthday was yesterday, and it was on a day so hot that even I quailed. I had to teach some preschool classes in the morning, and by the time I met my sweetheart and biked to the PNE for some deep-fried meat and other healthy snacks I was so exhausted and irritable that I couldn't quite give in to the carefree enjoyment that a trip to the fair demands. I even snapped a few times at my poor love, who is so swamped with work and yet still took time off to cater to my wishes because it was my special day. (Sorry, Jay.) We got our coveted free-entry stamps so that we could come back to the fair that evening and see Tom Cochrane perform, and then we biked (so uphill! much panting!) to Black Rook Bakehouse because I needed birthday cake, dammit! But as I slumped, sweaty and defeated, over my Molly Cake, I had to accept the fact that
- nothing could take the place of Blacksmith Bakery's peerless Chocolate Guinness Cake, which I'd had in Fort Langley on my birthday last year, and
- It was just too hot for sugar, even though (or maybe especially because) I've been cutting back so drastically on it lately.
Luckily, things started looking up once we got sensible and dragged ourselves over to New Brighton Park for some much needed r&r. Not right away though, because I'd just bought myself a Knapbag. Are inflatable couches all the rage where you live? They certainly are here. Unfortunately, my couch didn't come with instructions, and therefore I took out the plastic lining inside of it, not realizing (silly girl!) that you need those liners, because that's where you trap the air. Whoops.
Luckily, Jay is made of sterner stuff, and he soon figured out how to re-insert the lining. Thanks to my love, I was able to lounge comfortably after all! And he appreciated it too, because he could use it as a backrest while he sat and sketched, which was part of the work that he needed to do. Win-win!
Later, we went back to the fair to watch Tom Cochrane and Red Rider play. Although we were both tired, the air cooled as the sun went down, and Tom played a great set as we cheered and sang along in the night air. Honestly, these fairground shows are mostly nostalgia acts, meaning you'll often see performers in their waning years, but many of them are still super-tight, sounding great, and seem genuinely happy to be there. Tom had tons of energy, and his voice was as good as ever. I can't think of too many bands that are more quintessentially Canadian than this one.
As usual, I like to spread my birthday over several days. Why have one celebration when you can have three?
Last Saturday I had a little picnic in another local park. It was very last-minute, and very small. I panicked about inviting people for several reasons:
- Vancouverites are infamous for saying they'll be somewhere and then bailing.
- This trait gets even worse in the summer.
- What if I set it all up and then the weather changed? (This was the dumbest concern, as it hasn't rained in over a month.)
- Did I really want a large group of semi-friends, or just a small group pf people I really wanted to see?
In the end, I went with a small group of friends. I had my band, my boyfriend, and my mom. And a shit-ton of food. We hung out, we drank illicit alcohol in the park, we played music, we ate (not as much as we should have- I bought waaaaayyyyyy too much stuff), and we sunned ourselves. It was easy and perfect.
The next day, my dad and his girlfriend arrived for a quick visit. Thanks to the weather, it was also easy and perfect. We ate dinner en famille on Commercial Drive. We walked over 15km around downtown and Stanley Park, much to the delight of my dad's girlfriend, who's hardly ever been to Vancouver. And on their last night we simply barbecued steaks in my back yard, invited my landlord to join us for dessert, and sat in the summer darkness: me, Jay, landlord, dad, and girlfriend- just talking and laughing and enjoying family time. It was a delightful birthday week.