IceFest and a Birthday Party

It snowed a LOT on Saturday. We pottered around a bit in the morning before braving the snow to go grocery shopping. As Glen has blogged, doing non-fun stuff in the snow is a hassle. Getting to the shops takes longer and involves a more circuitous or dangerous route. There are big snow banks on either side of the road so you have to climb up them before you can go down them. And then, when you dash across the road, you’ve got to be extra careful not to slip in the sludge in front of a car you didn’t see coming. It’s even less funny when you’ve got a shopping cart with you.

But we made it to the shops and bought a tonne of stuff for my birthday party that evening. We perhaps should have tempered our buying a bit as when we paid for our groceries, we filled up the cart as well as four shopping bags. One of the exciting purchases we made was a small bottle of Angostura Bitters. Outside of Australia no one’s heard of a lemon, lime and bitters. Bec and I were talking about it the other day so it was a surprise to find bitters in the supermarket. I bought lime cordial and 7UP too.

We headed home through the snow which was now coming down sideways. Glen was loaded up with three of the bags, while I had the shopping trolley and another bag. I had the easier end of the bargain. When we got home, we realised we’d definitely bought too much stuff to fit in the fridge. Luckily, the balcony doubles-up as a fridge so we stored a few things out there.

I prepared a couple of dishes such as French onion dip and chicken meatballs, as well as a couple bottles of frozen strawberry vodka. With a few things left to buy, we decided to leave the house again, braving the snow, and check out Icefest.

Icefest 2015

Icefest is a little street festival put on by the Bloor-Yorkville businesses to promote their wares and get people looking at the rich part of town. The special features though were the ice sculptures, including ice carving demonstrations. It had taken us a little while to trudge over to the area as the footpaths were thick with snow. We watched a little bit of the ice carving, bought a hot chocolate, and checked out the rest of the ice sculptures. The theme was ‘Frozen in Time’ so there were a few monuments and a lot of Egyptian and Aztec/Mayan themed sculptures.

We didn’t stay very long as unless you’re skiing in the stuff, falling snow isn’t that conducive to standing around and looking at things. My camera was getting wet too. So we dropped off some Nespresso pods for recycling and then heading down to Bulk Barn to buy a few more things for the party.

Bulk Barn is a dangerous place to go. They sell everything in tubs so you can choose exactly how much of whatever you want. It sells everything from herbs, spices, and flours, to nuts, dried fruit and soup mix. It also sells a lot of chocolate and lollies. Apart from the sesame seeds and hazelnuts which I needed, we also bought two lots of M&Ms, Cookies ‘n’ Cream Hersheys Chocolates and some gummi bears. We had to leave before we bought more.

From there it was a quick stop at Loblaw’s for lunch and to buy bread and sushi. We decided to walk home. It wasn’t snowing so hard by that time but the walk home was arduous. We were hot and worn out by the end of schlepping through that snow. I think perhaps the novelty has worn off (though I still get a bit of a thrill looking out the window and seeing the snow. Just not so keen about going out in it.)

Because of all the food we were going to be eating (and the drinking) that night, we went to the gym in the condo for a while and worked on shoulders. I’m glad we went. It also tired me out for a nap when we got back. I finished making dukkah and then went to bed for a couple of hours.

Celebrating My 32nd

After one last tidy up and laying out of the food, we were ready for our first guests to arrive. Ur and Israel arrived first, which was nice as we got a chance to catch up one-on-one. They gave me a bottle of wine and an iTunes gift card which will certainly be put to good use. Cam and Vince arrived next, and then the neighbours shortly after, with Jose coming around 9.

Drinks were served, food was eaten. There was probably a little bit too much sushi but at least no one went hungry and there wasn’t an excess that we had to throw out a lot. People chatted, fun was had. We had cake that Bec made which had a chocolate-type fudge base and a chocolate meringue on the top. It was delicious.

I then opened the rest of my gifts. Subway station magnets from Cam and Vince (they’re like Glen’s badges but these ones are magnets and will go great on our fridge when we get home). A new game from Pete and Royden based on the Archer TV show (I’m sure it’ll be very inappropriate). Marco and Eliano bought me a Roots beanie which I love. And Bec and Al also gave me a game called Telestrations which is like Chinese whispers but with drawing. We played it and it was hilarious.

For example, you choose a word, write it down in your pad, turn the page and draw it. Then you pass it to the next person who has to write down what they think the drawing is of then flip the page and pass it to the next person, who has to draw the word, and so on until the pad gets back to you. Each person then goes through their pad showing what the word was originally and then the different permutations. Out of three rounds with eight people each round, I think there were only four whose words came back correct. There were a lot of laughs.

The party started to wind down about ten or so. Alastair had a bad back and was a real trooper for staying as long as he did. Ur and Is had to return to the kids and gradually people drifted away into the night. It was a great party.

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