Piri Piri Tourtiere Debate

I’m sitting in my car watching the snow fall in Victoria Park. When I was in Portugal I regarded Christmas displays depicting pine trees and snow-covered hills. It’s strange to be in a foreign country and realise that their images of Christmas are your home country’s reality. We live in a Christmas card; why is this the dominant Christmas picture?

I’m drinking coffee and eating a nata tart. I don’t think I liked nata before I went to Portugal and now I find myself daydreaming about them. At  Farm Boy there were four tarts in the bakery. The smiling staff member put them in a box for me – it seemed a lucky omen; four tarts, four kids coming for Christmas! But as I took a couple of steps away and sampled a chocolate croissant, it occurred to me that I hadn’t purchased myself a tart.  There were no more in the display but luckily two steps further there packages of six. One extra tart is a much more easily solved problem.

I had been to Fairview Mall, Kitchener to set up WiFi for my apartment now that I’m moving back there. The staff member who sold me my cell phone plan at Virgin Mobile had offered to let me know when WiFi deals came up, which she did a few days ago. I ran it by my son just to make sure, and then told her I’d be there Christmas Eve in the morning to set it up. It went smoothly and it’s a great deal – if you’re looking for a cell phone package or wireless plan I totally recommend Lisa at the Fairview Mall Virgin Mobile kiosk. Now I’ve got to think of a witty name for my WiFi network. Previously it was called folkiekitten, but things have changed. Things have shifted. I just don’t identify with that network name anymore. If you have any suggestions let me know.

So I found myself down by Fairview Mall which is kitty-corner to Farm Boy. Last night I had looked unsuccessfully for two different food items in three different stores: brussel sprouts and a cottage roll. There’s a good chance that cottage roll just doesn’t exist in Southern Ontario. I picked up a piri-piri chicken last night though, thinking it might be a nice Christmas Eve dinner tie in to my time in Portugal. So anyway after signing for the WiFi, I drove my sleigh over to the Farm Boy to see if they had either cottage roll or brussel sprouts. This was overall a Christmas spending tactical error. I really like Farm Boy and want everything they sell (apart from the seafood, gross, sea-bugs). I didn’t need that hot chocolate. I definitely don’t need eggnog fudge for dessert. I’m just not very good at resisting things that please me. The brussel sprouts were terribly expensive. I stood there in the bright light of Farm Boy googling “brussel sprouts shortage 2018”, and sure enough it’s the reality. I quickly posted about this telling the kids that they’ll be having kale. It’s okay. They like kale. Wandering along to the deli area I was transfixed by their homemade tourtiere. Tourtieres are Christmas food. I picked one up to ascertain the heft of it, and then stood there amongst all the happy Farm Boy customers just pondering tourtiere. It would be delicious; you could tell because they also had half-pies sealed in plastic where you could see the meaty insides. Maybe we should have tourtiere for Christmas Eve dinner. But I already have piri-piri chicken. On the other hand, sweet potato casserole would go much better with tourtiere, though kale could go with either. And if we’re going to have tourtiere and go with a Canadian Christmas, why do I have nata tarts for dessert? Will we just have eggnog fudge for dessert without the tarts? Why do I even have tarts, fudge, a tourtiere AND a chicken? That’s a lot of food, I already spent over $100 last night and now I’m going to spend another $50? It’s a luxury to even consider the possibility of having two Christmas dinners available. It’s a luxury to be indecisive as to what to eat this evening. Trying to decide between two expensive proteins for a whimsical dinner on the holidays it’s definitely a sign of privilege. I’m really lucky that I can afford this. On second thought, CAN I afford this? I have no income at the moment – I can’t really afford anything. My sense of abundance, my sense of being able to afford tourtiere or piri-piri chicken or tarts or fudge – it’s all an illusion. Mind you, when I felt I could afford nothing and so I tried to do without anything – that was also an illusion. Scarcity is an illusion. Abundance is an illusion. All things are allusion but arguably  also very, very real. Is our reality an illusion? These are heavy thoughts, heavier even than the tourtiere I was still holding standing motionless in the deli section.

I watched a happy couple experience a Christmas miracle. The Farm Boy employee (all the Farm Boy employees are always smiling what is with this place) was presenting to them their Christmas dinner in a box. I cannot begin to describe the pure joy and delight on the faces of this man and this woman as the box containing turkey dinner complete with every trimming including directions for assembly was revealed. I decided right then and there that regardless of what this year’s Christmas dinner was going to be, next year I was giving myself the gift of a Christmas dinner box from Farm Boy – providing I’ve worked out the conundrum of abundance and scarcity, or maybe just found a job.

Gathering moss

Sitting at McCabe’s waiting on Improv friends. It’s $8 beef dip, baby. Where’s the beef? Here, dripping hot and cheap like ya like it.

This blog post has no purpose apart from to ooomph me some momentum. I’m talking to real people a bunch now and the voices in my head are getting antsy.

How would the rolling stone translate? A scribbling writer gathers no… tedious inertia? I dunno, that’s awful, tell me what it should be. But the point is if I’m blogging then I’m more likely to post but when I stop for a week, like if I’m unexpectedly slammed by jetlag and wander about concussed for a week, then I don’t blog. I write “blog” on my to-do list and then I don’t ever scratch it off and I feel guilty and like I’m unworthy and all those thoughts that were dealt with in therapy, weren’t they?

OK the first friend is here for our pre Theatre on the Edge beef dips!

Blog, crossed off!

Logistical Fail

It’s 8:30 pm and they just brought me a Super Bock stout. They’re gonna pair it up with some olives, because olives. I took a selfie to attach to this post but I couldn’t recognize myself so I’ll take a picture of olives. Ah maybe the selfie too. We’ll see.

I didn’t go out this morning because I discovered how nice the sunroom can be with the windows open wide. I wrote out there with my morning coffee. I meditated in the sun. Naked even. I watched a neighbour watch their cat.

I made breakfast for lunch and spent an hour or so trying to figure out places and events for my remaining ten days here. Mostly just ended up with a list of places to eat. I’m sure a lot happens here but to an outsider it looks mainly like lots of haircuts, cafes and cerveza.

The next X unit of time, I applied for a Ontario Arts Council grant. That sounds so casual. I wrestled with my will and self-doubt and forced myself to apply for an Ontario Arts Council grant.

I lost time in some conversations and in trying to decide if I can see the Fantastic Beasts movie here now and then it was 7:30 and I hadn’t dressed yet and low blood sugar was making me dumb and clumsy.

So I exchanged my comfy clothes for only slightly more acceptable comfy clothes and put on a hat to cover my day old bed head. Threw my Visa card in one pocket and two bags in the other and I was off to the local grocery shop. They know me there now. I thought they’d be proud I finally remembered to bring bags.

They were closed.

I can’t keep track of when places open and close here; though, I am also losing track of what day it is.

(just realized this artisanal burger joint is streaming an english jazz station)

Anyway so I can’t get food to eat at home and I’m dressed like a middle-aged, too lazy to bother, tourist hipster. I lurch down the street, past the understated whore house, around a corner that houses a restaurant I want to try but they’re full and find this burger place that has English on their menu with the Portuguese which is good because by now my eyes are getting blurry from hunger.

Luckily there’s no real way a tourist should look. I don’t take my hat off. Feels rude but it’s for the best all round. And anyway, my hat matches my hair.

The burger is one of the best I’ve ever had. Probably they eat all the time here because the food is so damn good.

Anyway, I could have planned that day a whole lot better. But I didn’t and it didn’t really matter and I got to bask in the sun and I beat the grant demon and I look bizarre but noone cares and that dinner was amazing. The only real downside is I have no cash so I can’t tip.

I don’t even remember why I started telling you all this. This jazz is smooooth. I think it’s Friday. Oh right. The olives. And the selfie. Maybe you’ll figure out who I am now.