Toronto, 2005

My friend Dorothy was going to renew her vows on her first wedding anniversary, and this time I was determined to be there to celebrate with her.

Fri Aug 5

I took the T into work, with my backpack stuffed full of things I needed for the weekend. It was hot, and I had to stroll slowly in order to avoid sweating too much, very icky. Had a good day at work, and caught the 4pm bus that I was aiming for, and got to the airport in good time. I was a bit worried by the downpour and the lightening flickering around the route the shuttle took from the blue line to terminal C, but my flight was up on the board, listed as on time and with a gate. I'd done online check in (Air Canada started allowing that from US departure points again, woo!) and breezed through security after buying a bagel. I was early, so I also bought myself a green tea frozen drink (with extra uncrushed ice cubes, bleh) from the evil coffee shop, reading to pass the time. I had just settled in at my gate to pass the last few minutes before boarding when a distraught passenger started talking loudly about the flight being cancelled, all flights being cancelled and we had to go and rebook in the departure hall. An airline employee finally showed up and made an announcement, so I grabbed my pack and led the second flock of passengers out beyond security. The line was huge. I stood in it for a second, pondering, then whipped out my cell phone and my palm pilot and called Air Canada directly - I must have been the first to do so, as I got through after about 10s on hold, and the agent didn't know about the cancellation. She gave me a choice between the 6:30am and the 9:30am flights the next day, and I took the latter. I had stepped out of line once I was connected, and took a seat to finish up calling Axel (who had offered crash space), Steph (who was organising the stagette party that night), and Cris (to warn him that his solitary evening was at an end). Then I made the trip back to Watertown, arriving just after I should have taken off from Logan, and wasting 4 and a half hours going in circles. I gutted my pack and reduced the weight significantly, as I could recharge my palm and cell at home and didn't need to carry the palm keyboard for such a short trip. Got to bed early in anticipation of a 6:30am alarm.

Sat Aug 6

6:30am is actually quite pretty, and it was a *lot* cooler than it had been the day before. Cris was getting ready to head out on a long bike ride, but I made it out of the house first and out to the bus stop. I'd done online check in, again, and had a quick ride to the airport, deciding to arrive for my originally scheduled departure (as listed on the Logan site) instead of for the hour delayed departure (as listed on the Air Canada site), just in case. Security was busier this morning, and I got stuck behind a mother and daughter and three grandkids, complete with complicated stroller and kids backpacks and boarding cards tucked in purses about to go through the scanner. This time I didn't buy any snacks, settling in at the same gate to wait. No announcements of any delays, the loudspeaker was broken, and they moved the departure across the hall without putting it up on any signs. Lots of confusion abounded, and no one could hear the boarding calls by rows. Finally got on, and then sat and waited for a ground crew to push us back. Then all the snacks were for sale rather than free, but at least the strong tea was complimentary - I needed it by that point. I stayed buried in my book for the short flight, and got through immigration no problem, though they did try to get me to admit to trying to smuggle in a wedding present. I was 1.5 hours late, but there.

I then proceeded to get ripped off by the cabbie who was taking me downtown, as he tripped just over the fare zone edge at Dufferin, and didn't listen to my directions, or ask for qualifications. Eventually got there, too many dollars later, and ran out again to grab a sandwich. I went to the Ground Level Cafe on Queen, and put in my order. I was going to use the Ladies' Room to wash my hands before eating, but as I pushed open the door that was standing ajar, I was presented with the sight of a tall skinny guy with his shorts around his ankles standing at the sink. I *think* he said "I'm just finishing up", but I turned around and walked out, pulling the door shut behind me, before I could figure out if he was really peeing in the sink or doing genital cleansing. He came out eventually and sat across the cafe from me to finish his drink, then left soon after. *blink blink* I then had a chance to sit down and chat with Axel, and get the "see what's changed since I was swinging a sledge hammer at the walls at the house breaking party" tour, before cleaning up and changing to meet Siobhan for dinner at 4pm at Java Hut. We ended up sitting in the same booth where we first met, at a Cangoth list meet way back before C4. Siobhan joined us and we had a quick snack before walking over to Velvet Underground for 5pm. The food was being set out, and I ducked downstairs to change into my party top (formal halter corset for those that wondered where I got it) as it was nicely air conditioned in the club - two different women helped me in the bathroom, the privacy panel got folded up first, and then the laces got stuck on something. Ahh, social clothing. I think that was the first time I'd been back in since seeing the club scene in "Queen of the Damned", they really didn't use more than a 5th of the club, and it was their loss. We could see lots more detail than normal with the sun shining through the windows, but the staff put up curtains. We spotted Dorothy sneaking in and downstairs to change, and Tyler was spiffy in his top coat, white bow tie, and tails. Dorothy eventually emerged, after I'd had a nice long chat with people as they were showing up, and the re-wedding commenced. Her son was a bit squirmy, but lasted through most of the ceremony before being handed off to a grandparent. Cyn and the two of them were reading vows that had all of us laughing along with them, and the first dance was "We are the champions", by Queen, courtesy of Panic behind the decks. Then more music, and a chance to catch up a bit with Dorothy, and everyone else, and a wonderful chocolate cake courtesy of Steph.

When the doors opened to the general public at 9pm and the regular DJ came on, we (me, Axel, Steph, shillolo and beau, Trevor and fiance, Etienne, Dimitry and Rachel) repaired to the Bank Note for drinks. I joined Steph in having a half pint of cider to lighten the table under the load of Axel's Guinnesses, and had a cup of tea to try to combat the long-day-ish-ness of it all. Around 11/12, we finished up and the last few left straggled over to Savage Garden to finish up the night. As we were leaving the Bank Note, a group of people almost ran into us with the commend "Ooh, all in black, watch out!", and Trevor defused the situation with a return strike of "Ooh, all in white, have fun!". We only stayed at Savage for a while, I only recognised staff there (Brenda still looks miserable :/) and the music was cranked up loud enough to make my head vibrate into a headache. We chatted a while outside, then Axel and Etienne and I shared a cab back to Parkdale. I iced my foot for a bit, read a while, and was asleep by 2am.

Sun Aug 7

I totally didn't hear a thing when Siobhan got up for work stupid early this morning, she must have gone out the basement door, but I woke up on my own at around 9:30-10. I read for a bit, snacking on leftover raisins and peanuts from stuff I'd packed for the flight, and slamming down water to try and get rid of a bit of a headache. Once Axel was up, I took a bath and slathered on sunscreen in anticipation of facing a much warmer day. We walked down Queen toward Landsdown first, running into Jason, and popped into the drug store so I could get some allergy pills, the nice pharmacist getting them from behind the counter for me and warning me to only take one a day. We made our way back to the Cadillac Lounge for brunch, and it was awesome, decor wise. But ... they didn't have fresh orange juice, and only had green tea, no black, and had run out of blueberries for my pancake. I gave the okay to make strawberry pancakes (er just one big one) but they slathered on cinnamon and added chocolate whipped cream to the side of the plate - the combo didn't quite work, but the pancake itself was good and no bananas with the side order of fruit, and they had real maple syrup, so I was content, and finished it all. Steph, Martin, Dimitry, Jason, Etienne, Axel and I stayed for about 2 hours (and Monica arrived for the last half hour or so) before breaking up to go our separate ways.

I popped into a different cafe to get a cup of tea to go, and ordered a cup of Extra Bergamot Earl Grey Tea (Stash brand). The woman behind the counter said that she'd just found it, hadn't tried it yet, and she had no idea what bergamot tasted like. *blink blink* The tea was good enough to wake me up, though I ended up carrying it, letting it cool, as I walked down to King to catch a street car (construction on Queen messed up the TTC lines). I spotted BakkaPhoenix books as we went past Queen and Bathurst (kept thinking it was up at Bloor and Bathurst), got off at the next stop and bought "Roadkill" at Suspect Video, and then far too many books at Bakka. The register guy sniffed a bit at the hardcover of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince", but overall it was a worlds better experience than dealing with the staff at Pendemonium. I picked up "Haunted", "Every Which Way But Dead", "Snow" (a snow white retelling that looked neat and came with a staff reccie), "Smoke and Shadows", and one more that I can't quite recall. Almost picked up Ian Banks' "The Algebraicist", but I've got it on request at the library. Book purchases were justified by knowing I had a ride to the airport later, and didn't have to spring for a cab. :) The Potter book was from Raincoast Books, bought in Toronto to get the non-translated-to-American version printed on recycled paper - it was fun to see "snogging" mentioned in it. :) Popped into a few more stores looking for "Waydowntown" on DVD, for fabric for a skirt (most of the stores were closed), and did buy a t-shirt for Cris at a store where I tried on a skirt that they didn't have in medium and passed on - the large sort of fit, but really low on my hips. Have to dig up the designers website and check to see if I can do a custom order... or just bloody well do my own take on it, I've wanted to do a similar skirt in a Chinese bat print red silk brocade, I could just redo the pattern in black ripstop nylon, and use plastic tubing instead of cloth straps.

Took the streetcar back over to Parkdale and trudged up from King. Tried to get everything back into my pack, and then walked over with Sio and Axel to Steph and Martin's, so that M. could give me a ride to the airport. I got the $2 tour of the new house first, very neat spaces. We made it up to the airport in good time, and I breezed through the kiosk checkin and immigration (though I had to fill out an I94 on the spot, the officer didn't quiz me) and security. I still had an hour before boarding, so I looked around for the Maple Leaf lounge (I had a couple of one time passes from my Aeroplan card), finally finding it right in front of security, where I should have looked first. I actually got carded as I went in (you have to be over 18 to be in there by yourself - !), but the place was an oasis of calm in the midst of the hectic buzz of the airport. I settled into a leather armchair, in the corner of the dim room, reading light perfectly centered on my book, and began the new Harry Potter. Bliss. :) The flight boarded on time, and I was among the first in in my section, settled and reading. I ended up buying the "salmon snack" (basically salmon salad filling with crackers to spread it on) and it filled me up nicely. Cris picked me up and regalled me with stories from his day long ride on Saturday as we wound along Storrow Drive and home. I iced my foot once I got home and read some more. I finished the book on Monday. :)

Much too short a trip, I wish I'd had lots more time to hang out - next time I'm making it a long weekend, if at all possible. It was great to see everyone, though it made me miss living in Toronto more than ever.

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