As the April trip Chris and I took to Canada didn't end particularly well, I've been reluctant to blog about it as I've not wanted to remember how and why our vacation came to a screeching halt. But it's June now, and being lucky enough to be counted amongst the living, I think it's time I got back to my life and the normal things I do, like blogging. Chris posted the photos a few entries before this, so now I'm here to post the details.
So hey, we went to Canada in April! The Fan Expo April Fan Appreciation show happened to fall on my birthday this year, so we jumped at the invite our friend Tiziano extended to Chris to be a guest at the show. The Fan Expo shows in Toronto are always great shows, and you can find more information about the big one in August here. Chris and I figured since we usually take a road trip on birthdays, Toronto would be a great destination. We could do the show, see friends, and buy geeky stuff, a perfect birthday.
We went up early to see our friends Sara and Henning and their 2 kids, Gavin and Vala. We arrived Thursday night when the kids were being put to bed, so we came in quietly as not to cause excitement right before bedtime. Us grownups stayed up late chatting and snacking, and we managed to not wake the children. The next day was a lazy day for everyone except Gavin, who we heard tried to scale the preschool fence for some reason! When he came home, we packed up the kids and Sara took me and Chris to a diner called The Fickle Pickle. Very cool little place, and I recommend the reuben. Chris kept Vala's attention by drawing animals on her placemat, and she was pretty impressed.
After lunch the plan was a nap for Vala, and Sara would go into the city with Chris and I to hang out, since Chris has seen very little of Toronto. We usually go for the convention, and we never seem to build in enough time to do the show and see other parts of the city. When I was there by myself last year, Sara took me to Queen Street with all the fun shops so I figured this would be a good thing to show Chris, too. Well, Vala did not like this plan, at least the nap part of it, so Henning and the kids came with us. Rather than drag the kids into a boring old record shop, we decided to walk along the waterfront since none of us had spent much time there. It was very pretty, and Chris and I realized that on previous trips we'd been really close to the water and had no idea, thus proving how we don't get out enough while in Toronto. We stopped at a coffee shop for snacks and drinks, and I ordered a a raspberry lemonade smoothie that Gavin wanted to try. He liked it so much he held onto it as I tried to pull it back, and when I said "Gavin, this is MY drink" he responded with "But I just want to drink it." Oh, okay, if that's all you were going to do... kids! So then of course this meant I played a game of "MINE" with someone 30 years younger than me. I need to grow up. But at least I won that round. He's a hilarious child.
After the waterfront, Sara and Henning took the kids home and Chris and I checked into our hotel. Well not before we went to the drugstore on the corner for something to drink. I am a huge fan of Canadian snack foods and beverages, so I was happy to see that I could stock up on Red Tangerine Fanta, Fries'N Gravy Lays and Maynard's anything, really. Maynard's makes gummi candy that is amazing and north of the border only, so I spent most of my time on a major sugar high. We pretty much went right to bed after showers that night, since convention(kids+walking)=exhausted.
The convention itself was as always great fun. They kindly provided lunch so I was able to get my Pizza Pizza fix, and Chris had a line most of the time and that is always a mark of a good show. I finally got to meet the real live persona of Johnny Sarcastic, who is a great guy and has agreed to be my Canadian Pez hookup. He's already hooked me up with the Canadian/Euro versions of the Disney Fairies, and is currently keeping his eyes peeled for the plush whale I still need. He's a good egg, that Johnny!
I usually try to keep my spending to a minimum since I don't want to deal with customs, but I found a new obsession, KidRobot Simpsons toys. There is currently a series of 24, and I have 13 so far. They come in unmarked packaging, so you have no idea which character you are buying until you open it. And there is no cheating or peeking, since they all have the same UPC numbers, and they are sealed in foil bags inside the boxes. They are like trading cards, and it is so exciting to get one you don't have, and just as heartbreaking to get one that is a duplicate.
Saturday night, the convention organizers took us to dinner at this very cool restaurant called Richtree. It has the look of an open market, but they give you a card that gets swiped at every station you get food from, and this way you don't have to be carrying a tray and fumbling with money at the same time, you just cash out the card at the checkout. It was very cool, and the food, specifically the potato rosti, was amazing. The place has no plans for US expansion, so I recommend it if you are ever in the Toronto area. I liked it so much, I made Chris take me there for dinner again Sunday night for my birthday!
Sunday at the convention, Tiziano came up to me with a birthday cake! It was so sweet of him and it was very fun to have pretty much everyone know it was my birthday! This cake was a light sponge cake with raspberry and a cheesecake filling. I must ask the name of the bakery since I think I'll have my cake next year imported. Thanks again everyone from Fan Expo, this was a great time!
After the show, we drove around a bit looking for places we might want to go Monday after we checked out of the hotel and before we drove back. Johnny Sarcastic mentioned that Pez can often be found at the dollar stores, but the one we found had closed like 6 minutes before we got there, so we just went back to the hotel, packed and relaxed before our long drive the next day. Of course, then next day we wound up racing to Cleveland as fast as possible, but I'm glad we did. We got there in time for me to see my cousin before she succumbed to her injury from the day before (I'm trying not to focus on the fact that this happened on my birthday). Even though she was in a coma, I was glad I had one last chance to see her. Chris drove, thankfully, and he got me to Ohio quickly and legally, and I am forever grateful for that. I was in no condition to drive, that's for sure.
Next time we're in Toronto, I have to make sure to make time to get Chris to Queen Street. Hopefully we'll be back soon, since I'm almost out of my Maynard's stockpile.