We went to Toronto and I got to have a sleepover with Marshall, Uncle Todd and Aunt Charlie!
This week was all about this weekend!
Obviously with the down note we ended last week on, this week it was fantastic to have something so much better to focus on. A few weeks back, I managed to win tickets to see one of our all-time favourite band Stars. Danielle and I have mutually loved this band for some time and try to never miss a chance to see them live.
About a month ago they were supposed to play London, we had tickets and were all set for a grownup night out to see them play. We arrived at the venue only to find out that the show had been cancelled due to a family emergency very last minute. We were obviously bummed. They were set to play three nights in Toronto this weekend to honour the tenth anniversary of one of their most critically acclaimed and popular albums but we didn’t get tickets because we were (or so we thought) seeing them in London. So when the London show was cancelled, it was too late to get tickets for the already sold out Toronto shows. So, I was resigned to missing them… that was until I won a set of tickets through the band’s Facebook page.
That put the wheels in motion to cobble together quickly weekend down to Toronto to visit (and stay with) Marshall, Todd and Charlie. Uncle Todd was game for watching Emelia so Danielle and I could sneak off and see the show. And Emelia of course, thinking her Uncle Todd is the bee’s knees was also up for an evening of fun. It didn’t hurt that she also got to spend time with her cousin Marshall!
So once Emelia was done gymnastics Saturday afternoon, we booted down to Toronto and spent a bit of time visiting with Todd and Marshall before we headed out to meet up with some other friends also going to the show for a bite to eat before. As always, the group represented some fantastic friends we’ve made through CBC Radio 3 and a shared love of Canadian music—coming from Buffalo, Ann Arbor, Etobicoke, Toronto (of course) and us from lowly ole London. And there were some even newer faces to the group!
As if Stars playing the Set Yourself On Fire album from start to finish wasn’t enough amazing in one night, when we got into the venue there was our good friend Julie Fader up on stage in the opening act, Laser, a newer project she’s involved with. And better yet the singer in Laser is Lisa Lobsigner is an artist I have adored for some time in the other projects she’s been part of—most notable Reverie Sound Revue and Broken Social Scene. Laser was truly a fantastic surprise start to the evening.
Now… for the reason we came to Toronto (aside from the visit with Charlie, Todd and Marshall, of course!): Stars. The kicker to the whole evening was that as we were headed out the door saying our goodnights to Emelia she said she didn’t understand why Mommy and Daddy were having a grownup night out without her, to Stars who happen to be her favourite band! We explained how it was not an all ages show and that she wouldn’t be allowed, and none of that seemed to suffice. She did eventually manage to allow us to go to see her band. And, I would be lying if the indie hipster Dad inside me wasn’t cataloguing this moment of cool to my permanent database.
So… to the show: It was everything I had hoped it would be. I identify with that album on so many levels. Mostly because way back when it was released in 2004/5 I had given up interest in new music because there was very little interesting things coming out. That was until through our friend Judyth, we were introduced to this album. To this day I can remember the surprise that: music could be good; it could sound like something that mattered; and, that it could be Canadian of all things! So, to hear this album, completely as I had become acquainted with it, was pretty darned awesome. But, the better part was, the encore, that seemed to last as long as the show, featured other absolute favourites, and the night closed out with their cover of The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl holiday classic, “The Fairytale of New York“. It was the perfect ending to a perfect night of music.
We scurried home so we could relieve Todd of Emelia minding/Daddy duty so he could spend the last bit of the night out with Chantelle and a bunch of his friends that happened to be at The Dakota that night. It felt great to return the favour to Todd that he afforded us by watching Emelia. Danielle and I relaxed on their couch to the view of the Toronto skyline while the kids blissfully slept. And then, shortly after we followed suit.
This morning as we always try to do when in Toronto on the weekend, we made it to The Dakota for the Bluegrass Brunch. Any of the friends still in town for the show met up with Charlie, Marshall, Danielle, Emelia and I and we had our fill of sausage, scrambled eggs, home-fries, and flapjacks set to the backdrop of bluegrass music. The kids danced, the grownups laughed, and it was a great time. We wrapped up, hugged out our goodbyes and had a good walk back to Charlie & Todd’s place in the unseasonably warm and sunny weather. We spent a bit of time visiting back at the apartment before we loaded up the truck to make our way back home.
As I sit here thinking about the great weekend we had and how it was the perfect answer to last week, I am thankful for all the things that remind us – especially at this time of year – what matters most: family, friends, and the music that threads us together. How an album back in 2004 convinced me it was okay to be passionate and in love with music again and that love would make me some of the best friendships Danielle and I have. Even though that album turned ten years old this year, it hasn’t aged one bit. And it’s still a beauty!
This weekend was a perfect flip of the hard emotions of the last week. After saying good-bye to my beloved Skylar I picked up my broken heart and we turned our focus back on the upcoming holiday.
This week was a very busy one. I had to wrap up the last of the Christmas preparations. It meant lots of nights out getting things in order and some later nights putting some last minute touches on Emelia’s presents. As I type this the second coat of paint is drying on one of her bigger present from John and I, a bunkbed for her much loved American Girl dolls.
This week was a big wrap up week. This week Emelia finished up school for the week so it meant I had to assure all the gifts were in order for school as well as baking some goodies for her class party. Although I do not enjoy baking at all I do love that Emelia wants to do this with me. She loves being in the kitchen and I take each time to talk to her about healthy food, making food we love from scratch with the hope that it stays with her and if she is in there with me she will want to try more food and learn to cook along side me.
The week was very busy, but before we knew it the weekend was here and the manic rush to get everything in order was done (for the most part) and we could focus the last weekend before Christmas on time with family, friends and music.
After John was able to get this entire weekend off this allowed us to spend the weekend with my sister, nephew and brother-in-law, who happened to be some of our favourite people. Charlie and I try to see each other as much as possible and now with having children of our own the connection with family is even more important.
Each time we get together and see our children play together I think of how happy our mum would be seeing us as moms and seeing how close we are and how we are there for each other no matter what.
With John’s work switched and our tickets switched for the Saturday we were well on our way to planning a visit down to see my sister and see lots of our music loving friends. We were so happy that we got to see so many of our music loving friends not only for dinner but to be there at the show together. We just don’t get to see each other nearly as much as we would love to so when we do get together it is that much more special. The night was perfection being there with Johanna and Dawn and about a half dozen of our other R3 friends. The night was filled with music, laughter and dancing. How perfect is that?
There is so much that I love about Canadian music, there are so many bands that we love but I have to say that Stars is right up there with one of my all time favourites. They have incredible music but they also put on an amazing show, it is energy from start to finish. And do they every appreciate their fans, that is what I love about most independent Canadian music, the connections with the fans. So very Canadian!
The weekend was not nearly long enough but with the holidays just days away there is going to be lots to get done in the next few days. I have three days of work this week and then I have a blissful 11 days off to spend as much time as I can with my little girl and in that 11 days we will have time with the entire Teeter clan, Charlie, Todd and Marshall and even a Burgess family wedding to boot. And in there we will try and spend as much time as we can with the people who are central to our lives and who love us.
Only 4 more sleeps until Santa arrives and we all cannot wait!