We celebrated Rozanne's 30th Birthday last Wednesday. I took the day off to spend with her. My father-in-law came in the morning to pick-up the kids so that we could have the day to ourselves.
A little bit of background on my wife's and my relationship...She's my high school sweetheart. We've been together for a very long time and have pretty much grown up together. I'd like to think that I know her pretty well. So for her birthday, I lined up a list of her favorite things to do around the city (of Toronto)...with a few surprises.
I'm pretty lucky living in one of the most beautiful, culturally diverse and friendliest cities in the world. Anyone that tells you otherwise probably hasn't experienced Toronto like I have (having lived here all my life).
We started off the day with a Yoga Class at the Yoga Sanctuary on College Street. We did some Hatha yoga, mainly because Hatha emphasizes breathing, relaxation and meditation (unlike Ashtanga or "power" yoga which is more intense). Our lives are pretty hectic and very "on-the-go", and my workouts are already pretty intense, so to gain an hour or so to relax and meditate was important to starting our day off on the right foot.
I strongly recommend that anyone who finds that things are just too much sometimes to try some meditation, yoga, tai chi or Qi Gong. All of those arts have been practiced for thousands of years, so I figure if it's been around for that long something's gotta be right about them.
***A word of advice about these arts: Don't approach them as a traditional "workout". You'll get much more out of them if you approach it as an exercise for your mind rather than wanting to burn a few extra calories.
After that it was off to brunch at Brassaii on King Street West. Peter & Gus (the owners) are 2 really down-to-earth guys who run a great place with amazing service, an unbelievable atmosphere and the space itself is beautiful. We especially like to take the kids there for brunch on Sunday mornings every now and then. They always make us feel welcome and when you have 4 kids, finding a nice place for Sunday brunch is hard to come about. I highly recommend Brassaii if you're ever in Toronto or the King West neighborhood.
It was off to the Gardiner Museum after that for an exhibition called Object Factory: The Art Of Industrial Ceramics. A few years ago, I would gone to one of these exhibitions (full of everyday ceramic objects) and not really understood the point. "Oooohh, look a plate. Oh wait, look there's another plate with a tea cup". But because my wife is a creative type, she's taught me how to appreciate the detail of things a lot more. So this exhibition was a lot more than a bunch of flat ware and table settings sitting in glass cases that we couldn't touch.
I guess a girl's day couldn't be complete without a little shopping. Off to the Distillery District we went to a store called Lileo. Luckily everything at Lileo was on sale (Note to self: 50-70% off everything in the store = GOOD) so we bought a few things that we would normally NEVER buy at regular price.
The highlight of shopping (I'm a guy, so I hate shopping), Rozanne fit into a pair of Size 24 jeans...thank you EatStopEat!
We stayed in the area and went to Soma, a chocolate shop where they serve gelato, espresso and various artisan made chocolates (they actually make them on-site). I think she had 4 different truffles and I had my usual double espresso and we enjoyed some nice, lite but meaningful conversation.
To end the day we met up with the kids and my father-in-law Roger at Paul's Spaghetti in East York. This is a "Ma & Pa" place that has the best pasta I have ever tasted! AJ, Frankie and I had the penne a la vodka. Rozanne, Joey & Roger had the spaghetti with meat sauce. Pasta's a once-in-a-while treat for us. Funny, but years ago we used to feel guilty about eating it. Now, because we follow my 8 Simple Rules, it's never a problem.
And that was it. Put the kids to bed. Had some blueberries & walnuts. Brushed and flossed. Hit the sack.
Unbelievable day. The Perfect Day.
Happy 30th Birthday.