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Thursday, 22 August 2013

Don't You (Forget About Me)

I can't believe that next month marks the one year anniversary of writing this blog.  I never know what will inspire me next to jot down my daft musings.  Tonight I was the movie (and my 1,023,056 time seeing it) The Breakfast Club.

I love this movie.  I remember going to see it at The Centre Mall Theatre (yep, I'm that old - but I'm at least I am still here, The Centre Mall is now gone) with my friend Candy.  Like every other person from my generation, it touched a nerve with it's realistic portrayal of teen angst.  We identified with the movie's archetypes, and we could relate to the letter that is written by the cast (read at both the beginning and end of the movie) that illustrated that there was a little bit of all of them within ourselves.  Even watching the reruns ad nauseum all these years into adulthood, the message was never lost.

As I watched this movie tonight, it stirred a self realization that, to be honest, scares the living bejesus out of me.  I sympathize and empathize with the cast's growing pains, but tonight I have realized that I can also identify with something, or rather, someone else.  I can relate to Mr. Vernon - the dickhead principal.

Don't get me wrong - I have not turned into a vindictive bully, but I am certainly turning into one crotchety old cranky pants who is easily annoyed by others (primarily youngsters) -- a sure sign that as I stated above, yep, I'm old.

Middle-age (ok we definitely need a PR spin on this word to make it more hip) is very much like adolescence.  Our bodies change, our lives change, our priorities change, not unlike those angst filled teenage years.  Yet when we were in our teens, we desperately tried to distance ourselves from our childhood years and wanted to race towards our young adult lives.  In middle-age, we still are those young adults with the wisdom and life experience under our belt so that we can understand and cope with the changes that are happening to us, but we are desperately trying to distance ourselves from our senior/golden years. 

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I still rock out to The Ramones, I love live music shows and relate to The Breakfast Club.  But I get annoyed at twenty-somethings on my train who like talk?  Like every sentence?  Like is like a question?  I get annoyed when people on my train in the Quiet Zone talk and I turn around and glare at them like an old spinster librarian; not to mention the fact that I am even sitting in something called "the Quiet Zone".  I get annoyed at my upstairs neighbours  who sit on their balcony and start every phrase with "Dude" and end it with "Yo Bitch".  It's these moments in which the Principal Vernon in me awakens.  I need a modern, Lassie-esque twist on his phrase "You mess with the bull, you get the horns", because I am seriously this-close to saying some shit like that to these people. (Maybe, "you mess with the shoe you get the boot" -- OK I need to work on this).

In the meantime, perhaps I can re-write my own personal Breakfast Club letter to define who I am at this point in my life.  It would go something like this:

"...I see me as I want to see me: in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions.  But I found out that in me is a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, a criminal, and a middle-aged cranky pants.  I think that answers my question."

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Mambo Italiano

As we all know, we spend more time with our coworkers than we do with our friends and family.  A sign of the times in modern society, but I however, am truly lucky to have some pretty great coworkers at this point in my life (not always the case as for the majority of my working life I have worked with some effed-up characters).   I am even lucky enough to call some of these coworkers friends. 

So when you spend this much time with a group of people it is only natural that they have an influence on your life.  So, as per Audrey, Carlos and Peter, I am officially the "honorary scozzese italiano amico" - or honorary Scottish Italian friend. 

I prefer the term "Britalian" because our culture exchange works both ways.  Peter has introduced the phrases "mi piace" and "no mi piace" into my everyday vernacular.   I have introduced the phrase "blokey" into Carlos' vocabulary.  Audrey (after being horrified by the fact that I had never tried Nutella) promptly procured a jar for me to try (thanks for putting that delicious monkey on my back Audrey!).  I returned the favour by turning her on to the "proper" sour flavour of British pub-style pickled onions.

I am hooked on all things Italian.  Therefore a trip to Toronto's Little Italy was in order.  Little Italy is officially the area that borders around College Street between Bathurst and Ossington up to Harbord Street.  Although it cannot compare to Little Italy in Manhattan (there are now various Thai and shawarma restaurants scattered in the area), there are still some great gems to be found.

Bar Italia is one of these gems.  The staff are informative and friendly and the food is authentic.  Without exaggeration, it is probably the best Italian meal that I have had this year (and trust me - thanks to my work mates I have eaten at a LOT of Italian restaurants this year).

We started off with the Crostini Al Gorgonzola, served with roasted red peppers and marinated mushrooms.  Don't let the small portion fool you - it is super rich and it is just enough for two people.  I highly recommend pairing this with one of their fine red wine selections.

When in Rome (or a reasonable facsimile)...I had the Chianti...The Fella had the Moretti Forni beer.

I had the Bucatini Con Broccolini - fresh pasta with broccolini, roasted cipolini, roasted garlic, chili peppers, basil, olive oil and parmesan cheese.  It was out of this world delicious!

The Fella had the Spaghetti Bar Italia - fresh pasta with a home made tomato and basil sauce topped with locally made hot Italian sausage.  I could not help but to steal some of his meal.

"Britalian" at it's finest - the Italian Scooter a la British Mod chic!
A stop in little Italy is not complete without stopping at the legendary Sicilian cafĂ© for a scoop of gelato.   Mi piace my friends - mi piace!