Toronto – day five

Tonight marked the thirteenth hour we spent watching wrestling over the last four days. I’d had qualms about whether I’d be able to do it, but when I was asked if I was tired of it on the way to the arena tonight, I had to say that I wasn’t. In fact, I have to say that it’s been one of the greatest sports experiences of my life.

We spent the early part of the day on the road to and from Kevin’s old stomping grounds, visiting family and loved ones. Every time we go there, I can’t help but think of how happy I could be living in a place like it. it’s so beautiful and spacious and so full of life.

I’m going to have more to share about today, but we got back to our room late and I’ve got a headache from not drinking enough water.

Toronto – day four

Day four focused on just two events:

  1. A taping of The Social
  2. Monday Night Raw

I’m a big fan of The Social. For those of you who aren’t familiar, it’s a Canadian daytime tv talk show. There are four main hosts plus one regular fill-in/correspondent. Each show begins with a round table about 4-5 current events or stories and then usually two segments that feature lifestyle stories, cooking, fashion, beauty, wellness and other topics.

I’ve been a fan for the last several years and have been saying I’d like to go to a taping the next time I was in Toronto. Once we knew we were coming this month, we investigated and set a calendar alarm for the day when we’d be able to try to reserve tickets during our stay.

This morning, we woke up, got spiffed up and once kevin was finished his Monday conference call, we took a cab over to 299 Queen Street West, an address you may remember from the Much Music days.

I’m going to write a post exclusively covering the experience in the future, but for now I’ll just say that it was a lot of fun and even better than I had ever imagined it would be. The topics were great, the hosts were lovely and it was so exciting to be able to see the set I’ve seen hundreds of times on tv.

The taping is live and it’s an hour long show so the set up and the finish take a little extra time. All in all, we were there for about 2.5 hours.

When we were done, we decided to stop for some lunch and then head back to our hotel for a little downtime. This has been a fantastic, but also busy trip.

We had about 90 minutes in our room before we had to get ready to go back to Scotiabank Arena for the third night in a row, this time for Monday Night Raw.

A pay per view is one kind of event, but the fallout on the tv days after can sometimes be even more exciting. In some cases, that was true tonight (Sasha Banks) and in others it was the same old, same old (The Viking Raiders.)

I’m also going to write exclusively about Summer Slam week someday. For today, I need to get some sleep. We’ve got one more full day of adventure to pack in here and I don’t want to miss more of it than I have to.

Night, y’all.

Toronto – day three

I left off yesterday’s recap before we’d actually been to our final destination. It was late and I had a suspicion that we wouldn’t get out of the show until after midnight so I’d miss a day of posting. Turns out, I was right and it was already 1am before we rolled in the door.

After we finished up at NXT Takeover, we headed over to The Rec Room to see a comedy show by Dolph Ziggler and friends. We struggled to find a place to stand (we certainly weren’t finding a place to sit because it was so packed) and ended up at the far end of the hall. Little did we know, we were right at the entrance from the green room to the stage. For the majority of the night, I had wrestlers and comics brushing past me, some of them literally rubbing elbows with me.

The show was good and fun. We got to see some of Dolph’s stand up routine, but much of it turned into a roast due to the casual nature of the friends influence on the show. It was rewarding to watch because it allowed those of us who were there an opportunity to see some of the wrestlers we watch on tv in a more natural setting, outside is the character they play on the shows.

As I mentioned, we got home late and went to sleep even later. We didn’t have too early a call this morning, but we did have to be across town for 11am. We stayed in bed a littler longer than planned so we took a cab over to Bloorcourt Village and The Hogtown Vegan.

We were headed over there for a few reasons. 1. To see our friend Katelyn, 2. To try this restaurant and 3. To visit the Bibliomat at Monkey’s Paw.

We got over there just a few minutes later than planned and dug right into brunch. The place is a little dive-y, but the staff were super friendly and helpful with the menu. I was so torn between two things and our waiter was able to work it out so that I could try both without ordering two meals which is what I’d originally planned. I got their French Toast Sliders with a side of Chili Cheese Fries. Kevin got the Southern Combo – fried (un)chicken, garlic collard greens, mac and cheese and bbq sauce – and Katelyn got the Tofu Rancheros with collard greens.

I liked the chili cheese fries more than I liked the sliders. They were advertised as: Two pieces of cinnamon-battered toast filled with peanut butter, banana, and tofu bacon. Served with chef salad or homefries. Fascinating, right? Well, they either fell a little short in the translation or I’m just not that into that kind of rich, sweet food anymore. It might be the latter, but who knows.

Everybody liked their meals just fine and I would probably recommend it to someone who was in the neighbourhood.

After we left there, we went in search of The Monkey’s Paw. This is the bookstore I’ve been talking about wanting to go to for months and years. One, it’s a vintage bookstore. Two, it’s the home of the Bibliomat, a vintage book dispenser!

We took a few minutes looking around the store and then we went in for the book dispenser fun. The machine only takes tokens that are purchased from the store. Once you get your token, you put it in the machine and after a bunch of bells and whistles, out pops your book! Katelyn got a book on the history or Canada. I got a book of dramatic poetry. We both got a little thrill.

We continued down the street to prolong our visit a little and to see what we could see.

Eventually, we came across the Bloor and Gladstone branch of the Toronto Library.

The building was originally opened in 1912 and was renovated and received an add-on more recently. Walking through, it was nice to see the blend of the historic and the new.

By the time we wandered out of there, it was time to head back to our hotel to get a little nap in before we headed to Summer Slam tonight.

We said goodbye and promised we’d see each other again soon. (We hadn’t all been together for nearly seven years, back when she was living in Victoria.)

Nap time came and went and we were ready to leave for Scotiabank Arena at around 4:45. (Doors were opening at 5pm.)

We arrived to a ridiculously large crowd awaiting the opening of the doors. it was hard to imagine how it would all be managed, but the staff working there did an absolutely outstanding job of getting everybody in quickly and securely.

We went straight down to our suite to await the arrival of our friend Julie. She got there shortly after we did, but not before we had a visit from the Street Profits, NXT tag team champs. She just missed those guys, but after she showed up, we had some of the hot food we’d ordered for the night before heading to our seats.

I’ve always said I wanted to be one of the fans just going crazy on tv. It always makes me happy to see people getting totally immersed in the events and I wanted to feel that. I’m excited to say that tonight was probably the closest I’ve ever come to feeling that. It was such a great time to just go with it. We were all booing and cheering and chanting. It was great. And you might have seen us on tv.

Match-wise, I wasn’t really happy with anything that went down during the event, but I had a great time while we were there.

We’ll be back there tomorrow for Raw and on Tuesday for Smackdown. It’s going to be great to see the fallout from today’s events and I’m hoping to keep up the crazy Dan spirit. Watch for me.

Toronto – day two

Even after a good night’s sleep, we weren’t really jumping out of bed this morning. It took a couple of alarms and an AM engagement to get us moving. I had a bit of a sore throat that I attribute to all the air conditioning and canned air. Fingers crossed.

Finally, after showering and prepping (I even put on makeup), we walked back over to the WWE Fan Expo/Super Store for our date with my favourite superstar, Lacey Evans.

I was pretty nervous about this. I wasn’t sure I’d like it. I knew she’d call me a nasty and I didn’t know what I’d say back. As it turned out, we were the last ones to see her before the end of her session and she was really great. She plays up her character perfectly, but you can see that she is a sweet, smart and damn strong woman underneath all that. She asked where we were from and what we were doing there. She made us use hand sanitizer before we got up close to her and she signed some photos for us. It was pretty fun.

Since we had two photos and decided to do them together, we weren’t sure what to do with the second one. I suggested she give Kevin her patterned Woman’s Right and she agreed!

From there, we decided to hit up the breakfast place back at our hotel.

After our meal, we went for a wander around town, looking at different shops and sights. I was looking for some echinacea just in case it wasn’t just irritation and I’d actually caught some kind of bug in our travels. I found some along the way. We also found Sweetery, Toronto’s Sweets Festival. It’s no secret that I am a sucker for pretty looking doughnuts and it got the best of me again today.

I present to you, the Cookie Monster from All You Knead bakery.

That’s a cookie dough filled doughnut right there. It was good, but after six months away from sugar, I have to admit that I’m just not that into I anymore.

We had made a lunch date with Kevin’s cousin Dean so we had to go back over to near where our hotel is to meet him. We ate at Jack Astor’s and then took him over to the WWE Super Store to show him all the belts. Somewhere along the way, we were able to convince him to join us for some wrestling and come to NXT Takeover tonight.

In another incredible I can’t believe this happens to us turn of events, we inherited seats in row two on the floor for tonight’s action! Somebody had them, then decided they didn’t want to go so they gave them to us. We spent the first half of the show in our original seats and then the second half on the floor.



We had a great time all night. It’s such a fun way to immerse yourself in something totally unreal and just have some fun.

Our final stop of the night is a comedy show featuring – you guessed it – another wrestler, Dolph Ziggler. I’m a big fan of his in the ring and I’ll just bet he’s hilarious. Since we’ll be hopping over to that event right after NXT and he isn’t scheduled to be done until after midnight, I’ll have to sign off on this post and report back about it tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Toronto – day one

We took the red eye from Vancouver last night and landed in Toronto at 5:33 or some other ridiculous time this morning. When we finally got to stretch our bodies and walk around a little, the excitement of our arrival was enough to wake us up.

We skipped more traditional options of cabs or ride shares and took the Union Pearson Express train downtown to Union Station. Kevin has taken it once before so he led the way. It was super convenient to book our tickets through their app and to get on board. About twenty minutes later, we arrived at our destination, grabbed our luggage and hopped off.

You’ll recall that I had a to do list list while we were in Toronto and one of the things on that list was to have a Citro Booster from Balzacs Coffee. This is an all natural version of a neo citran – lemon, ginger, cayenne, honey – and it is so delicious. I had one when we were here back in maybe 2013 and I’ve dreamt of them ever since. Well, just imagine my excitement when the first business I saw in this city was Balzacs UP Express! We were starting to deflate a little so it was a good chance to sit down and get some nourishment. Kev had a coffee and a breakfast sandwich, I had my precious nectar and an equally incredible chia pudding made by Feast.

From there, we headed over to our hotel because we were going to drop our bags at the bell desk. As we rolled up to the front door, a valet offered to take our bags and store them for us. He also encouraged us to go to the front desk to see if they could get us a room. To be honest, we were so obnoxiously early for the 4pm check in time that we weren’t even going to ask.

We approached the quiet front desk and Fairmont Royal York (should be) employee of the month, Kavin, got us all set up with the first room to be cleaned and promised that we’d be able to stay in the same room (we had two different reservations.) He also gave us key card access to the pool so we could hang out there while we waited. We grabbed our swimsuits from our suitcases and headed to the health club floor.

We swam, we hung out, we got very sleepy.

Once we got dried off and back into our clothes, we went and hung out in the lobby.

When we’d first showed up, it was really quiet in the hotel, but by 9:30, the place was starting to buzz.

We got our room a little while later and immediately settled in for a nap.

By just after 1:30, we were refreshed and ready to explore. We hit the road and walked a few blocks over to the convention centre to check out the WWE Super Store that just opened this morning.

We got there and it was so much fun. It wasn’t anything more than exactly what was promised – a mega shop full of wrestling merchandise, but that was all we needed. We wandered around for about an hour and each chose two shirts to take home with us.

By then, we were hungry so we talked about heading to Real Sports for something to eat. We got there only to find out that it’s closed for renovations. We backtracked about a block and went to a place Kevin has been to a few times and really enjoyed, e11even. It was nice to sit down and eat something really good. It felt like an official kick off to our vacation.

I had one of their specialties, the sweet potato taquitos and they were DELICIOUS. I’d broken a few of the nutritional rules we’ve been living by, but I’d already had it in my plans that I was going to loosen up on the restrictions while we were here. So I did – and I had no regrets.

When we left the restaurant, we walked over to the Real Sports store at Scotiabank Arena and made a stop at Sport Chek to nose around in there.

We headed back to the hotel intending to take a break and go out again tonight, but once we were in our room, we decided to call it a night to properly rest and prepare for the busy days ahead while also trying to get on board with the time change.

9:21 pm

That’s what time the sun set today. It’s still a little light out, but it’s also obvious that it’ll wane now and quickly. It’s so nice to be in the midst of such such bright evenings and I’m determined to remain aware of them and to enjoy them as much as possible.

Today was a low-key and quiet day for me. I had to return The Library Book late last night. It was just a week long loan because I’d picked it up as a bestseller express book and I didn’t quite polish it off in that time. When we’d arrived at home after the draft, we’d left nearly right away for our weekly trip to the library. I moaned about not getting to finish it in time and Kevin talked me into trying to blast through the end of it. I had ninety pages left. He was sure I could do it and his confidence boosted mine. In truth, I probably could have except I fell asleep. No matter, I’m first on the wait list now so I should be able to get my hands on another copy within a week or two. (Update: while writing this, I received a notification that my hold had come in!)

Today, I focused on the book I’d been reading before I was interrupted by my quick loan. After finishing that one, I started another one that came as a recommendation from one of my friends on GoodReads. The first 70 pages seem to be setting up for my favourite kind of live story – the impossible one. I know it probably seems kind of strange, but I only really appreciate tragic love stories – the ones when somebody dies or, even better, when circumstances keep people apart.

We watched the WWE pay per view and while there were times I was glad we didn’t go (it was close, in Tacoma) – when Lacey Evans lost – there were times that made me wish we had – when Lacey Evans was the guest referee. I’m at a bit of a crossroads with WWE right now. While I like some of the new superstars, I find myself cringing at some of the old ones they keep bringing back and it feels like many of the storylines just keep getting recycled.

My favourite Sundays are just like this – uneventful, relaxing and totally enjoyable.

How did you spend your day??

Wrestlemania 35

Today was Wrestlemania, the big show, the grandest stage of them all, a wrestling fan’s favourite day of the year. There’s been a lot of action leading up to this event and we’ve been looking forward to it for several weeks.

Image found here

The big news this year was that the Main Event was a women’s match, a triple threat match between three of the top female wrestlers at this time. Ronda Rousey came into the match as the current Raw Women’s Champion, Charlotte Flair entered as the SmackDown Women’s Champion and Becky Lynch was the challenger for both. Through recent events, the match became a winner takes all event where the winner would walk away with both title belts. Big stuff.

For the first time, a friend put together a Wrestlemania pool. We all made picks on all of the matches and threw in some money. The person with the most correct picks takes all the money. It added a lot of fun to an already entertaining event as we all watched as we collected wins, some more than others. I ended up with seven wins and nine losses. Kevin had a better record. We’re still unsure who won.

Beyond my picks, I had a few hopes/predictions for the event, but only a few actually happened. Well, really, it was only one: that the Miz’s dad would get involved in his match vs. Shane McMahon. I’d also wanted an appearance from Dean Ambrose when with Seth Rollins or Roman Reigns were fighting. (Turns out neither needed any help.)

There were some downsides to the event. It really sucked (imho) that IIconics won the women’s tag team belts, the end of the Falls Count Everywhere match was ABSURD and it sucked that Kurt Angle didn’t win his farewell match, but it was mostly good. Here are a few things that stood out (for me):

  • The return of The Big Dog
  • Watching this is one long ass commitment – the pre-show was two hours and Wrestlemania stretched out over about five and a half more (!!)
  • One of my favourite wrestlers won the Women’s Battle Royal
  • It was nice to see Seth Rollins and Finn Balor get their wins (and their belts)
  • I had expected the newcomers to take the Smackdown Tag Team championships, but I don’t mind the Usos holding onto them
  • They went all out on the intros with great effects and LOTS of pyro – I especially liked Drew MacIntyre’s (the NYPD pipe band was great!) and Roman Reigns (but I’m a little biased)
  • It looks like so much fun and one day I want to be there in person

Now, I, for one, was extremely disappointed in the Main Event. In the end Becky Lynch won both belts and it’s got me dreading watching wrestling in the near future. I find her awful – as a wrestler and as a character. There was a time a while back when Ronda Rousey and she were bickering back and forth and Rousey said, “I sure as hell didn’t pour my heart and soul into changing the meaning of ‘fight like a girl’ for the leader of the Women’s Evolution to call herself The Man.” I was relieved to hear proof that I wasn’t the only one and I’ve actually thought about that many times since.

Until next year…I’m sure the landscape will be entirely different by then.

Dance break!

Took a little dance break to hang with Carmella and R-Truth tonight.

Also checked out The Wellness Show at Canada Place earlier in the day. It’s on again tomorrow and if you’d prefer something a little less sporty than the Super Bowl, it might be a good time to check it all out. Plenty of great health-related products and educational opportunities to be had.

I’ve been out of the house most of the day and have also been completely preoccupied with my current read, Inheritance by Dani Shapiro. So, so good.

Hope you had a great Saturday! Tell me about it!

Weekend success!

We managed to perfectly balance the things we needed to do with the things we wanted to do – how much more successful could a weekend be?

Going into most weekends, my hope is to do as little as possible. I occasionally feel pangs of inferiority and even sometimes a tiny bit of FOMO when I say that, but it’s the honest truth.

My job exhausts me. Even though I mean that in a good way, it literally takes everything out of my heavily introverted self. And doing the things I want to do at the end of a weekday often takes whatever is left. So the things for which I am passionate – reading, crafting, painting, writing, astrology/tarot study, all that? I often don’t get a chance to squeeze them in during the week. That means that, by the time I get a couple of days off, I feel like I’ve put in my time and deserve to do some of the things that refuel me. Most of these things are solitary and most of them are also silent.

This was a pretty perfect weekend in that I read almost all day yesterday and then we knocked off our chores (MRI, groceries, run, weekly food prep) early today. Now, we’re set to indulge in some good snacks and watch the Royal Rumble before heading back to work in the morning.

Sure, I love a good party, concert or sporting event, but it’s the quiet activities that refill my heart and soul.

Did you have a good weekend? What were the highlights/lowlights?


Today started with a bird that I thought was a rat stuck in the wall behind my desk. Then it was in the ceiling and then it flew down my hallway. Did my day even stand a chance?

I left work early because I had some errands to run and I had a hockey date with my girl, Cara.

I was relaxing at home when I got a (Twitter-based) feeling that there was something I needed to see on Monday Night RAW. Sure enough, my favourite wrestler announced that he has leukemia and had to relinquish his title tonight. Fortunately, I had the good sense to cut it short after the second wave of tears and skedaddled downstairs to the train to head downtown.

Once again, thank you so much. God bless you and I love you. Believe that.

The game was a decent one and a good way to start off my Canucks season. The Capitals won 5-2, but the score betrayed the effort on the part of the Canucks. It’s still early, but it looks to be another exciting season and that’s all anyone could ask!

My favourite thing I saw today came from Lisa Welsh on Instagram:

She declared there are only ten weeks left in 2018 (!!??!!) and challenged everyone to take on ten tasks to close out the year. I love many of these ideas and I hope you will, too. Go ahead and take them on and make sure you use the hashtag #lasttenweeks so we can all find you! ❤️