A Birthday in the Life

Into every life a little rain must fall, but that didn’t stop our birthday girl
September 21, 2013

This posting is a photo montage of Nancy’s birthday activities. She wasn’t going to let a little gloom and rain dampen her spirits. So we went about our Saturday activities despite puddles and soggy pant cuffs.

As usual, Nancy started her day long before me. I came downstairs at about 8 AM to find her on the family room couch Skyping with Jeffrey. He had left her a wakeup birthday greeting, so she had Skyped him back only to find him suffering from a bad head cold. Poor kid had no medicine, and the weather was just as cold, wet, and miserable in Ottawa as it was here. He didn’t feel much like walking three blocks to the store in the rain to get some. So Nancy provided him a few home remedies plus lots of motherly comforting (or as much comforting as one can provide from 300 miles away over Skype).


Nancy Skyped with Jeffrey in Ottawa – he had a bad head cold and she provided some motherly comfort

I had nothing planned for Nancy’s birthday so I decided to give her something special… a whole day of activities of her choosing. So after breakfast we headed off for coffee at the Grand Cafe, our typical Saturday activity. As I guessed, she was just warming up.


Our first stop was at the Grand Cafe which still looked colourful and inviting despite the gloom and rain

Saturday was the Cambridge Studio Tour, an open house of downtown clubs and groups to showcase their facilities and activities. So after coffee we dropped in next door to the Riverside Print Studio where, a few years ago, Nancy and Jeffrey took printmaking classes together. Our local library still displays a full-sized poster of Jeffrey taken during that course. There Nancy had a chance to chat with old classmates Kari Mullin and Dave Scott. Dave showed us photos of a large 24 foot print the group of them had made outside in downtown Hespeler during the summer using a steam roller.


Nancy chats with Kari Mullin of the Riverside Print Group at the Cambridge Print Studio open house


The Studios area is run by nice people, as this very polite parking sign can attest to

From the Riverside Print Studio we walked through the drizzle to the Cambridge Centre for the Arts a few blocks away to sign Nancy up for a local choir. But along the way we got side-tracked by the Farmer’s Market and especially by the Old Firehall Museum which occupies the historic Main Street Firehall up the street from the market.

What a great display! In amongst wonderful dioramas and old firefighting equipment they displayed photos, news stories, and artifacts from the many big blazes, floods and disasters that have befallen the town over the years and that are still talked about by locals today. And, of course, there was lots of fascinating memorabilia to see and even touch. I was asked if I wanted to wear a fireman’s suit, but was advised that I couldn’t wear it outside because it might get wet. Huh? But the museum’s showpiece was a gleaming vintage 1934 firetruck that, we were told, now stands on the same spot in the hall where it once stood proudly and ready-to-go during its active service.


The Old Firehall Museum was amazing and included this 1934 truck once again standing at its original spot

After a little searching we eventually located the Cambridge Centre for the Arts right around the corner from the firehall. That’s where Nancy needed to go to sign up for the choir. But the receptionist was busy when we arrived so she politely invited us to check out the display of art in the gallery up one flight of stairs.

We were the only ones there and it was a quiet as a tomb. Typical of art galleries, there were only a few pieces of art on display on the walls in an otherwise huge and open space. I can’t tell you the name of the artist who’s works were displayed, but I can tell you that, based on the prices he/she was charging, with a paint roller and a few colours, you too could quit your day job.


This piece cost $18,000 – guess there’s no accounting for how some people will spend their money

Finally, Nancy got to sign up for the choir. She hasn’t sung in a choir for almost twenty years, since back when she used to sing with the KW Philharmonic Choir under the direction of famous Canadian choral director Howard Dyck.


Finally, Nancy signed up for the choir – this’ll be the first time she’s sung in a choir in over twenty years

On our way back to the car we stopped at the Farmer’s Market to get a cupcake. I was unsure what this was about until Nancy told me it would serve as her birthday cake. From the many delectable choices, we picked out a yummy looking ginger-peach cupcake, then stayed and chatted for awhile with the cheery vendor.


We stopped at the Cambridge Farmers Market to buy Nancy a birthday cupcake


Nancy’s delicious birthday cupcake – I sang “Happy Birthday to You” to her when we shared it after lunch

We now headed back home for a quick lunch and to pick up my cellphone which, for some reason, I had forgotten to bring with me when we left the first time. While we were at home Nancy got a birthday call from her sister, Debbie. They chatted for awhile before we set out for the second half of Nancy’s birthday activities.


Nancy got a birthday greetings phone call from her sister Debbie – remember phone calls?

Our next stop was at the Fairview Park Mall to get me a cover for my new smartphone, and also a new pair of bluejeans. My cellphone is an LG Nexus 4 – a very popular phone by all accounts. But compared to the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy cellphones, no one ever bought a Nexus. Every cellphone vendor carried hundreds of covers of all styles and colours for those two popular brands but only a handful, if any, for the Nexus. We were forced to check out a lot of stores, including Walmart, before I finally found a cover that I liked.

Oh, and I never did find a pair of bluejeans that fit me.


We set out on a search to find a simple black case for my Nexus smartphone – good luck with that

The culmination of Nancy’s birthday activities was to be the annual Food & Drink Show being held at the Kitchener Farmer’s Market. We not only located free underground parking (which Nancy found using our smartphone as we drove into town) but the woman in front of us in the lineup to get in gave us free admission tickets which saved us another $12. Happy birthday to us.

Inside the entrance tent we bought ourselves a strip of “samples” tickets, then listened awhile to guitarist, troubadour Peter Shaw before entering the main market building. The event was staged on the second floor of the market and was quite a bit smaller than the last food & drink extravaganza we attended in Toronto years ago, before the boys were born. This scaled-down event only had about 30 vendors. Still, we enjoyed ourselves.


Our next stop was the Food & Drink Show being held at the Kitchener Farmer’s Market


We sampled some wines, some beers, and even some dark chocolates – ah, the necessities of life


Here’s lookin’ at you, kid

Earlier in the day the gray, drizzly weather had put Nancy in the mood for some hot & sour soup. So, even though the sun was now shining and everything had dried up, we decided that Chinese food still sounded like a good idea. So we headed to our usual haunt and ordered ourselves a heapin’ mess-o-chinese food, including their world-famous (by our standards) hot & sour soup.


This used to be called the Dragon View which I still jokingly (though in bad taste) call the Gag-n-Spew

We ended the day sitting in front of the TV watching a chick flick – Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis in “Friends with Benefits” (aren’t I a nice guy?). But I was the only one who got to see the ending because Nancy started falling asleep on the couch, so she headed off to bed before the movie was over.

But it was her day. She was allowed to end it any way she wanted.


1 Response to A Birthday in the Life

  1. May I wish Nancy a belated but very happy birthday with a great year to follow and best wishes to both of you -ashok

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