Let's be honest, I tend to think of any activity within a two week period surrounding my birthday, as a birthday-related event. So there were quite a few noteworthy birthday celebrations that I want to post about.
A few days before, also before Thanksgiving-prep-madness began, we took a day off to explore the Scarborough Bluffs. It turns out that my manfriend lives just a few blocks up the street from where my grandparents used to live. I spent some good times there as a child, running around and exploring the Bluffs, working in the garden and playing games with my grandmother. I've lost touch with that side of my family in the past few years (my biological father's family). My grandmother passed away a few months ago, and I saw this as an opportunity to revisit the places I remember from my childhood time with them, as well as seeing my lover's neighbourhood for the first time. It was an amazing and emotional day, beautiful and sunny, feeling more like late summer than impending fall. We saw lots of wildlife wandering down to the base of the Bluffs.
And some vibrant fall colours
We ended up climbing the Bluffs (what I thought was a path turned out to be...a precarious and adrenaline-filled climb, and I was in flip flops). I can't even find the words to describe that experience. There was a point where I didn't think I could make it up any further. And I had no idea how to get back down. I was almost crying (I'm scared of heights). My partner had to shimmy over and try to boost me up. There was a point when I finally got to the top, lied in the grass shaking with fear and adrenaline and exhilaration, when S. was slipping in the mud, barely able to make it up, and I had to try to help him. If at any point, one of us had fallen...I don't even want to think about it. Yet, it was an amazing sense of accomplishment. And I wanted to do it again.
After, we went and saw my grandparents old house...something which didn't give me closure by any means, but which brought back happy memories. Of my grandmother's lovely rose garden in the front yard, the smell of being in the garage with my grandfather, of his shelves and shelves (and shelves) of old jazz records in the basement, of sitting in the living room watching torrents of rain water pouring down the steeply hilled road outside. I wish I had seen them more in recent years, but I've come to terms with that. I'm just glad I had the times with them that I did.
Later that day, we went out for dinner, then dancing.
And then later still, a week or so after my birthday, there were flowers, and an official birthday dinner out.
The dinner was at Union, an adorable little restaurant that focuses on rustic, farm-to-table cuisine, like the one I hope to have myself one day. I got all dressed up. We sat at the chef's rail. We had an amazing charcuterie board. I snuck a picture of the kitchen when no one was watching. S. convinced me to get the steak frites, instead of the vegetarian polenta with greens dish (which he said was not expensive enough). I was disappointed. Still, I'd go back just for that charcuterie plate!
All in all it was a lovely birthday (week+). And now I'm 32. And so excited for the year ahead!