"Ad Astra" is Grant Park's annual performing arts show, which features hundreds of singing, dancing, acting teenagers, giving their absolute all in front of family and friends. In past years, the show has clocked in at just shy of 13 hours (or, so it would seem.) This year, however, they trimmed the program drastically, split some of the numbers over two nights, and got it down under two hours including a 15 minute intermission. That meant parents got to see more of their own kid and less of everyone else's.
The Mascot was in three out of 10 numbers - a song, a dance, and the finale. You can accuse me of being biased all you want, but I think he was awesome... especially during the ballet piece when he was lifting the girls. I even had one of those "Oh, my big, strong boy!" moments. It was all very, very* awesome.
*The second very is for the Grade 7s, who did "What does the fox say?", complete with strobes, black lights and smoke. So good.
"What do you want to do?"
"I dunno... what do you want to do?"
But, it wasn't just another Saturday. It was Small Business Saturday. So, instead of answering back "Um, I dunno...", I said, "Why don't we have lunch in a locally-owned restaurant, shop in small, independant stores, buy cupcakes from our good friend Pam - I hear she's having a sale today - and then maybe have dinner somewhere small, local, independant and neighbourhoody?" (I didn't mention taking a nap, but for us, a nap is usually implied.)
So, we did just that.
Here's my fella after eating a very yummy lunch at Elements at the U of W. Doesn't he look happy? That's because we just finished two huge bowls of hot & sour ramen soup - beef for him, tofu for me.
After lunch, we drove over to the Exchange District to poke around in Toad Hall Toys. I was too excited to snap a picture (ok, ok, I was too busy playing with the hand puppets), but it was every bit as magical as ever. Maybe even more so. I picked up a few little gifty things and then we wandered up the block to Cake-ology for some cupcakes.
In honour of Small Business Saturday, they were having a 2-for-1 sale on cupcakes. It never occurred to either one of us to only buy one, so we each got to pick two - R chose marble with strawberry buttercream and classic red velvet, I picked spice with cinnamon buttercream and banana with nutella buttercream. Not bad for a fiver!
On the way home, I got another brilliant gift idea. We decided to stop in at McNally Robinson. I found what I was looking for before we even made it through the doors, which meant lots of time for perusing magazines before heading home for a cupcake and a nap.
Since we were on a roll with the whole Small Business thing, and no one felt like cooking, we went to one of our favourite neighbourhood pubs, the Grove, for a late dinner. Despite the fact that we were there well past a "normal" dinner hour, the place was hopping and showed no signs of slowing down. Luckily, we were able to get a table within about 10 minutes of arriving.
This salad (apples, blue cheese, candied walnuts) was absolutely delicious and completely cancelled out the cupcakes that we ate before our nap. I'm not going to say anything about the fish and chips that followed it. Not a word.