Last week I switched the heat on in the car. Did anyone else notice that sudden chill in the air? It happened so fast. It was 33°C one day and then the air got a little crisp. I also saw a gaggle of geese flying in a v formation. It was one of those moments when time slows down. All I could hear as their honking grew fainter was my own voice saying “Noooo, it’s too soon!” Luckily it seems that it was only a brief preview and August warmth has returned.
And yet, there are other approaching signs of the inevitability of autumn. Everyone is heading back to school. Or it seems like it anyway. I kind of miss going back to school, especially university. I always felt pumped about at least one course that I would be taking. That may be nostalgia talking though, because when I did go back to school, it was horrible. The stress.. the late night cramming… the poverty. Hmm. Anyway at this point, all back to school means for me is no sleeping in on work days. Regular rush hour traffic is back. See you next June, snooze button.
It’s around this time of year that my kitchen starts to interest me again. I hate cooking in the summer. Between May and August, food needs to be served either cold or grilled to sound appealing. The majority of our summer dinners are salads or charcuterie boards. As soon as squashes start to make their appearance though, stews and casseroles suddenly sound so good again. I’ve already started to bookmark recipes from my favorite recipe blogs so that I can get back into meal planning. If you’re like me and love to browse recipes, you might be interested in another local blog called Peppers and Pennies. How delicious does this cheddar ale soup look?
Or if you’re still not in cooking mode yet, consider tickets to a fall supper in the country. It’s a good opportunity to get on the highway and see some of the beautiful fall foliage while also getting back into some comfort food. Not interested in driving out to the country? You can also find a list of fall suppers within the perimeter here.
Either way, food is definitely the best way to ease yourself into a new season. What is your favorite part of autumn to look forward to?
Lately I feel like I’ve been seeing a lot of film trailers around town. They’ve been at the Leg (pronounced ‘ledge’), on Wellington Crescent, the Exchange District, even mysteriously set up around Sobey’s. They aren’t all low-budget Lifetime movie affairs either. These are the real deal with well-known actors like Keanu Reeves and Kristin Stewart. It’s pretty amazing to think that our little area has become so popular with Hollywood. But then you find out that the types of movies which are being filmed are titled Siberia or the setting is small-town Minnesota. It’s quite humbling actually.
As you may or may not be aware, Winnipeg is not what you would call a glamorous city. With those working class roots and a general distaste for big dreams, it kind of makes sense that Winnipeg hasn’t produced many celebrities. And we hold on so tightly to the famous folks that we do have some affiliation with. It’s been almost 50 years since he moved away, but Neil Young attended Kelvin High School! Anna Paquin? Sure, she may have been age 4 when she left, but she was born in Winnipeg. Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman return on occasion which gives everyone a thrill. Nia Vardalos had that Greek movie in the early aughts. Truthfully, there isn’t anything wrong with being proud of these people, or wanting to believe that growing up here, in this place, contributed to their success in some way. I’m sure every home town feels the same pride.
This past summer, I had a few celebrity sightings of my own. Not of the Hollywood-caliber, but our very own hometown, local familiar faces. Within the span of a few days, I saw resident entomologist, Taz Stuart (Bomber game). Only in Winnipeg would a bug guy be so instantly recognizable. It says a lot about our obsession with mosquitos. My next big sighting was Rod “I never sleep!” Peeler (restaurant). Seriously, what a master of the art of realtor marketing. Lastly, the all too familiar face of Sam Katz (restaurant). If you’re wondering, yes I can confirm that he does have a Goldeyes license plate. There was also some exciting developments on the reclusive pseudo-celebrity front when this article ran in the Freep about Cheryl Lashek. She takes care of the elevators in my workplace and probably in yours.
While they aren’t exactly celebrities in the People sense of the word, they are certainly much more representative of our little city. Nothing could be more fitting for a working class city to celebrate their local, working class citizens.
If you spent any time on the internet the past summer, you may have come across the story of an Urban Outfitter’s employee who found a Pittsburgh teenager’s summer bucket list. I have distinct memories of writing similar lists when I was in high school with goals like “wear a dress on a random day!” or “swim across the lake and back.” I’m sure if anyone had found one of my lists, I would have been mortified. Regardless of how this mystery teen feels about it, when her list went viral, a lot of people were inspired. Summer bucket lists seem to have universal appeal, although not everyone literally writes theirs down. How many times have you heard someone say “This summer I’m going to…”
At the cusp of summer, around May, summer has finally arrived and it stretches out into the future. Countless sunny days and warm nights provide us with endless possibilities. This is the year that you won’t let it pass you by. In short, summer is oddly motivating. Not aggressively so, in the self-improvement way of January that pushes you to become an overachieving, physically fit, clean-eating, productivity machine. Summer is a gentle taskmaster where goals like ice cream dates or sitting outside under the stars are perfectly ambitious. July and August are ultimately about the pursuit of happiness and creating lasting memories.
These goals are so attainable at the start of summer. How hard is it to get yourself to the Zoo for an afternoon to nail a selfie with Blizzard and Storm. Too hard, it turns out. I’m not sure how your summer has been, but ours has zoomed by. I’m pretty sure it went super sonic. I haven’t been able to keep up. It’s August (and has been for a couple of weeks), but I keep jotting July as the date. While it seems like I haven’t done anything as planned, I did manage to check off a few items on my bucket list:
- cheered on the Bombers at a game (they lost)
- Enjoyed the Perseid meteor shower (which set off some anxiety about aliens)
- walked around the Exchange District for a free art display (shoutout to Craig Winslow, thanks for loving us more than we love ourselves)
- attended a beautiful wedding for a lovely couple (congrats Priya and Rob!)
- Made s’mores (the Italian way, with Nutella)
- did some serious car karaoke (with the accompaniment of Spotify’s Happy Hits playlist)
And yet there are a few Winnipeg-specific items which remain undone. Luckily there is still technically 36 days of summer left.
- have a drink on the Bar I patio (while silently passing judgment on everyone and everything that passes by)
- actually show up to a yoga class in Millennium Park (it’s free and literally around the corner. Why haven’t I gone?)
- eat the pumpkin soft serve ice cream from Sargent Sundae (the summer-pumpkin overlap is a small, but delicious window of time)
- buy the ridiculously delicious potato doughnuts from the Hutterites at the Downtown Winnipeg Farmers’ Market
- get a little tipsy while drinking the traditional alcohol at a Folklorama pavilion (hey, it’s cultural)
How about you? What successes did you have? Is anything left on your 2017 summer bucket list?
One summer, a long time ago, I couldn’t sleep. I was maybe ten years old. That one summer gave me some insight into how terrifying insomnia is. It is singularly frustrating because drifting off should happen naturally, and the more you try to force it, the more unattainable sleep becomes. I would go to bed (when you’re ten, your parents don’t give you much choice in the matter) and lie awake for h o u r s. I would get hot. Or my back would be itchy. I would listen to the drone of a small mosquito that would instantly stop when I turned the light on. I don’t think my parents got much sleep that summer either because at about 3:00 a.m every night, I would helpfully let them know that I couldn’t sleep. They tried to help me, installing a big fan at the end of my bed, sitting with me so I wasn’t awake and alone, and encouraging me to mentally focus on images that might bring me some peace of mind. I don’t recall whether any of it really helped, but as the summer wound down, sleep returned. And since then I haven’t had any issues with it, which I’m extremely grateful for.
That was the last summer before we got central air conditioning installed. As anyone knows, trying to sleep in extreme heat presents all kinds of challenges. When flipping your pillow to the ‘cool’ side doesn’t work and the single, thin sheet becomes oppressively hot, it can be enough to make you rip out your own (sweaty) hair in frustration. A coworker’s unit gave out on her in the middle of the heat wave in late July and it was a Code Red situation. She worried about how to sleep, to cook, and if her dog would make it through the day. Air conditioning has become so central (heh) that we can’t live without it. Sometimes though, I think we overdo it. When I went to see Spider-man: Homecoming in July, I brought along a sweater and socks because the theatre is always frigid. Same thing with the office, no matter how cute my summer clothes are, I always end up wearing the same over-sized sweater at my desk. And I never shop as quickly as I do when I’m standing in shorts in the freezer section of Superstore. And yet, when the metal part of the seatbelt is hot enough to use as a brand, it’s hard not to let the Max A/C do it’s work. In our house, we set the thermostat to about 24 º Celsius. That way it’s cool enough to still be comfortable, but not so cold that in the middle of August I have to wear a hoodie and wool socks.
I know we’re all more comfortable being cold, or at least temperate, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing if we remind ourselves how to live with the heat. Provided that heatstroke isn’t imminent, being hot can be a good thing. Acclimatizing is preferable to trying to air condition the weather away. The environment would appreciate it, and so would our wallets. Why not use the weather as an excuse to slow down? Summer goes fast as it is, we should stop and take it all in. For one day, turn off the A/C. Enjoy an icy cold treat while spending the day lazing in the heat. Soon enough we’ll be missing the dog days of summer and the heat that we wait for all year. Let’s try not to let it get away.