Today I embark on a four-day weekend, probably my favourite mini-holiday of the year: Canada Day weekend. Most Canadians will spend this weekend in backyards, parks and campgrounds - grilling food, drinking beer, and shooting off fireworks in a limb-maiming homemade pyrotech showdown with their neighbours.
Last year I went camping with 75 friends while dressed up as Xena: Warrior Princess. I figure that's gonna be a pretty hard act to follow, so I've decided to stay in the city this year. Today I'm going on a glamour safari with Canadian couture designer Mark Belford. I'm attending a wedding next weekend, so mama needs to look spiffy, and Mark is the finest shopping sherpa a girl could ask for. Our expedition shall conclude with adult refreshments from his fabulous terrace overlooking the stunning urban spawl of Mississauga.
Saturday starts with F1 qualifying at 8am - my favourite way to start the day. This weekend's race is le Grand Prix de France at Magny-Cours, a tough track with brutal hairpins, so cars will probably crash and I will be giddy. Then it's a few pints on a rooftop patio later in the afternoon with an old friend.
Sunday promises to be spectacular - starting with the French Grand Prix race at 7am, some champagne & OJ, and a full-on Canadian breakfast (eggs, maple cured back bacon, hash browns and toast). Then maybe a nap and it's off to my friends' Canada Day BBQ. The hosts are professional foodies, and the authors of Cooking With Booze, so I anticipate very good food with very good friends.
If I'm still standing on Monday, it's Caesarfest with Dave FM, my nomadic mixologist friend, back in town after years of scuba diving his way through Southeast Asia and Japan. For those who are not familiar with the Bloody Caesar, Canada's official cocktail, click here for the history and a recipe. Dave and I used to bartend together at a college pub, and came to perfect our own personal versions of the drink, and you can bet that there as many variations on the recipe as there are taverns. We try to meet every summer for a tour of Toronto's patios and a sampling of various recipes. It's not terribly scientific - after about 5 of them, the canker sores kick in and the subtleties of flavour get lost. I tend to get lost, as well, which is why Dave and I shall be equipped with GPS units this year.
But amid all the fun and frolic, I'd like to take a moment to pay tribute to our Peacekeepers in Afghanistan, who still don't know when they can come home to their families. Thank you Cpl. John Phillips - you saved my life once, and I'll always love you. My thoughts are also with the Poland family, who lost their son (my friend since childhood) Cpl Brent Poland, on April 8th in a roadside bombing near Khandahar. I miss him dearly.
I wish you all a Happy Canada Day, and an early Happy 4th of July to my American friends, since I may not recover in time to send my regards next Wednesday. I shall toast you all this afternoon while I give thanks for the privelege of living in a fairly reasonable country that doesn't piss off too many people in this world.