Looking Back on Fall Date Nights in YYC:Dome Dining Edition..Down The Rabbit Hole We Went

Date nights are always a fun opportunity for me to get dressed up a, throw on a Burgundy Jewel Toned Lipstick and venture out to a new eating establishment we haven’t been to yet. I get nostalgic thinking of when my mom and dad used to go out for dinner which was often saved for special occasions like a birthdays or anniversaries. My mother always had a flair for rich vibrant colors, and would accessorize her long royal blue coat with a ruby or emerald broach pinning her silk scarf against the lapel. Her cheeks freshly rouged as she shuffled me into my black patent dress shoes smelling of Shalimar and Oil of Olay.

It’s only to be expected that I’ve followed a similar pattern of pomp and circumstance on date nights. My boyfriend Tony is well programmed in his responses to my questions around appropriate dress attire where he’ll simply say:

“Wear whatever it is you’d like to wear!”-Smart Boy

It should also come as no surprise that I’ve been extremely overdressed on multiple occasions, but chalked it up to sometimes Truck Stop Diners with world famous pie deserve the opulence.

According to its Website:

We’ve had a couple of mentionable dinner dates in the last several weeks. We finally had made it out to Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant, located in a historical site in Fish Creek Park, Calgary Alberta.

According to its Website:

“The story of the Bow Valley Ranche is nearly twelve decades long. Throughout its many years, the house has always had a reputation for holding unforgettable parties. It began with a few characters who were critical to the development of Alberta’s cattle industry, the Big Four. In fact, the idea of the Calgary Stampede may very well have been conceived within the walls of the house.

In 1896, cattle rancher and businessman William Roper Hull purchased property along the Bow River and built a sprawling ranch house. The ranch became a centre for refined social activities, as he entertained many local and foreign visitors there. Among the activities popular with the guests, tennis and the outdoor pool were crowd favourites, as you can see from the pictures below.

Hull owned the house and property until 1902, when it was purchased by Patrick Burns, a successful cattle rancher who eventually became a senator. Almost a century later, local residents Mitzie and Larry Wasyliw created the Fish Creek Restoration Society in 1995 for the purpose of restoring the Hull residence. In the summer of 1999, the ranch house was opened as a fine dining restaurant.”

Bow Valley Ranche is a fine dining resteraunt and we were celebrating our common-law anniversary, which is a thing for some of us fearful of marriage!

September 28, 2020 gave us an abnormally warm evening and looked forward to clutching on to the last few days, hours and minutes of outdoor dining we could. We had also been aware that they were hosting the Foodies in the Park Series : Wonderland Dome Dining which we will return to experience on October 23rd, 2020. Stay tuned for that!

We strolled along the pathway leading up to the impressive farmhouse, lined with old fashioned street lanterns. It reminded me of the scene in Mary Poppins, Bert and the children went to the park and broke into song singing:

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious !

Amazon.com: Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary Edition: Julie Andrews, Dick Van  Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns

A quaint little fountain in the middle of the Ranch House’s garden marked its way before we arrived at the steps leading us onto a porch that wrapped its way around the house. I knew that was where I wanted to sit for dinner, and we were led to a discreetly placed table

We started our dining experience with a hearty helping of Oysters on the half shell, fresh grated horseradish, lemon and mignonette du jour. On our first date, we had worked our way down 17th Ave, Bar and resteraunt hopping with our last stop being Market. There we drank cognac and ate Oysters until we ended up taking the party back to my place *wink *wink- So it only made sense to indulge.

For dinner I had the Smoked Gouda & Wild Mushroom Stuffed Chicken with macaire potatoes, asparagus, tomato confit and roasted peppers. Tony had the Rougie Duck a L’Orange, with Russian Blue mashed potatoes, green beans, baby carrot vichy. Both entrees were delicious, however we had a little giggle over the plating of his food, specifically his Russian Blue Mashed Potatoes.

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No description available.

We ended our evening of with a dessert of truffles that were on the house. Our waiter was so excellent and quite charming, ensuring our glasses remained full or if we needed anything in the most cordial of ways.

It was a beautiful way to finish up a gorgeous September.

Last night we ventured North of the bow River to SS106 Aperitivo Bar, and Italian Kitchen nestled in the heart of Crescent Heights on Edmonton Trail.

According to their Website:

“SS106’s name derives from the SS106 which is a 491-kilometre highway on the Ionian coast in southern Italy, stretching between the towns of Reggio Calabria in the west to Taranto in the east. While the highway offers incredibly scenic views of beaches, ancient coastal towns and the sea, it is also known as one of Italy’s most dangerous roads, due to tight turns. However, Domenico (the owner) wanted to change the highway’s reputation right here in their hometown of Calgary.

SS106 Aperitivo Bar was opened to create the Italian lifestyle here in Calgary. The Italian lifestyle is very social and every Italian visits their local bar daily even if it’s just for a quick espresso. Many people who have not traveled to Italy have a perception that Italian restaurants are only quiet and candle lit. In Italy many Italian restaurants & bars are very social, happy and louder. SS106 Aperitivo Bar has brought a piece of Italy to YYC.”-Website

And loud it was! It made me long for my girl gang and a time during pre-pandemic days where we’d sit for hours, drinking, laughing and taking no particular notice of the other diners around us regardless of how racey the topic was.I could see the owners vision at work as small groups of diners grazed over plates of Charctuterie, Olives and Pasta.

SS106 makes all their pasta in house and lived up to its charm of not trying to be anything else but just that. A perfect spot to drop in, fill your belly, and try one of their craft cocktails. I enjoyed an Apertivo called the Busted Negroni-Cinzano | Campari | Prosecco | Soda.

We ordered the TAGLIERE (BOARDS) Fromaggio and Calamari to start which were pretty standard and tasty. For our entree’s I had ordered the Gnocchi ai Funghi which is their House-made gnocchi served in a gorgonzola cheese fondue with seared mushrooms. Tony ordered the Fusilli Calabresi pasta served in a tomato sauce with parmesan cheese, which I ended up wishing I had ordered with its nicely spiced, well balanced sauce.Alternatively they have pizza’s as well that perhaps I will try next time. It was a nice time and I was happy Tony had come across this place for our date night. The service was awesome and quick, and very Italian!

Stay tuned for our next date nights in YYC : FoodiesintheparkWonderland Edition

Don’t forget to follow my Instagram @BPEYYC & my Facebook Page:@shegotthatBPE

Date Night YYC: The Meat Sweats and Tall Boys Edition at Big Sky BBQ

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Cece D & Maria

One thing I’m grateful for is friends who are always down for beer and brisket. My usual sidekick just so happened to be on call for work, and my good friend Maria swooped in to the rescue to be my dining partner for the night. Since moving to the South end of Calgary Alberta, I’ve quickly adapted from a bougie inner city girl to the Suburban Scarlet O’Hara, proclaiming “I will Never Go Hungry Again!”- ensuring I have a long list of close fave eating spots. And Big Sky BBQ is one of them. From My home in Auburn Bay, Big Sky BBQ is a quick 11 minute drive South to Okotoks, where its clear you are immediately immersed in the spectacular Albertan countryside, passing over the Bow River where people are fly fishing or taking in an relaxing float. The rolling foothills, pastures, and acreage homes tout a vibe where living seems easy and unbothered by the city that lays North of them. The scenic drive never fails to build anticipation for me, where the tension begins to leave my body and replaced with some deeper breathes, filling my lungs with air that just feels more bountiful.

I fell in love with Big Sky BBQ last summer, when we had a hankering for BBQ but didn’t want to drive downtown to our other favorite spot The Cormery Block. It would be since I had snagged me a southern boy from St. Louis 4 years ago, that I’d now consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur of what can be considered “Good BBQ.” Not only good BBQ, but how BBQ can vary from region to region, whereby one can hone in on what their favorite style of BBQ is. From the rubs, to the woods, to the smoke, to the sauces, it all can cone together exquisitely if done right. BBQ is the type of food you can taste the passion and soul put into it-maybe that’s why it makes us feel so good when the rich aromas hit our senses. It ignites a sense of familiarity that feels like home with every morsel that falls of the bone.

Upon arrival you are transported to an authentic Texas Style BBQ Joint- But aesthetically nicer in my opinion. Inside you get the vibe of a roadhouse, where its spacious and cozy all rolled up in one Biker Loving atmosphere. My favorite however is the outdoor dining, where there are picnic tables with umbrellas in a beautiful grassy landscape, and heated bar seating that makes it easy to sit out there for hours and take in the sunset. When you look out, you’ll see horses running majestically in the distance. As you can tell from my description, ambience is everything for me when I’m out to eat, and BBQ without the right setting in my opinion can make or break even the taste of those savory meaty delights.

So it was no surprise that despite the cool temperatures Maria and I sat there with our coats huddled up under the heat lamp for hours, putting back Sangria’s and Tall Boys like a couple Roadhouse hussies looking for a good time. Its the kind of place where you can strike up conversations with strangers beside you and reconnect with the world again after a lengthy year amidst this exhausting pandemic, While Alberta continues to sway in and out of varying restrictions, we’ve become more cognizant about supporting our local businesses like Big Sky BBQ, as its a place that clearly gives back to us as well in the form of a place to gather safely over some good ol’ soul food. Food has always historically brought people together- and this establishment does just that.

So we dined on their Smoked Beans, Brisket, St. Louis Ribs(to die for) and coleslaw to balance it all out. I personally love to mix my Beans and Slaw together making for an extra sloppy mouth watering variation. I don’t think there isn’t anything on the menu that isn’t amazing, and if you go with a group get the platters as you get some major bang for your buck that will keep you eating BBQ for the days ahead.

So if you are a local to Calgary or surrounding area, this is a must go to spot in my opinion. Lets continue to get see our local businesses through this rough patch, and do yourself a favor too by getting out the house!

Big Sky BBQ also has an on location butcher shop, catering, and Pit Master cooking classes!

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Happy Mom and Her Meats!

Peep Their Menu Here

Love in a Time of Quarantine: 17 #StayHomeStaySafe Valentines at Home Ideas for some Lockdown Lovin’

1.Recreate your first date.

Here’s an opportunity to go all out: recreate your first date — at home. If you went to a coffee shop, whip up some artisanal coffees. If you went to a romantic restaurant, print the menu and try to make one of the dishes in your kitchen. If you went to the zoo, print pictures of the animals you saw and put them in frames around the living room. Get creative and remember to tell your partner everything you loved about them on that very first day.

Our first date was on 17th Ave in Calgary- We did a bar crawl from one end of the Ave to the other.

2.Take a virtual mixology class.

pink summer drinks

Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to get fancy with your drinks. Not sure how to mix anything more exciting than a vodka soda? Take a class! Log on with your special someone — or your pals — and let an expert help. Virtual Holiday Party Canada Offers Many Options!

3.Take a class.

mother and daughter 3 4 decorating cake

Little ones deserve to have a festive Valentine’s Day too. To get them in on the fun, sign them up for a V-Day-themed virtual class. Websites like Eventbrite have options from baking and letter writing to dancing and singing.

4.Have an Indoor Picnic

edward albert and goldie hawn in 'butterflies are free'

Spread out on the living room floor with a gourmet spread (we like this lobster roll and sea salt brownies kit from Maine) and bottle of bubbles. Make sure to set the scene with a cheerful picnic blanket and pack a basket—they are worthwhile purchases if you don’t already have them. Sunterra Market in Calgary is offering a Valentines Day themed Heat & Eat curbside pick up option!

5.Build A Fire/Go Camping—in Your Backyard

wine and the patio firepit

February might still be chilly, but make the most of it by dressing up in your warmest coats and building a fire. Bring out a bottle of good wine, toast some oversize marshmallows, play an outdoor game, and enjoy the outdoors during the time of year we are usually inside. If you have an outdoor space that’s bigger than a barely-there balcony (lucky you!), consider turning your backyard into your own personal campsite. Just hang some string lights, grab a couple cozy blankets (or Parka’sif you live in Calgary!), fill these Oprah-approvedtriple-insulated mugs with a delicious hot drink (think: mulled wine, spiked hot chocolate, or Irish coffee), and build a roaring fire pit, and you’ll have everything you need for an at-home adventure—complete with stargazing, of most importantly, s’mores (pro tip: swap peanut butter cups for chocolate bars).

6.Have a Dance Party

For a more interactive evening, Mary J. Gibson, a relationship expert for DatingXP, recommends dancing to get your heart rate up. A variety of dance classes are now offered online: Learn how to fox trot, tango, and two step during one of Ballroom Dance Chicago’s Zoom lessonsDancio teaches beginners how to do a plié and pirouette; and CLI studios offers lessons on everything from tap to hip-hop. (Pro tip: Just make sure to put on some romantic background music.) You can also, of course, fire up YouTube and learn choreo to some of your favorite music videos.

7.Have a Karaoke Night

Though an activity like karaoke might make you feel a little self-conscious, it’s a great bonding experience. “When one partner is feeling adventurous or afraid and they are stepping out of their comfort zone, this gives the other partner an opportunity to show their comforting or protective side,” says Sassoon. (Suffer from serious stage fright? Purchase this bestselling karaoke microphone and enjoy singing your favorite sultry tunes—from the comfort of your couch.)

Here’s a video from some of our Karaoke Days!

8. Volunteer somewhere together.

Hopefully, you show your partner love all year round. So instead of showering each other this V-Day, give love to someone else who may need it even more. Soup kitchens and homeless shelters are always looking for volunteers, as are animal shelters (furry babes need love too!).

Browse Here for Volunteer Opportunities

9. Pose away in a photo session.

Hear me out: While a photo session can feel cheesy, once you have those adorable couples photos, you won’t think twice about how corny you looked in that Charlie’s Angels pose in the second shot. Use the session as an opportunity to have fun with each other and create memories and photos that will literally last a lifetime. Shoott makes it easy to book a session in your area, and you’ll only pay for the photos you like.

Or Recreate these hilarious ones!

10. Play a romantic game

A romantic game can keep you entertained for hours
A romantic game can keep you entertained for hours

Fed up with date nights ending on the couch with another Netflix binge-watching session?

I suggest getting a romantic or a simple board game to get you two talking, playing or simply engaging with one another. The Date Night Box Set is a great option because you and your partner can choose from three different game variations: Talk, Flirt or Dare Cards that can really spice up your night.

Or even better, strip poker, naked twister?

11.Plan a future vacation

Even if you can't travel now, creating future plans can be loads of fun
Struggling with the travel blues? Even if you can’t travel now, creating future plans can be loads of fun by mapping future vacations. You can get a special journal or even a simple sheet of paper and get carried away making the most romantic plans around the globe.

12. Do a sexy virtual workshop.

From home, of course. For instance, Lovers Stores is offering an online workshop on “how to have the sexiest Valentine’s Day ever” on Feb. 10 (you be the judge) that includes prizes, pleasure product highlights, and more. Or try Valentine’s Tantra Date Night, a virtual, guided experience that can help you feel more chemistry with your partner. It’s rated PG—so keep your clothes on—and we hear it’s suitable for new and existing couples.

13. Head to a hotel.

Whether you stay in your city or drive to one nearby, book a special hotel room for a quick getaway. Some hotels even offer holiday programming. See the 25 Alberta Hotels & Resorts Offering Valentine’s Day Staycation Packages which features a couple of my favorite local hotels listed below.

Hotel Arts

Valentine’s Date Night: This luxury hotel in the centre of downtown Calgary will spoil you and your partner this Valentine’s Day with upscale accommodations. While you bask in this at home escape, enjoy a gourmet dinner for two and a bottle of wine from the comfort of your room.

Details

Ph: (403) 266-4611

Cost: Luxury Rooms from $349 and Luxury Suites from $379.

Fairmont Palliser

Luxe in Love: Swoon over your stay in a spacious suite at the downtown Calgary Fairmont Palliser. This special for two includes fondue, charcuterie, canapes, and sparkling wine. You can also enjoy your room and accommodations a bit later with this package.

Details

Ph: (403) 262-1234

Cost: Starting at $479 CAD per night

14. Sip and paint.

You may remember this pre-pandemic activity that involves painting canvases and drinking decent amounts of wine. Recreate this activity at home and buy watercolor paint (the better not to ruin your floor). Then set up an object to recreate (fruit always works), say cheers, and bring the object to life. Or even better spice it up a notch a use your human canvases!

Image result for body painting images

15. Take a long drive.

Fill up your gas tank, pack snacks and (non-alcoholic) drinks, and ride around your local area. You can stop your joyride at a secluded area like a park or camping site. If the weather allows, enjoy some time outside. See these 25 Day Trips from Calgary

16. Make a short movie.

Who needs Steven Spielberg when you have a smartphone? Be the directors of your lives when you film yourselves for the evening doing…whatever you like. Maybe you share sweet confessions about each other, film yourselves running around outside, or maybe…you get more creative. No matter what, feel free to press delete at the end of the day; this film is all in good fun.

17. SKATING

This is a hobby that has become even more popular since many people have taken on to doing more outdoor activities and here in Calgary and in the surrounding areas there is no shortage of places to go!

Check out these Local Skating Options.

For an Even more spectacular experience check out these 10 Gorgeous Mountain Skating Spots You Can Find In Alberta

Friday Date Night YYC: Down the Rabbit Hole

So this last Friday night My Honey Bear and I were joined by a couple of friends for another date night in the YYC. Our destination the Calgary Food Events Series: Foodies in the Park, Wonderland Dome Dining. I have been anticipating this event for a long time as I’ve always had a deep connection with the story of Alice in Wonderland by British Author Lewis Carrol. My intrigue embedded in the motifs and symbolism of the characters and lessons within the seemingly childlike story of Wonder. If you are not familiar with them I encourage you to explore further as they have played a significant role in finding resolve within many epiphany’s I have encountered in this life.

Themes and Motifs

In addition, the continuous stream of good reviews and beautiful pictures had me counting down the days and hours, ready to find madness at any expense. It was not only the dining experience I was excited for the but the overall soiree of dining in a literal winter wonderland. And unlike any other winter wonder land us Albertans are used to, this was an Alice in Wonderland themed one!

Date nights for me are always an opportunity to take the tags off a new cute outfit and dawn some new heels. In a Covid world these occasions are few an far between, so when this gal can throw on her sequins and lashes, you bet she pulls out all the stops. So prior to leaving for our date night, I was reminded by Practical Pete the Fashion Fun Police several times to dress warm and opt for the less dangerous foot attire as he shook his head at my original thigh high healed boots I had been itching to wear. And not knowing the level of comfort we would be experiencing inside the dome we came equipped with blankets gloves and scars ready to endure the -11° weather. Never mind that we had experienced an October snowstorm that whole day so the drive there in itself an adventure.

When we arrived at Fish Creek Park in Calgary, site of the the well-established Bow Valley Ranche restaurant is located. See my previous Friday night YYC Date Night post on this special heritage Farm House dining experience.

And to my disappointment, I most surely could have absolutely worn the boots as we proceeded to take a little walk towards the event area on the freshly shoveled paths. Anticipation escalated as the lights twinkled in the distance. Our journey down the rabbit hole was accented by the colonial style street lamps that took me back in time when lovers would stroll in Hyde Park. All bundled up we strolled collectively arm and arm, our heads decorated appropriately for a Mad Hatter party like no other. Our manly escorts who were initially perplexed by our wardrobe decisions that evening, now understood what all the pomp and circumstance was over. They too were realizing perhaps they were underdressed for the exclusive invitation at the one and only Red Queen’s table; their heads would surely the first to roll!

When we approached the gates of Wonderland we were greeted by A Gourmet Hot Chocolate Stand where you can sip on decadent chocolate nectar that created a child like sense of nostalgia for myself. We wove through the crystal white garden corridors towards our little snow covered dome, which was now resembling an igloo from the snowfall. The inviting glow of the other mad ones indulging in the delights intrigued my senses even more. When the little door to our personal wonderland was opened as if I had taken the sip from the “Drink Me” bottle shrinking me further into the rabbit hole. The dome was delightfully warm, equipped with heating, and there was no need for the layers we had brought.

Did I mention, I could have definitely worn the boots.

The setting was authentically decorated with the kind of tasteful magic you’d expect at the Red Queens table. The men allowed us to squeal with excitement- in fact they were squealing internally I’m sure of it. Our server “C.V.” was exceptional- he aimed to entertain and indulge in the experience with us. We were never in need of anything as he catered to our every request- even providing us sugar cookies to take home with us to the children who were tucked away in bed as the adults played.

“It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

.

The Menu is preset upon booking your tickets for the event-with us dining on a variation of Beat Salad plated like a backwards clock, roasted duck, beef tenderloin, salmon and cod. Desert was an assortment of naughty delightful tarts. The signature cocktails packed a powerful buzz to ignite fun and laughter filled conversation throughout the night. We were sure to incorporate our escalating gitty-ness with mounting shenanigans that truly were as Mad as a Hatter could get.

When in Rome!

“We’re all mad here.”

-The Cheshire Cat

This event I would attend religiously now that I had the opportunity to experience it. Many ask is it worth it? Well of course it is as you are factoring in the price of an entire “experience “ which when you consider how much you spend on just a night at a restaurant, movies or nightclub, it wouldn’t even come close in value! It ends November 1st, so if you are able to squeeze into a remaining reservation don’t miss this! There is even for the afternoon tea option I highly recommend if dinner is not an option!

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

-Alice

Sadly our evening came to an end in which I felt as if time had stood still until the clock struck midnight. We were all just beaming with delight and so grateful to have had the opportunity to share in this experience. Our night did not end there, and was quickly followed tucked cozily into bed watching the Disney Tale from in the comfort of my pajamas. I simply cannot wait for the next time Foodies in the Park does another event like this!

If you enjoyed this Tale of sorts please continue to come by and visit for more adventures in the life of CeCe D. Drop a line, give me feed back, let me know what you think!

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instagram: @cece_a_broadtalez

Twitter: @CeCeD08369047

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Friday Dates YYC: Looking Back on A Summertime Memory- Picnic at Prince’s Island Park

The Best Picnic Baskets on the Market in 2020 | A Foodal Buying Guide

A proper late afternoon it was as I recall in late June. You see we were already in what felt like month 8 of wintertime, so when the warm weather hit, we took advantage of the good weather vibes. Nevertheless, these months can often feel like years. Weathering Calgary winters is a matter of psychological survival of the fittest. You can either fall into the winter doldrums and await the snow melt, or just carry on with life. Our ability to endure is massively under-estimated as many would assume we must be miserable during these months, but we make it work. Others tend to rub salt into our frigid wounds despite our resilience, but should be assured we make the most out of any outdoor time we can get. Located next to us is the Province of British Columbia, who’s residents continuously boast about their balmy year round weather, and it leaves us no choice but to talk about ours occasionally. Our conversations often worth mentioning which I learned is not a well known term among outsiders- The Chinook. They can be lovely and painful.

You see, just as my skull felt like it was going to rupture from the pressure, I realized it wasn’t from a Chinook but from a wicked mid week pandemic drinking hangover. Who knew there would something worse than the Chinook Migraines to consider… Alas there was the Covid-19 headaches lurking around each corner or on the surface of your delivered groceries. It seems that being an Albertan comes often with a lot of headaches no matter which way you go about life. We desperately needed a break from it all. And an early summer was delivered!

While Good ol’ 2020 is the year we all hope to forget, it was forgiving enough to give us a bit of early nice weather for a change, no headaches attached. In fact, as we were all hunkered down at our homes, I worked on my patio most days soaking up the cool spring sunshine. By June the weather remained beautiful and the Province began to lift the pressure of isolation and extreme social distancing measures. After months of binge watching Game of Thrones & Vikings, a date with the outside world would be added to my empty agenda. Kudos to all those who got super creative and cute with their social bubbles…we aren’t that type at all. We were just focusing on finding Lysol wipes, toilet paper, and not murdering each other.

So to my surprise, my adorable boyfriend made a plan to take me on a picnic at Prince’s Island park.

The sun was out and I was dressed for the occasion, wearing an adorable little romper with white polka dots. In fact it was one of 20 I would buy throughout the months of online shopping that kept me busy during a pandemic lockdown. As the Pandemic marched on foiling my runway Covid release party, I’d send them all back in defeat. I kept 2 rompers in total to symbolize the 1 time I picnicked in the park, and then one in case we’d do it again. On this day I felt sort of normal. Our picnic basket that had been given as a gift years ago was filled with some champagne and pre-ordered Lebanese food from a store that was doing “pick-up only.” We were into supporting the small businesses in which many as a result of our Stage 1 shut down were on the brink of closing their doors for good. I assure you we single handedly did our best to keep them afloat with our hearty appetites and my lack of desire to cook.

As we strolled making our way through the park on the hunt for the perfect picnic spot we ensured the two meters apart protocol. I should mention when you are in a park, its really hard to avoid the floods of roller-bladers, skateboarders, cyclists, and people who just didn’t give a shit. This was probably the most stressful part of the date as we worked really hard to do our share of distancing, dodging, ducking, and all around avoiding passer-byers. This may seem ridiculous but remember this was in the early months when no one knew whether to wear a mask, or thought Covid was a 5G network conspiracy.

This anxiety inducing element made finding the “perfect picnic spot” got old real quick and we lowered our standards somewhat settling on a plot of grass that had the least amount of Canadian Goose Shit in or around it. We settled for a beautiful spot under a tree where my honey could sit in the shade and I could soak up the long awaited warm summer rays. Blankets were laid, food spread out, champagne poured and a good vibes playlist begun.

I vividly remember how amazing it felt to be out in the world again, watching new faces stroll by, all equally desiring the same need to reconnect with the world again. Colors seemed amplified, the flowers and grass more fragrant. The sounds of the birds and the fountain heightened against the rousing melodic music in the background. Even the face of my boyfriend looked fresh and new despite having stared at it non-stop for the previous couple months while in the pandemic lockdown. Perhaps I was going to recant my initial thoughts of smothering him in his sleep? The edges of his lips would begin to curl up and a smile peaking through…indeed I would not be smothering him.

I had only wished we had brought a frisbee, mitts and a ball. Maybe badminton rackets even, not that I can actually do any of these activities well. There is something about being in a park however that suggests that when in Rome, these activities could be enjoyable even for a gigantic accident prone clutz like myself. I imagine that during better times in the world you could probably catch a scene from Top Gun where all the boys are playing volleyball shirtless, dogtags stuck against their glistening sweaty skin. Silver framed Aviators perched perfectly on the bridge of their Adonis nose, complimenting a strongly chiseled jawline. If luck would have it, maybe a rogue volleyball would make it my way, rolling into my peripheral view. I’d glare at the broad shadowy figure above me, looking sheepishly irritated with the interruption as I adjust my bathing suit flush against my oiled and cellulite free bottom. I did say it was “better times” y’all, 20 years ago give or take.

Let me get back to reality here.

Our food was so delicious, and so was the company. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect late afternoon; dining Al Fresco on our little patch of heaven in the park. We found new things to talk about that left us freshly engaged as our conversation danced with ideas, ready to execute for when things returned back to normal. Careful to not get too hopeful, but enough as to not let the cynicism seep in and ruin the day. We’d talk about places we wanted to travel too in the next coming years, and what kind of adventure we were seeking from these travels. We would go through the list of what we had learned about ourselves during the isolation from friends and family and what good things came from these lessons. We’d acknowledge the fact that the pandemic was not going to be forever but here for now. Just like how the time we had together was going to model a similar outcome. We’d have each other now, and in this moment hoped it would last forever, but impossible.

We would not get the opportunity to picnic like this again during the summer, but would spend some time on the Bow river floating, snacking and sipping in the sunshine. It would be the simplicity of these afternoons that I hope we can repeat next summer as soon as the warmth returns to us. I suspect the world may still be in a similar state in 7 months whereby our gatherings stay small, our travel plans stay local, and expectations stay realistic. Picnic’s in the park for a Pandemic Date Win!