Travel: Toronto & Brantford
Bernice introduced me to Yorkville’s Sushi Inn on Tuesday, where we feasted like queens for a combined total of $39 plus tip. I’m talking seaweed salad, avocado salad, sushi pizza, spicy tuna, and one order of salmon teriyaki that came with miso soup, salad, and rice. The spicy tuna was the best I’d had in my life. No joke.
I haven’t seen Karen since…medical school? Possibly a wedding afterward. But basically, aeons ago.
She introduced me to the Park Hyatt rooftop bar. Under the warmth of the overhead heaters, I briefly took off my coat, and we drank $20 cocktails and I ate marinated olives and almonds off our own tray of bar snacks.
She had to go to a teaching session on breast lumps, so I meandered into Queen’s Park, then the Lillian H. Smith Library. I’m a library fiend. I read Mariko & Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer and another graphic novel, The Cute Girls Network. Now I want to read Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore.
I ate spicy eggplant at a Chinese restaurant on Dundas street called something like The Best Seafood Restaurant. The fresh scallions were a nice touch, and it cost a grand total of $6.37 plus tip. (The guys at the next table got some sizzling plates and kept talking about the grouper.) I gave the servier $10 and asked if I could bring an extra fortune cookie home for my other child. He gave me four fortune cookies, and we were both happy.
Finally, my chef d’oeuvre: a cheap massage. Not the creepy kind. The Chinese kind.
I chose the 30 minute reflexology and 60 minute Swedish massage for $65 at the Oriental Natural Spa. Yeah! I haven’t had a massage since I was eight months pregnant with Anastasia, and that time, the NYC massage therapist just kept saying, “Gentle. Gentle” because of my baby.
This was the opposite.
I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO THOROUGHLY MASSAGED IN MY LIFE.
He would have backed off if I’d asked. He did ask, “Hard? Not hard?” I said, “No, it’s okay.” I decided to push through the occasional discomfort. I walked back to my airbnb and I felt sore, like I’d done a huge workout, instead of getting worked over for 90 minutes.
It was a good thing. I prefer to know that I’ve gotten my money’s worth.
I left a big tip.
Then I crashed at my airbnb. Super clean, private bathroom, a balcony with a view of City Hall and the CN tower. I only regret that I didn’t get to try the gym.
I was at the Brantford Public Library on Tuesday as the guest speaker for their memoir program, Lifescapes. It was the first time I’d been paid to speak as an author. “You were talked up a lot,” one couple informed me. (It turned out they’d founded Canada’s Cystic Fibrosis association. Pretty cool, non?) I’d met the brilliant librarian, Robin Harding, at Bloody Words 2014, and she invited me then. I did talk about memoir, as well as traditional and indie publishing, and my tips for success in writing, and in life, frankly (view my cool slides on Slideshare here).
I was a little nervous that no one would show up, so I was super happy that three people came half an hour early. And then we basically filled up the auditorium!
Now I have a soft spot for Brantford. Maybe next time I’ll get to enjoy the city more. The train was perfect and only ~12 minutes walk away from the library.
On Saturday, Majinx did their Houdini show in Vankleek Hill. I did a book signing beforehand, because Terminally Ill is about an escape artist who chains himself up like Houdini and nails himself into a coffin, but doesn’t escape, and needs Dr. Hope Sze’s help to a) survive, and b) figure out who would have sabotaged his stunt. If you want to read this ebook for free Kobo, just enter the promo code HOPEGONE. You can also use this code for Code Blues or Notorious D.O.C., but you’ve got to pick one.
My next appearance is at the Canadian Undergraduate Conference on Healthcare in Kingston November 14-16th. It’s the first time I’m speaking at a health care conference. Previous speakers include astronaut Roberta Bondar and CBC’s White Coat Black Art’s Dr. Brian Goldman, so, no pressure.
Note: this post was delayed by work and out of respect for the shootings in Ottawa. I’m thinking of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and his family, and am grateful to Sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers.
Happy reading and safe travels.