Today was awesome!

Went shopping in Toronto proper again, with buddies Graydon and Ian, who informed me that the two-to-four inches of snow sifting gently down on our heads was hardly worthy of notice, let alone comment. And so, with this in mind, we hiked from bookstore (Awesome!) to comic shop (overwhelming!) to sex boutique to St. Lawrence’s market. (I have great friends. They accept that Ursula’s interests go books, sex, and cheese, and cater accordingly and without undue comment or surprise.*)

And let me just say, THAT is how a sex shop oughta be. It was called “Good for Her” and it was a tiny, brightly lit little boutique of the sort that generally features expensive handbags made by the more capitalist variety of hippie, or aromatherapy kits, or handmade batiked scarves or something. Except it had sex toys. And books. And a wall of vibrators with the tiny handwritten notes that one might expect from the better sort of independant bookstore. The staff behind the counter was all female and offered us tea as soon as we walked in. Tea.  I mean, I have been in clean, well-lit adult stores before, but they still carry an indefineable air of mild, if professional sleaze. This was so far from sleazy that sleaze would not be seen on the same BLOCK. It was amazing.

If more sex shops were like that, women would be infinitely less sexually repressed, let me tell you.

(No, I’m not telling you what I bought. My parents read this blog.)

And then…there was St. Lawrence market.

I would like one of those added to Raleigh, please.  Preferably before I get back.

It was…this…kinda…culinary….farmer’s market…crazy…place.  I mean…dude. DUDE. Venison and green apple pate. Wild boar and apricot pate. And….cheese. Wow. Such cheese! (I made the mistake of telling Graydon that I loved Black Diamond cheddar. He stared at me in horror and said “That’s only fit for putting on macaroni and cheese!” And so now I have a block of 9-year aged raw milk Quebec cheddar that is just this side of orgasmic, and if customs tries to take it from me, I will gnaw on somebody’s ankle.)

Plus some weird Canadian candies. I grabbed somewhat indiscriminately from bins, just to try them. (If I wind up liking some, of course, I’ll be screwed and begging for people to export, in much the same way I do Red Vines and those little foil-wrapped cheeses with the Elmer’s glue cow on them.)

Also, did you know Canada has ketchup flavored potato chips? They’re a lovely country, but that’s somehow unnatural.

And I picked up gifts for Mom & Tom, who love the cooking thing–death mustard powder, good parmesan, and then…honey.

Oh lord.

I have spent my entire life on a quest for the honey I had once in my youth, a wildflower honey, still in the comb, that tasted like the essence of wildflowers. It was lightweight and fragrant and melted on the tongue, and I would claw my way over the piled bodies of the dead to get more.  Unfortunately, I have never quite found it, and I still haven’t, but this was pretty damn good nonetheless, and I acquired a small comb for my parents.

But the honey salesman…dear me.

It was an entire booth of almost entirely New Zealand honey. You’d think this is a specialty market, and you’d be right. But the man made up for it by selling his honey with a missionary zeal. He was not a salesman. He was a honey evangelist. 

He asked if I would like to try a sample. I said yes. Possibly this was foolishness. I’m not sure. Because he then brought out samples of almost every variety of honey behind the counter. Acacia honey! Heather honey! Chesnut honey! French Christmas tree honey!** Tasmanian lavender honey! Thyme honey! (Oh god, the thyme honey…)  I gave up after about fifteen or twenty samples, because my tongue was curling up and mummifying in my head, and I was starting to vibrate like a giant wool-clad hummingbird. (Ian stuck it out bravely with me on the honey sampling front. Graydon just bought six jars, and so avoided being sampled to death.)  We tried to retreat, and he waved viper-bugloss honey at us for the road.

By the time we got to dinner at a place that offered tea, I drank it black, unable to bear the thought of honey in it. Or possibly ever again.

So a pleasant meal, met Ian’s lovely wife Jen, and all was right with the cosmos. Then back, to blog, and thence to collapse into a pile of sleep.

Oh, also my editor called, and Nurk isapparently going to be featured in something called “Kirkus Reviews.” You writers reading this–how excited should I be? Is this like cool, megacool, somewhat cool, coolish, break-out-the-booze cool…where on the coolness scale does this rate?

*Yes, yes, get the jokes about combining them out of your system. Although I will admit that I once said, while severely drunk, “I dunno, anybody who rubbed brie on my nipples, I’d give ’em a second look.” Make of that whatever you like.  (Probably what you should make of it is that I was really REALLY drunk…)


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