A Wife of Noble Character

I sometimes think of myself as a frenetic busybody who can merely aspire to a slower, more intentional life. True, I have uncharacteristic moments of thoughtful introspection. But it seems most of the time I am going at least 10 km/h above the speed limit (25 if we’re on the highway). Today, aided by some wise words in Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline, I had an uncharacteristic aha! moment – a recognition that despite being on maternity leave, I am still thinking of myself as a worker first and a mother second.

Twitter chats. Courses. Reading. It seems I am moderately addicted to the accumulation of knowledge. Some might think of this as a good thing. But then I thought back to my time with Andy last night. It was somewhere between 7 pm and 8 pm (I know this, because I was trying to engage with both him and #engsschat). When I looked at him and talked with him, he gave me the biggest smiles. At the same time, I noticed he kept looking at the computer screen whenever I tried to type with one hand while holding something else in the other as a distraction. “What’s going on over there,” he must have been thinking, “and how come they’re more interesting than me?”

Now, I don’t want this post to come off as a “woe is me for being a terrible person” post, because I recognize that learning to incorporate a new area of identity is always difficult. But I do want to share a few of my inner thoughts.

Naturally, I gravitated towards Proverbs 31, the quintessential passage that all Christian wives tend to pick apart, analyze, and compare themselves to. I remember the first time reading it after I had gotten engaged. “Dang, this woman has totally got it together,” I thought to myself, “Is this even possible?” (It is, by the way – I am lucky to have met some amazing women who live out this passage). And though I would be lying if I said I’m not sometimes envious of these women, their togetherness, and their humility, I also try to remind myself to be gracious when it comes to my own shortcomings.

So here it is – Proverbs 31…with a few of my own thoughts.

A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.

I am blessed in that I have an amazingly supportive husband. If you were to ask Kelvin whether he has full confidence in me, he would probably say yes, but this is possibly more a reflection of his good leadership than my inherent ability.

She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.

Not on good days. Not when she’s had a full night’s rest. ALL days. What about those days when I bring nothing at all?

She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.

Diligent and connected. Aspiring to this.

She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.

Okay, this is one I struggle with constantly. In the mornings, I have reverted to sleeping in again with Andy while he’s in our bed. Perhaps going to bed before 12:30 might help with this. Also need to do a better job – a much better job – of the whole providing food for my family. Having charcuterie plates for dinner are nice every so often, but not when they become the norm because I’m too lazy to get groceries and actually put some forethought into what we’re having for dinner.

She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

Again with the diligence. And this woman is a savvy investor! When we were going through pre-marital counselling, we both said that I would deal with the finances. This has not turned out to be the case. Kelvin handles our investments, financing, and most of our credit cards, while I merely pay for some of our home utilities and one or two credit cards.

She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.

I do work hard most of the time. But this accounts for only 2 lines out of 43.

She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

This woman is seriously hardworking. And has the home economics down.

She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.

Beyond just giving money to charity, this woman actually takes matters into her own hands and advocates for the marginalized. I am so often wrapped up in my own life that I do not give pause to issues that I really should care about.

When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

I need to learn to sew.

Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

In my actions, I need to consider also how this affects Kelvin’s reputation. He is really building something amazing with work and I need to support him in those things.

She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.

Again with the sewing.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

This is perhaps the tallest order. Strength. Dignity. Foresight. Wisdom. Self-control. A combination of things that you don’t find in every 20-something. And these are things that take time to nurture.

She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:

Though Andy is not old enough at this age to be able to “call me blessed”, I do hope that we have a really good relationship as he gets older. I want him to trust me, to know that he is loved, and to see me as someone who is an example to him – a good example. And this definitely starts with me spending more quality time with him. And sharing the things that are on my heart, and that I’m passionate about.

“Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

And here’s the kicker. Fear of the Lord. My time spent with the spiritual disciplines is lacklustre, and I know that until this improves, my soul is not rich soil for the working of the Spirit, and thus I am not effective in the doing of God’s good works.

All this to say that I am reminded once again of how much more I have to strive for, but also how I am encouraged, knowing that I serve a gracious God who gives us new opportunities each day to draw near to Him.

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15.

Yesterday night was brutal.

Andy is closing in on 4 months, so I thought it might be a good time to ease our way into sleep training. And just for the record, when it comes to sleep training, there is no such thing as ease. We put him down without much difficulty around 9, but after he awoke at 12:30 (for a feed, which I guess was okay because we were just heading to bed), he would not go back down. For some reason, I thought “Hmm, let’s see if crying it out will work”. I let him cry for 5 minutes, then as the method instructs, I headed in to reassure him for a brief time before leaving him to cry again. I was supposed to wait for 10 minutes as my next interval before heading in to reassure him, but at 8 minutes I could not take it anymore. I went in, attempted to calm him from a distance, then promptly picked him up to comfort him.

How foolish of me.

He calmed down right away. No damage done. And so I gently placed him back in his crib and headed back to bed. Of course, before I even left his room, he was wailing again. “Stay strong, Catherine” I told myself. I turned the sound off on our video monitor, and waited for him to calm down. Just before the 5 minute mark, he put himself to sleep.

Sadly, this did not last.

About forty minutes later, he started screaming again. I made it to 5 minutes, went in to reassure him, but again could not make it to the 10 minute mark. In my frustration, even though it was close to 2 in the morning and Kelvin was asleep, I threw a little fit in our room and tried to drown out his crying by placing the pillow over my head while kicking (and screaming). After a declaration of “I can’t take this anymore!” I picked up my pillow, the monitor, and my phone, and headed to the basement. “Perhaps if the crying was not as piercing, my willpower would be stronger” I thought. I set my alarm for 15 minutes and tried to sleep until the next “checkpoint”. For those of you who are wondering, yes, I could still hear him from the basement. But thankfully, no, I did not need to head back upstairs. He fell asleep about a minute before my alarm was due to go off.

But alas, as is the case each morning, all is well in the world, as my sweet boy once again returns.

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As for mommy (because for some reason, now that I have a child, I refer to myself in third person all the time), this was a big week. I sent in some applications (more on this next week) that have the potential to dramatically change both my professional and social/community life and am eager to hear back. I also spent some time working on a wedding program for some good friends of ours. Matching their invitation stylistically was a big jump for me, as their entire suite is much more delicate than my work normally is. But as is often the case, these are the things that help you to grow and develop. Diversity is the spice of life. And for that I am very thankful.

Now for some things from around the internet.

I’ll be heading to Hong Kong in February for this conference. I won a free ticket through a twitter chat that I frequently participate in, and registration finally opened!

We need more beautiful learning spaces in Canada. Like the ones created by this firm in Japan (link to their Facebook, not their site…since their site is in Japanese).

Love the mandate of this website.

Shopping

For some reason, I tend to do most of my clothes shopping while on vacation. I don’t know what it is about being away from home that primes my shopping instinct. Maybe all those cross-border shopping trips we took when I was a child unintentionally told me that shopping at home is less fun than shopping in the States.

To add more fuel to the fire (or rather, I suppose, to douse what shopping spark was left), I got pregnant. To date, the latter half of my pregnancy was probably the time during which I had the least desire to shop. During the last 3 months, I essentially wore the same crew neck shirt from Uniqlo (I had this in multiple colours) with a cardigan and the maternity jeans I bought from Target (I had two pairs). Not knowing how my body would settle post-pregnancy was enough of a deterrent for me not to purchase anything.

I’ll be honest, at 3 months postpartum, there are still many items in my closet that do not fit me. Things are tight where they didn’t used to be, and items just don’t fall the same way. I have tried on my favourite LOFT dress (XS, purchased last year) a number of times and every time I am still not comfortable with how it fits.

Things are looking up, though. I took a trip to our local mall yesterday with Andy asleep in the stroller and managed to find not one, not two, but three things that I liked! I have been on the lookout for an inexpensive one-piece and picked up this swimsuit for only $15 at Boathouse (haven’t shopped there since high school, back when Roxy and Billabong were my go to brands). I also got this maxi dress and this shorter dress from H&M. Now to find a new pair of sandals to replace the one I have essentially worn through.

14.

Before we commence with the usual weekly update on Andy, I’m going to steal a few lines to share about my own father and a few of my fondest memories with him! My dad is one of the most humble people I know, a man who exemplifies what it means to lead by example. I remember finding out in the paper that my dad had been part of a mentorship program that helped new immigrant professionals secure and thrive in a Canadian workplace. He was never one to gloat about his accomplishments – something that sadly I need to work on…

When I was little, I would occasionally go with my dad to work. I loved these days, because it meant I could spend my day drawing, reading Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation reports (I had a little bit of an obsession with the Toronto waterfront), and playing minesweeper. When I was older, he would take us on car rides to drive by sites that he had had a hand in planning and point out to us changes that had been made and why they were important. Undoubtedly, my love for the city, urban design, and planning are a result of the care that he took in showing us different facets of how a city works and runs.

My dad is also a remarkably artistic individual. I recall one year where we painted Easter eggs with him. My sister and I were young, and we were really proud of the patterns we had drawn. Then we looked over at my dad’s Easter egg. He had managed to depict an entire landscape on the surface of the egg…

Funny thing – my parents and a few relatives came up to Kingston yesterday just for the day and we were talking about the artwork that we used to draw for my dad (some of which he still has pinned up at his office). He also has photos up of my sister and I from when we were in grade school. I’m sure some of his co-workers probably think we’re 12…

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Now, I must confess – Andy and I did not get anything for Kelvin for Father’s Day. No ties, socks, mugs, or popsicle stick picture frames. Here’s hoping that we will be more on the ball next year and actually be able to grace him with something wonderful.

Moving on.

Andy has really taken to grasping things that we put in his general vicinity. He does not yet make the effort to reach for things that he wants, but I’m sure that will come with time. The first thing that he always does with whatever item he’s holding onto is put it in his mouth. If there is nothing in his hand, he will proceed to just put the hand itself into his mouth. So far, it’s a toss up between his Freddy the Fox and Geronimo (his giraffe) for the award of favourite toy.

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He’s also more alert this week. And is always trying to sit up. It’s super fun. I think he thinks so too.

 
Andy is definitely more smiley as well. He used to be smiley only in the mornings, but now we get smiles all day long! He even had a little giggle earlier this week!

So much love for this little bug. He’s growing up so quickly! 

13.

It’s so nice to see our little guy sleeping soundly again after a few nights of irregularity. Every morning, Andy will holler around 7 something to come into our bed (sometimes this is accompanied by a feed, sometimes it isn’t), then he will proceed to continue sleeping for as long as we will allow him to (usually an hour or so). We squeeze him into the space between our pillows for his post-feed nap, and have developed this habit of having a burp cloth under his head when he sleeps in our bed, because we never know when a stream (or fountain) of spit up will start flowing.

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At the beginning of the week (and again today) I attempted to commence a routine of sorts for when Andy’s taking the aforementioned nap. Normally, this is merely an opportunity for me to just continue sleeping, but now I’m trying to use that time to have breakfast, catch up on my feedly, and just spend time alone. On the days that I’ve had enough sleep to actually enjoy it, it has been glorious.

On a personal note, this was a weird week in that my courses are all finished and Andy’s increased alertness means I have less downtime without him. I found myself playing with him for hours at a time, and subsequently pondering the things I should be doing to stimulate his development and sense. We go on walks frequently, and he has a handful of toys (most of which he ignores), but like all parents, I wonder constantly whether I’m providing the best environment possible for my little guy to grow up in.

Despite all this, I somehow ended up reading three books (one on inquiry, one on questioning, and one just for my own enjoyment). I also spent a lot of time this week perusing the internet, and stumbled upon this blog on parenting, this blog by a woman whose goal-orientedness I really appreciate, and this article, which made me feel better that some of my days are just lazy, spent hanging out and exploring the world with Andy.

It’s family Friday, so I’m looking forward to eating out for lunch. Not sure yet where we will go. Perhaps I can convince Kelvin to go to Gananoque. Oh, and this afternoon is the annual midwife picnic, so we get to see some of Andy’s baby friends, plus his wonderful midwives again!

Last but not least, here’s something I’m really looking forward to going to next week.

For the love of books

I have very fond memories of going to the library. When we were little, we would head to our local community centre for our weekly swimming lessons, then head straight to the library, our hair still wet and reeking of chlorine. The library is where I discovered the Sweet Valley High series, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Dan Gibson’s Solitudes CDs. It was also always my first stop for research projects. Well, that and our Encarta encyclopedia CD-ROM. 

Going to the library is something that we hope will be part of Andy’s weekly routine as he gets bigger. I grew up in a house full of books, thanks in part to my mom’s bonus bucks from Scholastic book orders, but many of those books we could have just borrowed instead of buying. There are definitely books that we want Andy to have his own copy of – classic books like The Giver and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – but there are also many others that will play but a small role in his life. 

Here in Kingston we are blessed with an amazing library system. I remember being in awe of how current its holdings were when I first got a card. Literally anything I was looking for, I could find. They are also charting new paths with a number of online resources like Lynda.com and zinio (for online magazines). It is truly one of the best services Kingston has to offer. I aspire to one day be on its board. 

Anyways, Andy and I walked to the library today. He picked up four board books and I stumbled upon a new requisition entitled Hector and the Search for Happiness. I’m really liking its simple, yet profound voice. Plus I am gleaning some good life advice – “Lesson no. 1: Making comparisons can spoil your happiness.” 

Here’s to many more visits and the continued development of my intellect.  

Weekend antics.

We got up to quite a few things this weekend.

On Saturday night, we went to the newly opened Mandarin buffet at the Frontenac Mall. A few friends were visiting from Ottawa, and the siren call of all-you-can-eat crab legs and prime rib was just too strong for them to resist. At $30 for dinner on a weekend, this is no PGB (aka Panda Garden Buffet…the usual tour bus buffet stop), so I guess you could say we were expecting some pretty above average food. Sadly, this was not what we got. I will admit, the selection is quite large, and their chicken teriyaki was tasty. Oh, and they have a cotton candy machine. But alas, I have no desire to return to this establishment. For those of you who are determined to dine at this lacklustre eatery, I provide you with 3 tips:

  1. They do take reservations. I would suggest making one.
  2. Note that the sashimi is not in plain view. They had a selection of torched butterfish and salmon on the night I was there. They sit behind a glass window around the side of the sushi station and are visible on the way to the bathroom.
  3. Get your prime rib when they first slice it open. Your enjoyment of this cut of meat will decrease significantly the longer it sits under the heat lamps.

On to Sunday.

When possible, we like to shop local. However, sometimes you just get significantly better deals online.

Now, Kelvin and I have had our eye on the Stokke Tripp Trapp for quite a while. We like that it’s a high chair that actually grows with your child, and which will take them into their adulthood (no joke). Shop.ca had a sale a little while ago, but alas we were not fast enough and we couldn’t get the colour we wanted. Thankfully, a relatively new local store downtown called Hip Kids currently has the chair on sale ($259 down from $329). If you are in the market for one, you should head there. Or, if you live in Kingston, you can get it delivered for free.

We like how it looks in our dining room. We will get the baby seat attachment once Andy is a little older and will actually be using the chair.

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12.

It was a weird day for Andy. He ate more than usual and wasn’t a particularly happy camper. It all started this morning, at our first official session of mom and baby yoga this morning. He protested almost the entire time (“I will not stretch my arms to the sky, but I will stretch my legs to kick you while you’re doing downward dog”). But all is forgotten now, as he sleeps peacefully in his crib. On that vein, some exciting news – Andy slept through the night for the first time this week! It was a little disorienting, actually, because I woke up on my own (not to his crying).

The big event of the week for this little guy was going to his aunt’s convocation! It was rather spur of the moment, but we had a good time (arguably, a better time than i had at my own convocation). I can’t believe even my little sister is done her schooling…

Now, we must confess. Kelvin and I are not exactly stellar examples of alumni. We don’t give to our school or attend chapter events…or stay involved in any way really. I mean, my parents have been ragging on me for the last few years to update my address so Queen’s will stop sending my alumni magazine to their place (I finally did this week, just FYI). But nostalgia has a way of creeping in as you get older. Plus, this year marks our 5-year homecoming reunion. And we have a special opportunity starting September to reconnect with campus. So who knows, perhaps we will find ourselves embedded once more into Queen’s life.

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If Andy decides to attend Queen’s, he will be the Class of 2037…

Now most nights, Andy sleeps pretty late. Like 10:30 late. So yesterday we decided that it would be okay to bring him to watch daddy play softball. Andy seemed to show quite an interest in the game, so we hung out around the dugout until my DEET-less body could no longer take the mosquitoes. Bite count? Andy: 0. Mommy: 4

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As for what’s going on in life beyond Andy, I finished another MOOC this week, and I don’t have any on the boards until July. So in lieu of that, I borrowed a whack load of books from the OCT library and am enjoying perusing through them. Plus I have made twitter chats a 3x/week event. Good times.

I am also really looking forward to getting these bracelets from The Jones Market (and perhaps another one or two in a different colour). I shall order them for delivery to our hotel in Nashville.

So it’s 10:49 and I am hosting book club tomorrow. We’re reading Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda and I am about 90 pages in (out of 490 pages). Looks like it’s going to be a long night…

Loving the City

I came to Kingston 9 years ago at the peak of my formative years – an idealistic 17-year old who had known the comforts of suburban Toronto for all of her conscious past. The plan was to spend 5 years here, get myself a superb education at one of the nation’s best universities, and promptly return to the GTA to settle down with a government-employed husband and raise 2 kids.

Clearly, God had other plans.

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That was me. During frosh week. In front of my residence, Chown Hall, which was at the time an all-girls residence (this has since changed, I hear). How do you know I’m a first-year university student? Well, I’m wearing a lanyard for one. And that lanyard isn’t attached to a student card holder in my back pocket; it is around my neck. Also, I clearly have no regard for the fact that my shirt and my shorts look terrible together. Knowing that over 100 other people are wearing a similar uniform probably helped.

I must admit. During the first two years of undergrad, most of my focus was insular. And by insular, I mean within a 1 km radius of Queen’s campus (save for the odd taxi ride to the local mall, since I hadn’t quite figured out how to ride transit that far). Exploring the city meant taking the bus to Loblaws for some groceries. Or doing silly things like walking up Montreal Street late at night to the KFC because we were craving fried chicken, only to realize we probably should have checked the store hours (this KFC is now a Rexall). I would say I had a very small view of the city I would be spending the next four years in.

Slowly but surely, this circle opened up. Volunteering and various practicums brought me into Kingston (and even Amherstview) schools. Curiosity drew me to local establishments and events. I began dating someone (Kelvin…who now happens to be my husband) who was born and raised in Kingston. Needless to say, I came to realize that there is life in Kingston beyond University Avenue. By the end of fourth year, with my degree in hand, I would say that I really liked Kingston.

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Kelvin and me at my BAH convo. Check out his outfit before he requests I take this picture off the internet.

It was at this point that the idea of staying in Kingston long term began to present itself. I opted to do my placements in Kingston during my year at the Faculty of Education, just to keep my options open. I began connecting with amazing people outside the university, and local organizations like the Kingston Arts Council. I wanted to hear and share stories from people who lived in Kingston, so I planned an event called Kingston Through My Lens.

Before I knew it, it was the summer of 2011. I had just graduated from the Faculty and had been accepted onto TDSB’s Eligible-to-Hire List. It was time to move back to Toronto, at least for the time being.

But again, God had other plans, and by the end of August, I found myself back in Kingston for good.

Two weeks ago, Dwayne Cline from Hughson Street Baptist Church in Hamilton came to speak at our church (full audio here). A self-proclaimed rural boy, he never thought that God would call him to minister in the city. And yet, this firecracker of a speaker is living and serving and raising his kids in the inner core of Hamilton. He shared with us some thoughts on this passage in Jeremiah, one of Kelvin’s favourites.

Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
— Jeremiah 29:5-7

Somewhere between buying a home here in Kingston, and standing in the shade of the beautiful Isabel Bader Centre, with an unobstructed view of Lake Ontario, it dawned on me…I love this city. I love how creative this city is. I love that people are so willing to take chances on you and invite you into the city’s conversation. I love the food and the outdoor space and how “rush hour” means waiting 2 lights instead of 1 for a left turn.

But this passage got me thinking: How am I impacting the city that I live in? And how am I living intentionally in the place that God has called me to be?

If you had asked me in 2012 whether I felt I was doing this, I would have been able to say, without a doubt, yes. But since I started working more permanently, I feel like I have disengaged somewhat from Kingston. This was a sharp reminder that we exist, and our churches exist, to really minister to the community that God has placed us in.

I am challenged to demonstrate my love for this city by engaging once again with it and with the people that make it what it is. I want to take the time to really enjoy our local culture, and to listen to the stories of those I meet. But above all, I want to pray for this city, and to seek the peace and prosperity of this place we now call home.

Kelvin and I both have opportunities this year to make a difference in the lives of people who are here in Kingston – those who are here permanently as well as those who are just passing through. It’s about time we take them.

Two Years

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Tomorrow (June 2…it took me so long to write this post that tomorrow no longer applies) marks Kelvin and my two year anniversary. In the grand scheme of things, two years isn’t a whole lot of time, and yet so much has changed about who we are and how we exist together as a family.

Moving in together wasn’t as treacherous of an ordeal as many people made it out to be. We enjoyed not having to drive home at night after hanging out, and it was so nice to just be able to be in each other’s company more often. We were able to travel together more, and we got to see more of our city and our world. We’ve really settled into life here in Kingston and have each found our own niche in terms of connecting with our community. We settled into a new church where we’ve been able to really lay down roots. The biggest change over the past two years, though, was probably the introduction of our little guy. Andy has brought a whole new level of joy and responsibility to our lives.

In a rather spontaneous turn of events this evening, Kelvin came home with a case of Steam Whistle beer (we got married at the brewery, so he’s attempting to make this an anniversary tradition) and a proclamation that we should go out for dinner. We dropped Andy off at his grandparents’ (with a mere 2 oz. of milk…frightening) and headed downtown to Casa Domenico for an anniversary dinner. Despite being in Kingston since 2006, I’ve never actually eaten at this restaurant. Perhaps I was turned off by the rumours of it being insanely expensive (not true, btw).

This evening happened to coincide with the B.Comm. convocation, so naturally we were surrounded by young, fresh-faced graduates and their doting families. Kelvin and I spent a fair portion of our evening commenting on how people going into business just naturally ooze confidence. And is it just me, or do they tend to be better looking than the general populace? Maybe it’s just me…

I must admit, service was a bit slow. Even after the wave of grads dwindled. I mean, it took them a good 15 minutes to get a can of San Pellegrino. And they didn’t even have to open it until they got to our table. We consumed more than our fair share of bread and olive oil in the meantime.

Anyways, what did we eat? It’s always awkward ordering off a menu in a language with which you are unfamiliar, so I found myself referring to all the items by their English descriptions. I figured my chances of accurately pronouncing Salsiccia e Palate were slim to none.

To start, we had Silvio’s Polpette, or veal meatballs. These were delicious. They literally fell apart as my fork pierced them.

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While we were waiting for these meatballs to arrive, we also saw a number of salads come out, and I guess the allure made its way to our stomachs. So we asked our server to put in an order of Pera con Gorgonzola, which was a salad with pears and spiced cashews. In my haste to consume it, I forgot to take a picture of it. I like all things with pears in it, and the spiced cashews were a really nice touch. It made me want to make bar nuts. I should make sure to find a recipe for bar nuts to make sometime this month…

For our mains, Kelvin got the beef tenderloin (aka Manzo) and I got the Gnocchi with Pork Sausage.

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The beef was cooked well (medium rare is always the way to go), and Kelvin really liked this potato cake thing.

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There was a generous portion of gnocchi, though it was a touch spicier than I had anticipated. The flavour was mostly in the pork sausage and less in the sauce or gnocchi. Still, I enjoyed it. The little cubes of bacon were a nice touch. I did, however, finish my dish with a little pile of green onions on the side. I should have asked them to hold the onions.

For dessert, we had the tiramisu, because you have to have tiramisu when you eat at an Italian restaurant. Again, I neglected to take a picture before consuming the whole thing. It was homemade, light, with a good amount of espresso taste. The cold from the cappuccino gelato was a nice touch. Granted, I usually find desserts overpriced, and this was no exception, but at least it was very tasty.

Overall, the food was good. As we were heading back to our car, Kelvin mentioned that he still prefers the ambiance of Le Chien Noir, where we celebrate most of our milestones. I’d have to agree. Nonetheless, it was a good dinner. And of course, no one can argue with $2 for parking. I love downtown Kingston.

Here’s to many, many more years of marital bliss :)

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Casa Domenico / 35 Brock Street, Kingston / website  Click to add a blog post for Casa Domenico on Zomato