Roger and I have a tradition that goes back at least five years and maybe longer. Whenever one of us has had too much same-old-same-old, or when things are crazy busy, or when we suddenly get a burst of the "I'm so glad I married you feeling", we will say to the other one "Nine!!", or some other number. This is a reference to how many months it is until our next scheduled Stratford visit.
As I said in my last post, we have been going there every January for ten years now, and I don't think I can possibly convey how many good feelings come with every repetition of "Six" or "Four". It doesn't even have to be a small number; just knowing that our Stratford week is coming is a guaranteed day-brightener. In fact, when I was seeing a counselor for my anxiety-panic disorder, one of my best relaxation scenarios was going mentally step-by-step through settling into room 201. (Yes, we are such creatures of habit that we ask for the same room every year. We've only had a different one twice, and one of those is exactly the same layout, just one flight up.) The window to 201 is the one right above the sign on the picture of Bentley's Annex above. The pictures in the link are actually of room 201 :-D !
And what do we do after we've settled into room 201? (The candles go here, my underwear goes in this drawer, put the DVD's on that side of the desk.) NOTHING!!! Or at least, as little as possible. We go out for breakfast and dinner, and sometimes for coffee if they haven't done the room while we were out. (Actually, as a person who likes coffee best as a flavoring, I always have a caffe mocha -- theirs are the BEST.) Sometimes we do some shopping -- we have a bookstore we're partial to (Callan Books on York Street; they don't seem to have a website.) -- and sometimes we take a walk through the snow. (There is almost always snow, but that's OK. It wouldn't be OUR Stratford week without snow.) But usually we spend our time in the double Jacuzzi reading books and drinking ginger beer. When our skin starts to pucker, we get out and read some more, or play Trivial Pursuit, or watch a movie. (This is usually a "chick flick" -- I have the best husband in the world, who humors me. He watches "guy movies" with our sons.) If we get hungry, we eat some cheese and crackers, (or kippers for Roger!) or have a piece of shortbread. Three full meals a day would be too much when we're not doing anything. And this year we did even more nothing than usual, because we were still getting over the flu. Some nights we went to bed at 8 PM!
This year our shopping was curtailed a little bit by the strong Canadian dollar. Some years when we exchanged our money at the border, we got half-again as much Canadian. This year, it was a tiny bit less than our US amount. But we made sure we had enough for Callan's, and two of our other favorite places, Rheo Thompson Candy
and Distinctly Tea.
Rheo Thompson is a Stratford institution, and while all their candy is wonderful, we tend to over-indulge in mint smoothies and dark chocolate ginger. And Distinctly Tea ...... well, I think I've already mentioned that I've raised a family of tea snobs. Cold water brought to a rolling boil (but not for too long), brewed exactly so long in a warmed pot, and has to be good tea. Currently Katie and I are on an "single-estate tea" kick. It's a really good thing that American tourists who stay more than 48 hours in Canada can bring back a lot duty free!
So that was our week in Stratford -- sleep, eat, rinse (in the Jacuzzi!), repeat. And all I can say is -- "Eleven and a half!"