Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Good Ol' Potluck Party

Sunday January 29, 1:58 p.m.

It was a pretty dreary day yesterday...typical January weather in Toronto. But the Anime Chamberlain picked me up as scheduled to take us both to our mutual friend's potluck party at his apartment in Etobicoke. I had been relieved to hear when our host asked me to bring dessert since I could hop on over to Eglinton Square and pick up some boxes of chocolates at Laura Secord. But Mom would have none of that and instead made a sponge cake for me to take over. In her traditionalist mind, a potluck should consist of homemade, not store-bought, dishes.

Since we were rather early, The Chamberlain and I stopped off at an outlet shop of Mr. Christie's near the Lakeshore which sells bulk versions of their cookies. I ended up buying a large package of Chunks Ahoy chocolate-chip cookies for the parents and me. Looking at the size of those chunks of chocolate made me paraphrase the company's famed catchphrase, "Geez, Mr. Christie, you make good diabetics."

My friends had their potluck in the 1st-floor party room. It turned out to be a reunion of sansei folks from my past. And showing our age, we all got to play Trivial Pursuit 80s, Monopoly, and Scrabble. Those disco-going days are long gone. I didn't get to play Monopoly, but then again, I didn't really want to since it looked those guys were going at it hard and heavy...kinda like a more contentious episode of "The Lang and O'Leary Exchange" on CBC Newsworld...a lot of it due to The Anime Chamberlain who seemed to have inserted himself as negotiations expert/Devil's Advocate. On the other hand, I did enjoy the other two games since they both played to my strengths...a long legacy of crossword puzzles and trivia. Adding those to my old love of things Trek would secure the geek trifecta for me. If Johnny Galecki ever decided to leave "The Big Bang Theory"...

Between games and noshing, I had a few good conversations as well with some old friends. I met one who, like me, had her JET and private English-teaching experiences in Japan for several years before returning. And I met a friendly Russian couple of which the wife has been a long Japanophile who had lived in Tokyo for many years and could make a run for my money in Japanese fluency.

As with all of my social circles over the past few decades, food was the centre to attract everyone. In fact, next week, some of these guys are planning to head to arguably the best Japanese restaurant in Toronto, Ematei, for dinner. But unfortunately (or fortunately for my wallet), I have to decline since I have my first Skype lesson with Mr. Moriya here at home.

For today, it's a stay-at-home. I spent an hour thinking about how to present my talk next week at Sam's church, and then my brother's family comes over for dinner.