a peek inside the fishbowl

23 Feb, 2008

late night adventures with moms

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

Last night I went out with a group of moms. It’s an informal grouping, like a book club with no limit. It’s a great little idea actually. It was started by a couple gals, and every once in awhile they organize a fun group activity. Last night took us nighttime snowshoeing on a trail outside of Chelsea.

Most of us had no idea what we were doing, but once we strapped those puppies on our feet and head out no one had any troubles at all. There’s something really great about tromping around a forest in the still of the night. This is a great family activity – I’ve spoken to lots of people who do it with their kids.

Weather-wise it was the perfect evening.

We followed it up with some drinks. We tried Trio, but there are so few tables that it was impossible to seat us all. We tried Milagro’s, it was packed, and then, as a last resort: Puzzles.

And it was karaoke night.

If you’re live in the Westboro area you might be familiar with Puzzles. It’s a holdover from yesteryear, unwittingly surrounded by the likes of Lululemon and Starbucks. Before yesterday I’d never ventured inside, despite the fact they’re always advertising the $6.95 burger – best in Westboro.

It’s supposed to be a restaurant but everyone knows it’s really just about the drinking. There are people drinking and watching TV at all hours of the day.

So yeah, it’s dicey. (Marla is rolling her eyeballs right about now, she’s ALL ABOUT the dicey joints. Marla, I know, it is character-building!) Most of our party had never set foot inside Puzzles, ever.

As we sat there, being blasted by music, I had a good chance to look around. These were a whole different sort of people. These are the people who don’t drink fancy coffee, do yoga, or eat sushi at MHK. I never see these people, but they’re out there. And Westboro, suffering from a high degree of gentrification, belongs to these folks as much as the latte-swillers (a group of which I am a part). I was kind of converted. I’m pro Puzzles (tho’ I’m not entirely sure I’m going to go there again.)

The karaoke was hilarious. There were all kinds of people getting up to belt out a song, from young (teen girls singing “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”), to old (elderly dude who sang “New York, New York.”) Some were very very good, and others were so very not… ear stabbingly so. (I’m talking to you, Annie Lennox.) We drank beer, ate nachos (think: Tostitos with a half jar of olives, salsa, cheese dumped on top), laughed, and sang along. One of our number even got up herself to do a different Annie Lennox, which was actually good. (And no, it wasn’t me, even though that quart bottle of Corona was loosening me up a notch.)

There was one youngish guy there I thought I recognized from somewhere. I searched my brain and came up dry (no surprise there!).

His tune of choice was Ice Ice Baby and he was surprisingly good … for a white boy, YES, I said it A WHITE BOY even though VANILLA ICE is also a WHITE BOY. The guy knew every word of the song. Then it hit me. I knew where I knew him from …  he was a children’s entertainer, and had been in my home for Sarah’s last birthday party. (hint)


Oh, and someone accidentally poured a beer down my back. But that didn’t dampen my spirits. A friend and I walked home together. All in all, a good night I think.

Today: winter carnival at Dovercourt, followed by dinner with friends.

5 Responses to "late night adventures with moms"

1 | BeachMama

February 23rd, 2008 at 5:35 pm


I Love it!! Years ago, before Westboro became cool. My girlfriend and I used to go to Puzzles with her parents all the time. They all live in Florida now and go to a different bar. But, every now and then it is fun to go back and have a beer or two. It is not unlike a little place I used to work downtown. Glad you went, next time you should sing!

2 | Marla

February 23rd, 2008 at 6:30 pm


Haha – I am smirking. Tonight I was hoping to go out to a swank joint with other blogging TO mamas (you know the ones), and was wishing I could just go to a dive bar with someone I really like.

But Puzzles doesn’t even sound that divey – in fact, one night at a dive Steve and I and some friends decided to “explore” (the Eaton House, on the Danforth, to be specific), we found a woman’s 70th party in progress. Her friends had brought in a lounge chair, and she was drinking in a prone position. She wet her pink polyester pants before long, as evidenced by the puddle under it. Didn’t stop her from flashing the peace sign and yelling FREEBIRD to the band. THAT is the kind of dive I talk about.

3 | porter

February 24th, 2008 at 12:18 am


sounds like a great time. i love the dives, it’s fun to people watch and nobody cares who ya are more fun than the swank places where i feel like everyone is staring at me!

4 | J.

February 24th, 2008 at 12:32 pm


You girls sure know how to party. Sounds like a really fun evening, minus the beer pouring down the back. :)

5 | Pendullum

February 24th, 2008 at 1:04 pm


Sounds like the PERFECT, the perfect evening…
and now I have Ice, Ice baby in my mind… great! it will be there alllllll day!

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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