Monday, December 29, 2014

coastal Christmas

As the post festive lethargy starts to settle into my bones, there is really very little I can intelligently add to the conversation. Instead, allow me to take you on a whirlwind tour of the Christmas that was. 

Mild sunny days perfect for walks along the ocean, no cooking, no cleaning, ample time to hang with the Offspring, and a cozy nest in our favourite hotel made this year's version of Christmas pretty spectacular. Despite having to forgo turkey leftover day (aka Get Your Own Damned Supper Day) I could get used to this. 

Christmas Eve lunch on the Drive

secret Santa fail
 Christmas at the Inn
turkey dinner at 553 feet over the city
Bluebs, the pitbull cat
Christmas Day walks along the ocean

final dinner dosas

Friday, December 26, 2014


Twelve years of Christmas stalking has come to a conclusion, with the revelation that it was friends of ours who had the intriguing yet creepy habit of sending us anonymous Christmas parcels each year. 

The dvd they included this year was maddeningly unhelpful, but the ever-clever Offspring was able to sort out the puzzle pieces to a satisfying conclusion. How Sandra and Grant managed to pull this off will forever remain a mystery, though.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I'm dreaming of a wet Christmas


Who says Christmas in a hotel cannot be festive? With the lights and ornaments that we lugged along in the suitcase, the pile of gifts that the Offspring, the Spousal Unit and I piled on the side table, and the poinsettia from the florist around the corner standing in for a Charlie Brown tree, Christmas at the Sunset Inn feels pretty darned festive so far. The hostel across the street even erected a sparkly spaceship-castle-tree that twinkled all night, lighting the way for travellers to find Christmas.

Waking to find a bright blue sky was the only Christmas miracle we needed.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

twelve years of Christmas

It has arrived. For the twelfth year in a row, the mysterious Christmas parcel has shown up on our doorstep. 

This year it arrived while I was in the midst of the final batch of Christmas baking (thimble cookies, my throwback tribute to the nostalgia of the season). When the doorbell rang, I opened it to find my next-door neighbour, Lawnmower Dad, standing there holding an immediately recognizable brown-paper parcel. I was told to tell you that some really weird guy dropped it off, he said (and I will spare you my attempts to phonetically type his Aussie accent).

My prying attempts to extract more information from him were unsuccessful. I guess when you are the father of three boys, you learn quickly to ignore needling pleas.

We had been hyper-vigilant all day, too, noting the little white car making its way suspiciously slowly down the street, the elderly woman behind the wheel obviously looking for an address. We watched that car until it turned the corner, thinking that evidently she was not looking for us after all. But perhaps she was, perhaps she was casing the street for a good drop-off point.

Long-time readers will be familiar with the story of the mysterious parcel that has arrived on our doorstep every Christmas for the last twelve years, each one depicting a verse of that seemingly endless song. It has been a tradition not without controversy, and I have not always been the most gracious of recipients. But despite my grumblings and occasional eye-rolling and fears that one year Gwynneth Paltrow's head will show up on our doorstep, I am filled with admiration at the senders' perseverance and their ability to keep a secret for twelve years. I mean, I can easily hold a grudge for that long, but a secret? I am not so sure I have that in me.

So this final year, we videoed the unboxing of the ultimate mysterious Christmas parcel, partly to celebrate the longevity of the tradition, partly because the Offspring was not able to share in the opening this year.

Will all be revealed? You will have to watch the video to find out.

And for the complete back story, feel free to check out the story behind previous years' parcels (or at least those that arrived since I began blogging):

-  (2013) eleven pipers in the dead of night
-  (2012) ten leaping lizards, errr ... frogs
-  (2011) nein injured dancers 
-  (2011) the arrival of nein 
-  (2010) eight milk maids and one unibomber
-  (2009) the swan has escaped from the castle
-  (2009) ignoring seven swans 
-  (2008) allaying those six geese 
-  (2007) those five golden rings only get a #7 mention on the list 
-  (2006) four calling birds from Philadelphia photographed on a mantel

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

approaching singularity

Right on schedule, the microwave oven died. 

Somewhere deep inside its circuitry, a tiny chip was alerted to the fact that it was almost Christmas. Immediately the directive went out through the circuit board to the inverter, whose function it was to run smoothly for one year and then to abruptly short-circuit and die. There was a message attached to this directive: not yet, wait until they are in the middle of cooking supper. Being a machine, maximizing optimum utility was built into its very psyche.

To be fair, it had given the humans a year of grace after the previous round of electrical apoptosis and had allowed the time-frame for planned circuitry death to be extended for one full year. Just to keep the humans off-kilter. The flesh bags knew that they were living on borrowed microwave time for an entire year, and last year's Christmas reprieve had them continuously checking over their shoulders, saying a quick Hail Mary before pressing the start button in the midst of a busy dinner preparation.

In its mind, the microwave tented its robotic fingers and emitted a deliciously evil synthesizer chuckle. The time for world domination had arrived.   

Friday, December 05, 2014

hewer of wood, drawer of water

I am generally a bit of a draft horse. No fancy thoroughbred blood runs through my veins, but what I lack in speed out of the gate, I make up in stamina. Start the day with 50 minutes of high intensity cardio on the elliptical? No problem, as long as I have had enough coffee. Follow that with vacuuming the house with that crappy falling apart vacuum cleaner that practically requires you to dislocate a shoulder in order for it to suck up a little speck of dirt? Bring it. 

Keep the day going with grocery shopping, article writing, cat concierge-ing, supper prep and kitchen cleaning and it's just another day. Oh sure, sometimes I find myself nodding off over the newspaper by 8:30 in the evening, but that's only because I sat down.

But dear god put me in a shopping mall and I am instantly drained.  Yesterday I spent about an hour and a half at a mall and came home with a massive headache, aching eyes and an exhaustion that would have been more in keeping with trying to stop the zombie hordes from busting down the doors of the Hudson's Bay Company, rather than just trying to buy a pair of boots. 

I have a whole new respect for mall rats. I will be staying out of their way from now until well after Christmas.