30 December 2008

And so that was Christmas

And what have I learned?  That I’m glad it only comes around once each year!

I’m not certain why I always fool myself into believing that the holidays will be relaxing.  When I blindly began my 12-day break from work, I assumed that I would be lolling around the house and reading books in my pajamas for the duration.  Sure there has been ‘some’ lolling, but mostly I find myself rushing around trying to visit with family and friends.  Imagine trying to lump a year’s worth of visits into a two-week period; it makes for a busy schedule!  Don’t get m wrong though, I’m glad for the time off and I can certainly say that hubby and I have been enjoying ourselves.  Here’s the Coles Notes version:

December 24
Dinner at my Father-In-Law’s house.
  He cooked a giant roast and spoiled us rotten as usual.

December 25
Hubby and I opened our gifts in the morning and enjoyed our annual brunch and mimosas.
  In the afternoon it was off to my parent’s place for the family dinner and turkey.  Mom was hell bent on cooking the big spread – I think it was her way of signaling her “return” to normalcy after the surgery, even though her leg was the size of a tree-trunk after cooking all day.  Once again, Santa spoiled us rotten.  I’m always particularly excited to see what goodies Mom will get me.  She knows my taste perfectly and always finds something beautiful and original; I love how she appreciates my eclectic side.

December 26
Hubby and I visited his 93-year old Nana at the Nursing Home.
  I’m not entirely sure whether the poor old dear understood whether it was Christmas or not.  This year her mind has really started to wander.  She knows who we are and talks to us, but the words are getting jumbled and she often doesn’t string phrases together coherently.  It’s sad to see what age can do; I still remember her as a feisty and quick-witted little woman when Daniel and started dating years ago – we were fast friends and allies.  While she may be hard to understand now, I think that our visits probably do her a world of good.  She always seems to perk up at the prospect of reminiscing and talking about her memories; it’s good to get her mind working and I think she really enjoys it.  

December 27
I visited an old high school buddy who is in town for the holidays with her little one, Mr. N.
  We enjoyed a girly afternoon of catching up and watching the little one play.  It’s amazing how much he has grown in the past few months.  He’s crawling now and his favourite activities include pulling himself up to standing position using the coffee table, opening drawers and eating pretty much everything he encounters.  When I asked Mom how he enjoyed Christmas, she told me that Mr. N enjoyed eating the wrapping paper on all his gifts.  Poor little mite is teething right now, so you can’t really blame him.

Post visit, hubby and I braved the icy roads and drove to the mall for some boxing week deals.  I used some of the money that my Father-In-Law gave me to buy a new bikini for the cruise.  I would like to tell all women that bikini shopping is a frustrating and arduous task...especially if you have been blessed by the Bisson boob fairy.  Now tack on the extra weight gained over the holidays and you have a very depressing image staring back at you in the mirror. Ladies…NEVER, NEVER shop for a bathing suit three days after Christmas!  That being said, I was able to swallow my insecurities and ended up walking out of the store with a full-price (go figure) hot-pink bikini.  There’s not much to it and I fully realize that pink is a cardinal colour sin for redheads, but I figured I’ll go all out on this one and turn heads while I still can – haha!  In all seriousness though, this is probably the last time I’ll ever get to wear a bikini in a long, long, long time!  Now I just have to commit myself to a strict diet and boot camp for the next five weeks…darn.

December 28
I slept in until 8:30 am (huge accomplishment), prepared a Chicken Cassoulet in the slow cooker and baked a Cherry Clafoutis.
  I was planning an “Ode to France” meal in honour of the trip that hubby and I canceled and because I had a girlfriend that was scheduled to come over to dinner.  Sadly, my friend had to cancel due to another family dinner event so I was left with a truckload of food for two people.  Thankfully my brother and sister-in-law were available and came over t help us polish off the food and imbibe more than is healthy for four grown adults.  It was a fun evening and ended up howling like dogs along to a new karaoke game that I got for the Xbox…I’m sure my neighbours were thrilled to hear our drunken rendition of Aha’s “Take on Me” at midnight.

December 29
Exercise (a.k.a. skimpy bikini guilt), laundry and HOCKEY!
  Hubby and I went to see Canada vs. Germany in the World Junior hockey event.  Thankfully we snagged box seats again and were able to enjoy some breathing space and an awesome view.  The Scotiabank Place was packed at full capacity and, with the bus strike still on, parking was a bit hectic.  Thank goodness we’re both in good shape because we had quite the hike in!  I really enjoyed seeing the Junior’s because the crowd really gets into the spirit – it’s nice cheering for your country rather than a specific city or NHL team.  While the players still have a lot of learning to do, it’s decent hockey and many of them will go on to play on professional teams.  At this age they still have to prove themselves, so they really throw their hearts into the game.  Canada ended up winning 5-1.  Giant kudos to the German goal tender who was the game VIP with some  34 + shots on net.  Hope the guy helped himself to a German-sized beer after the game!

December 30
Finally, we have arrived at present day!
  Hubby and I made plans to go snowshoeing at Larose Forest today but it appears that the weather may keep us inside.  We got some fresh snow last night which would be perfect for the trails, the sun is shining and it’s warmer than usual, however I’m concerned about falling branches or trees  because of the high winds today.  I’m hoping that Mother Nature will cooperate soon.  I’m itching to try out this new 4 K trail that is, conveniently, only 15 minutes from our home.

Sports aside, I have plans to meet up with some girlfriends tonight at a Thai Restaurant downtown.  One of my friends is heading off to visit her family and attend a wedding in the Philippines, so we wanted to see her before she leaves.  It should a be fun night and I’m looking forward to trying out a new restaurant.  I love Thai food but unfortunately not all of their ingredients agree with my IBS.  Sadly, I think I’ll have to play it safe with a standard vegetarian dish…although I do have the next few days off work so maybe I’ll risk it.  Wish me luck.

So there you have it – my laughingly ‘relaxing’ holidays.  Congratulations if you have made it this far.  Hubby and I still don’t have concrete plans for New Year’s Eve, but the prospect of just staying home and relaxing is becoming more appealing as the days go on.

Wishing you and your families a happy and healthy holiday and all the best for 2009!

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