Archive for December, 2006

Sorry for the intermittent updates lately, folks.  I’m sorry to say that holidays are for family and friends, and not so much for blog updates and the like.  We’ll be back to our regular schedule on Tuesday.  In the meantime, you can have some stuff to look at AND to look forward to.

In my gallery, I’ve added pictures (under ‘Events’) of my trip to my parents for Christmas.  Sorry there are so many of our cat… she’s pretty photogenic.  There are also some pictures of the flight home on Porter Airlines (with Danielle) and I’ll be writing up a very complete review of the flight experience with this new airline.

In the meantime, I hope you all have a great New Year and for those of you I won’t see at our party, I’ll see you in 2007!

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I’ve got just one day left up here, but so far I’ve been enjoying the spoils of Christmas at home.  There are baked goods piled high on the counter, candies and other goodies spilling out of every cupboard, and the fridge is packed with leftover turkey, stuffing, gravy and potatoes.  Still, one of my favourite treats is something far simpler.

Growing up, we didn’t drink much (or any) wine in our house.  It wasn’t until I was nearly in my twenties that corks started popping in our house, and that meant that at special occiasions there was only one drink that we would find in our crystal goblets… equal parts Cranberry Cocktail and Ginger Ale.  I’m in love with it… but not enough so that I would ever go to the trouble of buying a bottle of cranberry juice and a bottle of ginger ale.  So while I’m here, I’m getting my fill.  It’s especially good after over-stuffing yourself on turkey and stuffing.  A glass of this stuff is as good as schnapps at packing your stomach down to make room for pie. 

Mmmm, pie.  I’ll think I’ll go carve myself out a piece right now.

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The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

-Luke 2:1-20 NIV-

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Ah, the last workday before Christmas holidays. The office is half-empty and there’s very little to do. There are cookies and chocolates a-plenty and some Christmas cheer, and everyone is handing out cards and munching on candy canes. This is my favourite work day of the entire year.

Tonight, Danielle heads to Montreal on the train and I’m heading to the Bloor Cinema to catch It’s a Wonderful Life on the big screen with some Grace folks, and then catching up with Kenneth, Ben and the boys for some Christmas drinks on the town. I’m really looking forward to the movie. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the greatest Christmas movie of all time.

The Eaton Centre Christmas Tree
Next week there’ll be some light posting in here as I’ll be up at my parents house where the net connection is only somewhat better than dial-up, but I wish you and your families a safe and Merry Christmas!

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It’s not often you get a two-fer, especially when the second one isn’t just cutesy Christmas photos I took with my new toy…. er… ‘tool’.  Still, I figured that I had something else worth mentioning today.

At 12:22am tonight, the sun will have traversed its greatest distance south from the equatorial plane, which is geek talk for today being the shortest day of the year (sunlight-wise… although it’s a gorgeous sunny day here in Toronto), and that also means that tomorrow is the first day of winter.  That will come as a surprise to most of my readers who no doubt haven’t realized that winter was even coming this year (thanks to record high temperatures and record low snowfalls).

Tonight’s Winter Solstice will be of special significance to my pagan readers, who will celebrate the death of the earth… if I have Pagan (or even druidic) readers.  For the rest of us, it’s just a neat little feature of our crazy planet and one more way to mark the passage of time.

On the plus side, that means every day from tomorrow will have more and more sunlight… well, until the summer solstice, that is.

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I’m done dealing with Black’s Photography.  First, their website says the store opens at 8am and I arrive early only to find that it opens at 9am.  Fine.  I go to my morning meeting and then race over there to print up some (REALLY LATE) Christmas Greeting cards.  That’s when I discover there are size limits to their photos (not mentioned on the site) and that even though I was told that I could create greeting cards with a blank template, it turns out that I can only add a photo to a template with a TERRIBLE border.  It’s a wreath and it says ‘Merry Christmas’ in Comic Sans MS font.  That’s ‘The Holiday‘ terrible.

Now I’m in touch with a print shop to see if I can get the cards made in time, but I’m getting the impression that it’s too late.  Bah.  I should’ve just gone to Kinko’s in the middle of the night last night.

In happier news, as of 2pm yesterday, I’ve completed over 95% of my Christmas shopping.  The last 5% is spoken for and will be picked up on saturday.  Most of the gifts are even wrapped (in one form or another) and ready for the long commute to the Ottawa Valley this weekend.  Now, if the work week would only end, we could get on to the gift unwrapping and feasting on delectable edibles.

Honestly, Christmas would be a lot better without the stress and rush.  Hey, look!  I’m the first person ever to say that!

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Here’s a couple of photos from the other day; a reindeer from the south end of the Eaton Centre… and a Santa from Danielle’s door.

Donner... or Blitzen  Ho, ho, ho

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Last night I went to one of my favourite stores of all time.  I can’t say what store, lest someone know what I got him or her for Christmas, but suffice it to say that it’s a great store and it’s in the west end of downtown.  I left work a little early to bypass crowds and traffic, but the store was quite busy anyways (being such a great store) and it took me a while to get out.

When I finally got to the Queen Streetcar, the car and the streets were packed with people.  I was heavily laden with gifts and not feeling well (still), so I wasn’t in the best of moods.  At least not until I met our streetcar driver.

He was middle-aged and Eastern-European and he spoke in a very dry monotone voice.  When he offered me a transfer, I thought he was doing a Lawrence Welk impersonation (only Jared and my parents will probably know what that means), but it turns out that was his voice.

After I shoved my way to the back of the streetcar and settled in for the long crawl eastwards, he got on the intercom and started singing off-key Christmas carols and threatening to make everyone get off if they didn’t join in (he was clearly joking).  At each stop, he’d wish everyone getting off a ‘good evening’ and then would extend those wishes to those staying on the streetcar who moved to the back to make room for others.

A number of times, he invited everyone on the streetcar back to his house for cookies at the end of his shift, and he pointed out significant landmarks on the route, and when I got off at Jarvis, he stood and bowed to me as I passed the front of his streetcar at the light.

THIS is why I love the TTC sometimes. Sure, it’s dirty and sometimes smells like pee, but every once in a while, somebody makes the most of the trip and you go home with a big smile on your face.

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