Monday, December 19, 2016

Living In YYC ...

... is amazing.

Today in and of itself was great.

I slept like a rock - after not having a proper nights sleep in about a week. We've had a cold snap - which Toronto is now currently going thru. To put it in perspective, Mars - fucking MARS -  is warmer than Toronto right now. So, during the cold snap here I put fleece sheets on my bed.

It's glorious. Fleece sheets, blankets and pillows ... it's so good. Warm.Cozy. Perfect. No wonder I slept so good. After a solid 12 hours of sleep I woke up and made soe coffee in the French press before me and some friends hit up a Korean BBQ/Sushi joint on 16th Ave. Needless to say, we stuffed our faces.

I think we had three different shashimi platters, more than our fair share of BBQ, squid, octopus seaweed salad, surf clams, short ribs, pork, gyoza, green tea ice cream and about a half gallon of green tea. We were there for a few hours - just taking our time and eating and enjoying our company and talking about pretty much everything. Never, ever underestimate the simple joy of just sitting and eating and talking with friends. I'm pretty sure that aside from laughter, it's one of the great cures for the heart and soul.

So, after filling ourselves to the gills with great food, my roommate and I decided to go Christmas shopping. I had forgotten how crowded the malls get for Christmas shopping - but it was definitely a successful trip! We spent HOURS walking around the mall, which was good - we needed the exercise given the copious amount of food we had just shoved in our gut. I came across this amazing little kiosk, and he sells different jewelry, but with this gorgeous Egyptian twist! It's mostly sterling silver, and he has chains and bracelets, and matching earring and pendant sets for women ... it's all gorgeous! I may or may not have ordered something custom made, which I am super excited for!

I have everyone pretty much taken care of for the holidays - a last minute trip to Banff yesterday helped! Banff in and of itself is gorgeous any time of the year - but man, right now it is on some next level shit. One of the main streets leading in to town has pretty much every single tree wrapped in lights, the hotels, inns and hostels are all done up and - this might be the best part - as we were driving past one of the hotels, there was a giant elk right out front grazing! He was being all cool and shit and just giving zero fucks about being among us humans. I had to do a double take because I didn't think he was real at first. He most certainly was.

Even though it was windy and therefore quite chilly in Banff, it was still so beautiful. Everything has a light dusting of snow on it, lights are everywhere, the chocolate and fudge shops make the air smell delicious. There are whole blocks in town that smell like hot chocolate - it's amazing. toss in the Beaver Tail places, the ice cream shops with the fresh made waffle cones, the specialty crepe shops and the aforementioned fudge and chocolate shops ... close your eyes and just for a second you just might feel like Hansel and Gretel, standing outside the witch's house.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

It's Christmas Time

I love Christmas. The Christmas carols, loosing small pieces of my sanity battling the holiday shopping crowds, stocking up on wrapping paper, gift bags and boxes, curling ribbon and more Christmas than is really necessary  ... I love all of it.

One of my favourite things though is putting up the Christmas tree. Every year since I've been a kid my Mom has given me a "Daughter" Christmas decoration for the tree. I think I have enough at this point to do a small-ish tree and just use the daughter ornaments to decorate it. It's always really fun for me to unpack my boxes of holiday things and take out the decorations and look at all the years that I have them for. I've also started getting Disney ornaments from the Disney store - and they're glorious. Of course, you have to have The Nightmare Before Christmas on there (which I do), and I have Olaf from Frozen as well; Jessica and Roger Rabbit; Lock, Shock and Barrel; Frosty the Snowman; and the Mayor of Halloween Town. While it's completely unrelated to Disney I also need to get Ralphie and the leg lamp from A Christmas Story. I really wanted to get it for Daddy, but it was made clear to me in no uncertain terms that not only would it not end up on Moms tree, but I would also be the only would who find it hilarious.

Maybe my Mom and Ralphie's Mom used to be friends ...

This year I've taken more joy than usual in the holiday traditions. Last year, I was channeling the Grinch somethin' awful. When I moved to the city, I basically left all my Christmas things packed up. I was not joyous. I was not festive. I was pretty miserable. I didn't even want Mom to send me up her annual Christmas package - this year's just came in the mail and it was filled with all things amazing!! Thankfully, I wasn't left to my own devices last year and spent it in Kelowna with a girl friend. That was fun - we ate sushi, got a manicure, a foot bath ... and ate SO much good home cooked food. Srsly, this girl's Mom can cook. True, there were a few things that put a damper on our festivities so it just seems that now, upon reflection, last Christmas was a challenge for a lot of people.

God, thank goodness this year is almost over. While I am so proud of the things that I've managed to do this year, and the journey that I've been on ... I will be glad to say good bye to the last 12 months. True, there were some really great things that happened, I still feel that like some days I'm still processing a whole bunch of garbage - it's my own head trash, and I know that ... and while I am surrounded by a close circle of people who love me, there are times that I need some quiet reflection and be left alone either with my sorta-kinda-but-no-really-trusty laptop, or a note book and a pen and just spill out words.

Wow.

This got off topic rather quickly didn't it.

Right then ... back to Christmas!!!

There's also something else I do every year ... and that's buy flavored coffee. This year, I got Folger's French Vanilla. I try to get it to last all thru the holiday season and this year I'm doing particularly well since McDonald's is running a promotion where their coffee is only one.fricking.dollar. So, I hit the drive thru pretty much every morning on the way into work! Christmas morning, with a steaming mug of hot coffee, a big Christmas breakfast, lounging on the couch in Christmas pajamas's - it really is the little things. I love it. I'm so excited for Christmas this year - and it feels glorious.

I've baked my favorite cookies of all time using Mom's recipe as well - another Christmas activity you can set your watch by. I've made a couple of batches so far, but I need to make a few more, and I think I might change it just a wee bit and add Nutella to the center instead of the jam I have. I mean, who doesn't love Nutella!? And I can also promise you that at some point during my baking escapades that I will call Mom with some ridiculous question about just what in the hell am I supposed to be doing, she'll laugh at me 'cause I'm hopeless and then explain it all to me ... and then txt me all during the day looking for a status update and make sure I haven't burned the house down.

Ok. I'm not that hopeless when it comes to baking ... but I don't do it very often! I'm not totally incompetent but it's not unheard of for me to have to fuck up the recipe at least once or twice before I figure out the general idea of what I'm doing.

Alright internet ... it's late, and I still have some Christmas thing to do before bedtime and get the twelve layers of clothes ready tat I'll need to wear in the morning before heading to the office - THANK YOU POLAR VORTEX, YOU CAN GO HOME NOW - GAAAWD!!!!

I think Mother Nature's drunk ... somebody take her home and take care of her.