Monday, December 31, 2007

Weekend fun...

Another weekend has come and gone, and I don't really have anything to show for it except for the fact that the blue afghan I mentioned earlier is now finished. I'm a little disappointed with it, though. Because I bought the yarn in bulk and on two separate occasions, I wasn't able to be very picky about the dye lots of the different balls. Result:

I now have a two-toned afghan! If I didn't like the pattern/colours so much I don't think it would bother me that the two blues are so different, but I do, so it does. I was originally planning to give it away, but now I think I'll have to keep this one and make another. But first I need to finish making the matching pillows ;)

On Saturday, we went out for "breakfast" (at approx. 1:00pm) withTC's Brother G and Cousin J, and their respective wives, which was fun. Cousin J was visiting from Ottawa, and he and his wife have the cutest little puppy - I wish I had a picture - that likes to chew people's toes! We left the pup with Brother G's in-laws and had breakfast at an Irish-style pub, and then walked to the Pottery Barn at the request of Mrs. Cousin J. Apparently there isn't one in Ottawa. They have some really nice stuff there, but I find it to be overpriced. It was a good visit, though.

We also spent quite a bit of time this weekend playing a game that we got for Christmas called Ticket to Ride. I highly recommend it - it's a great deal of fun. You are essentially trying to create a network of train lines that connect whichever North American destinations you've been assigned before someone else claims that route or runs out of trains. Fun for the whole family (as long as your family has 2-5 people and is 8+)!

I guess I do have something to show for the weekend after all!

Friday, December 28, 2007

New dresser

Didn't TC do a lovely job assembling the dresser? He was a very busy boy yesterday! I mentioned in the last post that one of my cousins will be coming to live with us for a few months starting in January, and TC put the finishing touches on the guest room which up until yesterday was used primarily as his office. Now it's a cozy little room all set for when cousin P gets here. To tell you the truth, I like it much better this way.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Some updates...and a life lesson...

The amaryllis is continuing to grow, though it didn't make it to maturity by Christmas as I was hoping it would. Still, I'm really enjoying how you can see a little growth each day. On the crafting front, I've wrapped up all of the little projects that I've been working on (no pun intended), but I always have one or two big projects on the go. Right now I'm crocheting away at this afghan:

I ran out of the dark blue yarn while working on it this afternoon, so I decided that we needed to go get some more right away. Off we went to Wal-mart (a store that I am morally conflicted about shopping in, and yet I keep going back - it's like the crack of the department store world), where we of course discovered that there were some other things we needed too (darn that place!). By the time we left, our shopping gears were all fired up, so we decided that mid-afternoon on Boxing Day would be a great time to look for a dresser for our guest room, where my cousin will be living for the next four months.
We began by looking in every store near the Wal-mart that we thought might have dressers, but we were thwarted at every turn. It was then that we decided to make the journey out to the nearest Ikea - a trip that took forever because we had to pass the Yorkdale mall enroute. Why would that make it take forever? Because there were so many people going to the mall that we sat at an intersection through 5 green lights because there was no room to advance. As far ahead as we could see, there was nothing but bumper-to-bumper traffic. We proceeded to sit through at least 5 green lights at every intersection. Grr... We finally made it to Ikea, and we did find a dresser that we liked very much, which TC has begun assembling this evening, so it all turned out to be worthwhile. I'll post a picture once he's finished.
The moral of the story? Never try to buy a dresser on Boxing Day! I don't know what we were thinking :)

Merry Christmas!

Well, Christmas has come and gone and it turned out to be a wonderful time after all. On Christmas Eve we made our way down to Kensington Market, a community of little shops and restaurants that is essentially an open-air market (hence its name), and just walked about, stopping to peruse the occasional shop and then having some lunch at a little Portugese bakery. As we were doing so, it started to snow - the wispy kind of flakes that don't amount to anything but look really pretty. How perfect is that? Then we indulged in the guilty pleasure of going to the Eaton Centre and watching everybody scurry around to do their last-minute shopping while we sat and drank tea, secure in the knowledge that all of our shopping was done. Later that night we attended a candlelit service at an Anglican church just down the street, which ended shortly after midnight. It was quite lovely!

The late night probably explains why I was able to sleep in on Christmas morning. Normally I wake up quite early, but this year I made it til 8am - something I haven't been able to do since I was too young to know what Christmas was. Anyway, after we opened our presents we headed out to feed TC's brother's cat, which we're looking after for a couple of days. Then we went to a friend's house and spent the afternoon with them, playing games and having a delicious turkey dinner.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas spirit...

It's official - Christmas is here! I've always associated the beginning of Christmas with a certain feeling that I get as the day approaches, a quiet kind of joy and excitement that sneaks up on me without my noticing it, until I'm walking around humming Christmas carols and smiling for no apparent reason. It took a little longer to reach that point this year, but it's finally here! It might have helped that all the Christmas cards have been arriving this week, and my co-workers were handing out their 'thanks for all your help' gifts to the office services staff today so everyone was feeling festive. Or it might be the 2 feet of snow that we got over the weekend, making everything look Christmasy. I'm sure all of those things have contributed to the Christmas feeling, but I think the biggest thing has been the fact that I'm now really looking forward to spending a quiet Christmas morning at home with TC, and then having Christmas dinner with some friends and their family.

Another contributor to the official start of Christmas? Seeing this clip on TV.

Monday, December 17, 2007


This is just a quick update to let you know that TC did indeed make it home safe and sound, for which I am very, very thankful. He arrived at the door Sunday afternoon snowy, tired and a little bit rumpled but otherwise whole.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snow Day

On a day like today, when I don't have anything that I really have to do, and nowhere that I really have to go, I love a good snowstorm! It has been snowing and blowing like mad outside since yesterday, and I'm loving every minute of it, all curled up on the couch watching old movies and drinking tea. The only real downside is that TC, who was supposed to come back from Washington yesterday has been snowed in at the Detroit airport and won't be getting home until this afternoon, assuming that the new flight isn't cancelled too. He'll get home eventually, though. On the plus side, I've had lots of time to finish up this scarf that I've been making from leftover yarn:

It's kind of Christmasy, don't you think? I recently went through all my craft supplies, which have somehow grown to fill 3 or 4 rubbermaid storage tubs, and found so much scrap yarn that I need to use up in order to make room for more :) There really isn't enough of any one colour to make a major project, but I've discovered that I can usually manage to make a scarf or a hat from it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Aren't I a little old to be homesick?

I thought that I was doing pretty well with the whole 'not-going-home-for-Christmas' thing, but it seems that I may have been a little premature in coming to that conclusion. I was just looking at some pictures that a friend posted on facebook of their birthday/early Christmas celebration(s) and was swept by a wave of homesickness, which completely took me by surprise. It hit me the moment I realized that we are not only unable to visit our families this year, which is bad enough, but we're also not going to be able to visit all of the friends we would normally see - and all of a sudden I started missing everybody. Sigh. My solution? Everybody needs to come visit us ;)

So in order to keep myself from getting weepy (I am at work, after all, and nobody likes a weepy receptionist), I'm going to make a list of some of the things that I'm enjoying or looking forward to this Christmas:
  • not having to worry about booking flights or spending time in the airport
  • getting parcels full of presents in the mail
  • having 3 extra days off work to relax and enjoy the season
  • seeing Toronto all decked out for Christmas (it really is beautiful at this time of year)
  • learning about other people's Christmas traditions and experiences
  • celebrating with our friends that are here

That's not so bad, is it?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Amaryllis update

We have life! My amaryllis has started to grow, which excites me very much. Probably too much :) I was kind of hoping it would bloom by Christmas, but I don't think it will since that's only 14 days away. We put our Christmas parcels in the mail today, which I hope was soon enough for them to get down home in time.

I had the preliminary interview today for the junior supervisory position that I mentioned earlier. It was a bit of a waste of time, since I already work for the company and have therefore already gone through the preliminary screening process, but for the sake of fairness every applicant has to do it. I therefore travelled 45 minutes from the office I work in to one of our other GTA offices, sat in the reception area for 10-15 minutes, was interviewed for another 10-15 minutes and then travelled 45 minutes back to my office just in time for my lunch break. On the bright side, I was told that I am definitely going to be one of the candidates for the major interview sometime next week. Woo hoo!
So what am I going to do with the rest of my evening? Sorting through this:

Two months' worth of receipts. Ugh. Everything gets entered into our budget spreadsheet, a relatively new endeavour prompted by the realization that I really don't know how much we spend on things. I do have a general idea, but it helps to have a definite figure to look at. It's been a very enlightening process.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Salmon supper

I tried a new recipe tonight, which I believe will now become part of the rotation. It's called Parmesan Baked Salmon, and was a breeze to make. Here's the recipe (or rather my version of the recipe, tweaked to fit the ingredients that I had on hand):
1/4 cup mayonaise
2 tbsp. grated parmesan
1/8 tsp. chili powder
4 salmon filets
2 tsp. lemon juice
10 Ritz crackers, crushed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix mayo, cheese, and chili powder until well blended and set aside. Place salmon on foil-lined baking dish. Drizzle with lemon juice and then top with cheese mixture, spreading evenly to cover salmon. Sprinkle with cracker crumbs. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until the filets flake easily with a fork.

Continuing on the Christmas theme...

I'm so tired I can hardly think - you'll have to forgive any incongruities that might show up in this post :) I've been doing two jobs at work since the beginning of last week and it's starting to catch up with me, though on the plus side I've had lots to do every day. Let's see if I can remember what I was going to write about...

Another care package arrived from Mum today. This time it contained the tablecloth and snowman cookie jar you see above, as well as some Christmas socks and napkins. The best part, though, is that the cookie jar came full of Mum's Christmas cooking: peanut butter balls, mocho cakes, and shortbread cookies...mmm...I'm so glad she sent them. I'm still struggling with the reality of not spending Christmas with our families, and it means so much to have that little bit of home. Speaking of which...

Tada! Our Nova Scotia Christmas tree! I love the way the smell of the tree hits me as soon as I walk in the door. And then turning off the lights and drinking a cup of tea at the end of the day while just enjoying the sight and smell of it all...ah...bliss! Have I mentioned yet how much I love Christmas?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree...

Yay! Our tree is now up and decorated and making our apartment smell like Christmas! Have I mentioned yet how much I enjoy the Christmas season? It's always been a special time of year for me. I'm a little less excited this year, though, since it's the first year that we won't be able to go home at all. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, it will be nice not to have to spend a chunk of Christmas travelling - Pearson airport is definitely not somewhere you want to be this time of year. But on the other hand, we won't be near any family and most of our friends will be home visiting their families, which kind of sucks. I think we'll make out alright, though. If nothing else, this year will be a good reminder that Christmas isn't really about celebrating family, which is what it has become for a large part of our society.

On a related note, we discovered something amazing about our tree after we brought it home from the lot (an adventure in and of itself, involving carrying the 7' tree down six city blocks on a very cold and windy evening). We knew when we bought it that the tree was from Nova Scotia, but then we were removing the tag from the bottom of it and saw that it had been grown by Delong Farms of New Germany, NS - which is where I lived for the first 8 years of my life! How neat is that? Although we can't go home for Christmas, a little bit of home has come to us :)

I'll try to get a picture of the tree on here as soon as we figure out why our camera isn't working. Do any of you photography-inclined people know why a camera would say that it 'cannot use this memory card' when it was using it just fine several seconds earlier? It will work without the card, but then we can only take a couple of pictures before the memory is full. The card isn't full, and it won't even let us download the images that were on it. Grr...

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Whew! It seems like we've been going pretty much non-stop lately. Last night was my office's Christmas party. No, sorry, it was our Winterfest celebration - a more neutral term that encompasses the celebration of Christmakwanzakkah. It was a lot of fun, mainly because the entertainment for the evening was the Barenaked Ladies, who put on a great show. Dinner was a typical 3-course affair, except that they included an extra course of Kraft Dinner with a fancy imported ketchup in honour of the band. :) We stayed for the concert, but left before the dance afterward, which turned out to be a good thing, since there was a bit of a storm last night. It was just pretty and snowy when we left - a fitting ending to a fun evening.