Seems like all I do lately is give updates. . . and that’s what is in store for today as well. There are a plethora of great topics to discuss. One just needs to look at a newspaper. I’m not in the right frame of mind to discuss a serious topic. My mood is more cheeky, smart-assy today. But I have pictures! Does that make things better?
First off, let me apologize. I feel I’ve neglected reading my usual bloggers. . . that’s because I did. I found myself popping in now and then to read a few at a time but I know I’ve missed several of your blogs. I will get to reading them, I promise. Things are starting to slow down and we, I’m including my partner, sk, here, are gradually getting back into the everyday swing of things since the holiday season is over. However, we still have to get through anniversaries, Valentine’s Day and both of our birthdays. Still lots to celebrate in a short amount of time.
To keep things short (or shorter) I’ll keep to the highlights. Prior to Christmas Day, we busied ourselves with pre-holiday festivities. Not only did we go overboard, in my opinion, with the decorating but we attended so many concerts and gatherings. . . well, I can’t remember them all. We ate too much, we drank too much but all told, we enjoyed ourselves.
Two of my favorite concerts we attended happened in our church. The first one was the concert of the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (HPYO). These kids, all members are between the ages of 14 and 24, are amazing! Not only did they play one of my most beloved pieces of holiday music, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, but they also did a horns only version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. The other concert highlight was our church’s annual holiday gathering, Gateway to Christmas. Spoken word mixed with traditional Christmas hymns sung by soloists and two choirs.
Christmas Day, we went to sk’s brother’s house. It’s over and done with. I tried to be as nice as I could. To placate sk, I let her take a picture of me with our twin nieces. I won’t have to do that again for several months, for the twins’ birthday or if I’m lucky, a full year. I do not wish to air family issues here so let’s just say the parents are not my favorite people.
The following weekend, we enjoyed our own holiday get together with our friends. It was an easy appetizer party. Besides the food, I also made a “colonial” hot buttered rum. Well, that was yummy, very sweet, but very yummy. Everything was good and the company was excellent.
Sk’s office closes for two weeks over the holidays so you know we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, at least for those two weeks. We attended some local entertainment but we also went to Ottawa for New Year’s Eve. We decided it was time to visit our adopted country’s capital and to watch the maple leaf drop to celebrate the new year. Three things stand out about this city: 1. It’s smaller than I thought it would be. 2. It’s cold 3. Everyone is nice and helpful. . . or was that because of the happy holiday feeling still in the air? Nah, I like to think Ottawans (Is that a word?) are nice.
Our first morning in the city, we went to the War Memorial and said a prayer for Officer Cirillo, local young man shot and killed by an extremist late last year as he guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. All the government buildings were closed for the holidays so we walked around in the freezing cold taking pictures. Friends of ours took us out for dinner in Quebec. The art gallery, the ‘must-see’ on sk’s list of things to do in Ottawa, opened after the holidays on our last day so we visited that before departing. Overall, we had a really good time but it’s always nice to get home.
With that said, we were almost ran over in a stampede to get into the street party on New Year’s Eve. Now, I don’t know who was in charge of “crowd control” at this event. I use that term, “crowd control” very loosely here. There is an outside block-long party New Year’s Eve in downtown Ottawa. The street it takes place on is closed off from traffic, not just at this time, permanently. Instead of a street is looks more like a very wide sidewalk with stores on both sides. The two ends of the block are closed off by sections of metal fences for the evening event. At one end is the stage for the bands at the opposite end are the porta-potties and the entrance / exit gates. Now, when we arrived at the entrance, people were already lined up and the security team closed the gate so no one could get into this wonderful party. We were beside the fencing so we could clearly see the crowd inside consisted of only half a block, maybe. At this time,11:51 pm, sk and I are trying to keep our spirits up and rationalize our decision to get out of a warm bed, put on several layers of clothes and stand on the outside of what looked to be an undersized street party. At that moment, a strong young man to my left, lifted up a section of the fence and tossed it to the ground. I grabbed sk’s hand and proceeded to rush us to safety; the porta-potties! No, we didn’t hide in one, we just stood beside it and made friends with another woman who did the same thing. That’s when I decided I am too old for a late night street party.
Back home now, somehow our local art gallery landed a Cezanne exhibit! I know. . . who the hell is Cezanne? Well, he is a French artist who, according to the paintings in the gallery, enjoyed fruit. Thank goodness my sk is an art therapist / art historian / art enthusiast and was there to inform me his paintings are referred to as ‘still life’ and ‘impressionistic.’ Yeah, I didn’t get it either. It looked like fruit.On the up side, art galleries have places to sit throughout the exhibit area. Bonus!
Okay, I think those are all the highlights. Hope everyone enjoyed their holidays. And for those of you suffering from those post-holiday blues, get ready because the Super Bowl is February 1st!