Christmas Day with my family at Jeff and Carol's, and as always they lay on a fabulous spread and make us feel warm and welcome. Some of us are far away, in England, Alberta and USA. But, at one moment, we've got Ontario, Edmonton and Washington all in one room, bringing us as together as we can be. In a moment like this, you can't say one bad thing about technology.
(Obviously, as I'm in the photo, I can't take credit for this "photo of the day" – the credit would go to my daughter Carly for having the sense to capture a moment.)
When I was a kid we put up our Christmas tree on or around my sister Jane's birthday on the 19th of December. Happy then over the holidays I would sit in the family room with its green shag carpet and turned down lamps and temporary pine smell, and stare at the tree, holding on to it as if holding on to time. I'd squint my eyes and let the colours run together like some watercolour painting on a night sky. I also associate Burl Ives as snowman and the annual Rudoph TV special with that pine scented memory, but mostly it's the lights.
40-something years later I'm living in a large city in which there is no olive green shag carpet in sight, but the lights strung about the place could accommodate their own dedicated landfill. Despite that thought I still catch myself standing in front of them squinting my eyes to make a watercolour painting on the night.
This morning I'm moving about my place, finishing coffee and packing things up for work, and I'm stopped still by the sun showing itself, suddenly, in a mirror.
"Good morning," the sun says. "What's your hurry?"
"I'm glad to see you too," I say.
It's blustery and damp. So far, that's what the winter has been: blustery and damp. Cold and clear is pleasant to walk in; blustery and damp gets down through your bones. Despite that, we walk over to the Distillery District to see the annual Christmas Market, and many folks and their families are braving it too. We sip some mulled wine under a patio heater and then check out the vendors in the booths lining the cobbled "streets."
We retreat back westward and land in C'est What for some cosy and a snack.
Walking home later, we've got homemade soup on our minds. Even the CN Tower looks as if it wants to hide under the covers.
Today we go over to Carly's place for a pre-30th-birthday party tree trimming and dinner. We've used Carly's birthday as the "Christmas tree erecting day" since she was small. And now she's 30. Yes, I have a daughter who has been on the planet for three decades. Three marvellous decades.
Walking across the pedestrian bridge (over the downtown Union Station rail corridor) I'm taken, as always, with the rain on pavement. I've just arrived home from Sudbury, appreciative of the downtown airport's proximity to my home (ten minutes' walk) and am on my way up to meet my people for beer o'clock at our usual local. It's good to be home.
It's one of those little gifts life hands you every once in awhile: a rainy Sunday morning. That which invites you to have coffee in bed, to loaf around in your pyjamas and to think of things to cook. Tomorrow I'm heading out of town for the week for work, so I've got some things in the refrigerator to use up, like a red pepper and some zucchini. I had recently noted this recipe in my Pinterest recipe collection which I'd saved from my favourite foodie blog, Skinnytaste.com, and decide to make it, modified to incorporate some not-so-skinny pancetta, also sitting there in the refrigerator. More thumbs-up from both sides of the table.