Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas '06

I put together a set of photos from our low-key Christmas. I had the week off, which was wonderful. Several highlights, many of which I didn't drag the camera out for:
  • My grandparents flew out for the week, and it was great to connect with them again. Grandma even made us flat pancakes on Christmas morning. We saw them a bunch of times and they really hit it off with the girls.

    I may have been in denial about the extent of my grandpa's memory loss the last time I saw him a year and a half ago, and/or it has gotten worse since then. Compensating for the gaps in memory was very challenging. He keeps his spirits up, his long-term memory is somewhat better, and we could still visit fairly easily -- although the memory loss is sometimes frustrating and embarrassing for him, he says he's had 81 good years and doesn't dwell on the negative.
  • Barb and Laurel stopped in one afternoon for tea, much like they did last Christmas. We had hoped to go up to Apex with them, but decided against it -- it was snowing hard and we were sick of driving. Nice to hang with them a bit at our "new" place.
  • We spent a lot of time sliding down the hill in the backyard on the sled, even having a fire at the top to warm up by, and hot chocolate a few times. Lorne and the girls joined us one afternoon, and we also had a great session with Mark and Joel when they stayed with us. It doesn't exactly replace snowboarding for me...but the exercise is great (try dragging two kids repeatedly up a very long hill), it gets me outside in winter, and the girls have been stoked. We've been going to see the alpacas down the road for entertainment too.
  • Cass and David dropped by for lunch before Christmas, hanging out for a couple of hours. I fear we weren't the best hosts, letting our kids berate them, serving humble food and not even taking them tobagganning, but they didn't seem to hold it against us. I wish we lived closer to be able to see them more often.
  • Great party with a good chunk of the Stoesz clan at Lucy and Dave's in Penticton -- very cool to hang with Nick a bit, although I can't believe I didn't talk him into going for beers with me the next day. Everyone was feeling festive, the kids were fairly happy, and the food was excellent. It was fun catching up with Jay and Karen again...need to have them over here soon.
  • Christmas day at my folks was very mellow, warm and fun. Ivy, Mom, Grandma and I went for a gorgeous sunny walk along the lake before the big feast. I consented to playing some games, and there were a few puzzles on the go -- and presents of course. The girls were in their glory. Ivy got a camera, so hopefully we can get her blog updated with some new photos again.
  • We had a couple of excellent meals with the Hildebrands, who were pretty much our only friends who didn't end up "back home" in Manitoba this year for the holidays. Two evening sessions in their hot tub were highlights, too.
I'm sure there were other things that I've missed. We spent an inordinate amount of time lounging around the fire this year, just relaxing and hanging out, which I think I really needed.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

All About Value

I think this wine list from the Georgia Straight looks pretty promising: Ten bucks says you can afford a good bottle. Now, don't get me wrong -- I like a good (usually meaning more expensive) bottle of wine as much as the next guy, but unfortunately I'm too cheap to buy the pricier bottles, so my ongoing quest is one of finding good value wine. Anyway, looks like lots of interesting 10-buckers in the list.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Merry Christmas

We didn't get around to sending out cards this year (again), so consider this your holiday greeting, from our family to yours.

It's hard to summarize and rate an entire year with all the ups and downs and in-betweens, but we feel pretty good about 2006. Lots of transition and peering into the future, but I think we enjoyed living in the moment too, especially through another outstanding summer.

This time of year, one of us usually brings up a favourite line from an older Counting Crows song:
"...its been a long December and there's reason to believe
maybe this year will be better than the last"
There's a bittersweet note to it with the reference to it being a long month and the skeptical-sounding "maybe", but ultimately it's hopeful, if not overly optimistic. Here's hoping that your next year is better than the last.

Monday, December 11, 2006

City of Angels

I kinda doubt that I'll ever actually get to properly writing up an account of this trip, so here's the set of photos mostly unencumbered by words: Los Angeles Trip, December 2006.

Great weekend spent cycling all over this insane city, covering close to 50 miles, I think. But I'm missing the girls (yes, Tan's one of the girls) like crazy and ready to come home. A few more days yet.

Powell Pletts

I'm not a big fan of family photos, but Lesa has provided us with a darn good one of Steve and Ang and their expanding tribe.

Friday, December 08, 2006

El Carmen

So surreal to fly from snow and ice to 80 degrees in L.A. in December. It's just not that far away, but so, so different. Long work day, then tonight: Christmas Lights, Tequila and Wrestlers - El Carmen...see the hangover guide and yelp reviews for a portrait of the place. I was such an exuberant tourist, I bought a t-shirt (photos forthcoming). Building a bar around the theme of Mexican Wrestling Masks wouldn't seem like a winner, but trust me. Awesome. Co-worker Keith's slogan for the evening: "Take the fun" -- it made sense at the time.

And when we were killing time at The Grove earlier on (an extravagently odd outdoor theme-park mall in West Hollywood with pedestrian walkways and posh shops), standing near "the world's largest Christmas tree" and Santa's impressive shrine, there was a loud, gonging bell which signified the dumping of fake snow over the assembled masses standing near palm trees wrapped in Christmas lights. It was a sort of soapy foam that was surprisingly convincing, yet so artificial as to be irritating...until I saw two little Californian kids chasing "snowflakes" with pure joy on their cherubic faces.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


The love of my life, mother of my children and my best friend -- happy birthday!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Photo Hodgepodge

We walked down by the lake on the weekend and I took a bunch of artsy-fartsy photos of the icicles around the dock -- the flickr set is here for those who appreciate such things. A few others: