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Posts Tagged ‘winter’

Last week I was coming home from a Christmas party. My neighbour was at the wheel as we had car pooled and well, I don’t have a car anymore. I was a bit out of sorts. The place where the party was held had gotten way too hot and I started having a thundering headache fairly early on. Let’s just say I was not my usual jovial self. In fact, apparently, I was quite annoying as my chauffeur threatened to abandon me several times throughout the evening. On our way home this wonderful beacon of neighbourly joy decided to stop at the grocery store to pick up a few things so she could hunker in the next morning. Anyone who knows me understands that the one thing I can not tolerate is grocery shopping. I am truly blessed that He-Who loves to grocery shop and usually takes care of it. Upon occasion he has tricked me into going with him. You know … accidentally on purpose. His life is hell for the next day or so until I forgive him for his sin. Needless to say I could not let this go by with my neighbour.  I started protesting immediately. She had pretty much had enough and said, “Fine. Wait in the car.”  You all know I live in Canada, in the frozen north. It is December and after 10:00 pm so the sun has been down for hours. The temperature is sitting around -23C with the windchill. There is no way I am sitting in the car while she lolly gags around the grocery store. So, in I go. I call He-Who, tell him where I am and ask him if we need anything. I am smart enough to know to put the phone away from my ear as he hysterically laughs at me being in a grocery store. Believe me the cloud of darkness over my head is reaching its peak.

grocery store copy

After a much longer then anticipated exploration of every aisle in the store we paid for our goods and went back outside into the now cold car.  The remainder of the ride home was looking bleak and very quiet.  Quite frankly I was too busy sulking like a two year old to carry on a conversation. I know it is hard to believe but there I was headed for the naughty list in the fast lane.

Naughty or nice

The neighbourly one broke the silence.

“So what do you think of the lights behind us?”

“What lights?”

“What do you mean, what lights?”

“What lights? I don’t know what you are talking about?”

“What are you, freaking blind? When was the last time you look out your back window?”

“I look out it every day.”

The car got silent again. We were nearing home. Left turn onto Liverpool Road. One more right hand turn and I am home and this night is over! As I said this in my head I realized she was driving past our street. I swear I whined like a baby, “I live there.  You missed my street!” She took the very next right and my eyes popped out of my head! I was out of the car and snapping pictures all the while losing feeling in my fingers.

This, My Friends, is what is behind me…

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I was one happy camper and thanked my neighbour profusely for taking the time to show me and for making my night. See what I did there? Back on the good girl list.

Christmas Lights

When I started this post it was with full intention of going back and getting some better pictures and video so you could get the full effect. I was going to post it on the weekend. I mentioned previously I live in Canada. I live in Pickering, Ontario, which is part of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). We had a pretty serious ice storm over the weekend and much of Toronto and the surrounding areas were left without power, heat, hot water – you know, all those comforts we have come to know and love – for days! By day two our cell phones were dead and I was longing for a hot tea. Remember that neighbour? She gathered up the phones and chargers, my electric kettle and all the thermoses and insulated cups we could find and drove to her office in the next town which had power back. When she returned we had charged phones and hot tea. We were fortunate that we have a gas fireplace to keep us warm and I slept on an airbed in front of it. As I type this it is Christmas Eve and my power returned this morning but there are still people without power and heat. The hydro guys have been working around the clock since Saturday to get every one back up and running in some of the bitterest winter weather I have ever experienced. They all deserve a medal and our undying gratitude.

Here is a sampling of images to give you an idea of how beautiful and deadly the ice storm was.

As I play catchup with my cleaning, baking and work I just wanted to take a few minutes to say how grateful I am we came through this unscathed, to ask you to say a little prayer for those who are still in the deep freeze and to wish you a very “Merry Christmas”. Stay warm!

Fireplace

Logo pig bookends Christmas

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http://www.niagarafallstourism.com/experience/holidays/christmas/

For the first time in over 10 years I will be home for Christmas. Niagara Falls will always be “home”, no matter where I live. As it turns out, He-Who and I will be “wintering” in Niagara Falls and we are planning to be there until the end of March. Now, I know that most people would prefer to winter in a warmer climate. Niagara Falls would not be their  fantasy destination during the colder months but for me it is exactly what I need. It will be wonderful to be able to catch up and make plans with friends I haven’t seen in way too long. As a rule we drive two or more hours (depending on the traffic) run around to see a few family members and then before you know it we have to turn around and drive back. We try to get way too much into one trip and everybody gets short changed. I’m looking forward to simply being able to drop in on someone for a coffee and not always be thinking of the drive back.

That’s the good news folks.

Things haven’t exactly gone well the last few years for He-Who and I. After losing the job I loved at the TV station and having a really bad experience at a smaller company in the “Big City”, we decided to venture out on our own. The business we started was in the Durham Region which is what prompted our move here.  It has been very difficult for He-Who as he continued to work in the horse racing industry in and around Woodbine Racetrack and had to spend way too many hours on what has to be the world’s worst highway … the 401.  After two years we had to make the very difficult decision to stop losing our money on the business and call it a day. Of course this means we no longer have to live here so we gave our notice. While this was going on things started to go really wrong with the Racing Industry here in Ontario. Race tracks were being closed, racing days were being eliminated and in short, the government was annihilating the racing industry. Yesterday was He-Who’s last day for this season’s contract so we have some pretty scary decisions to make.

We’ve been very blessed with friends and family and it wasn’t long before someone accepted our invitation to let us house sit for them while they are in Florida for the winter.  Of course while packing and making the arrangements to get rid of as much of our stuff as we could and to store the rest, my car decided that it was time for it to retire. In all honesty it has taken me over 400,000 k and can probably use the rest but it could have had better timing. While one of my relatives is trying to coax my car to come out of retirement a long time friend said, “use my car”. Just like that.  So while we may be temporarily homeless, a little underfinanced and unemployed, we have an abundance of wealth with family and friends.

Michelle & Santa

Santa and I for
Toni over at Words We Women Write

I plan to make the best of our winter in Niagara. After all it is one of Canada’s 10 Most Festive Christmas Cities. It will be wonderful  to see and spend time with the people I have been missing, some of whom you have met here in my stories. Best of all – I’ll be home for Christmas.

Christmas Logo pig lineup

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