One More Christmas Celebration

….just when I thought I was done

I mentioned in one of my recent posts about Christmas that a very good friend of ours who almost always spends Christmas Eve with us couldn’t come over this past year. My daughter arranged for the three of us to get together last week for lunch.

I packed up all the gifts that I had for her, put them in my car and then headed out for Montgomery’s Inn where I volunteered to help put up an art show. I’ve never done a professional exhibit before and I found it exciting helping the artist decide where and how to hang her work. The artist’s name is Sharon McManus and I will probably share more about her work after the official opening this Saturday.IMG-0021
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When we finished hanging all the pieces I made my way to Arlene’s place. We met in her condo where she still had up all her Christmas decorations, including her white tree that she’s had since the 60s.

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Andrea arrived soon after and we all went down the street to the local Sushi restaurant. We toasted in the New Year with a little saki and warmed our tummies with a bowl of ramen.

When we went back to the condo and Arlene opened her gifts. She loves Henkel Trocken and it’s become a tradition to place a bottle in her Christmas stocking. IMG-0036
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Before we left she made us coffee and we shared a muffin and some cookies. Andrea also taught her how to use her camera on her phone so we played around posing for pictures.

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I think this is pretty much the end of our Christmas season, although my niece and her husband celebrated Orthodox Christmas a couple of days ago.

There are still a few remnants of Christmas around the neighbourhoods and some of the lights will stay up well past Valentine’s Day but for the most part the decorations are starting to come down and the greenery is starting to whither. Some people are sad that the holiday season is now over. As for me I’m looking forward to some rest and returning to a more normal routine of eating. How about you?IMG-0106
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Christmas at the Inn

….popcorn chains, Scrooge, Christmas cake and the Winter Witch

When the staff at Montgomery’s Inn put on a Christmas market they go all out. Weeks in advance the volunteers have been making Christmas cakes and gingerbread cookies. The walls were adorned with original paintings of Christmas Past, Present and Future and strings of popcorn ¬†and evergreen boughs were lovingly placed in the window wells and over the hearth of the fireplace.

On the day of the market the vendors set up their tables with more Christmas decorations and the Inn’s Winter Witch handed out cookies to the children. It’s a wonderful market and the community came out by the hundreds to support their local heritage museum.IMG-9689
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Hallowe’en on Sixth Street

….yesterday started out grey and wet but by late afternoon the rain ceased and the children arrived in their glorious costumes

We never get many children at our door but yesterday, despite a wet start to the day, we saw a relatively large number for the bottom of Sixth St.. I say bottom because so many families don’t venture those few extra steps into our block mainly because so few doors are open.

Before it got too dark I walked up the street to see how the neighbours decorated their doorways. Here’s a small sampling of what I saw. By the way we had 38 trick or treaters come to our door.IMG-9459
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Halloween at the Zoo

….it started out chilly but when the sun came out the layers came off

Going to the zoo during the week on Halloween had its perks. There was lots of parking, the line-up to get into the zoo was very short and we didn’t have to push through crowds of people to see the pandas. The downside is that a lot of the refreshment stands and rest areas were closed. The mono-rail wasn’t operating and some of the animal enclosures were closed.

We arrived late morning and we needed to bundle up to stay warm. Out came the hats, gloves and scarves. As soon as we entered the grounds we could see that staff had made an effort to decorate for Halloween.

Our first destination was the panda pavilion. The pandas are on loan here from China and the original two successfully mated to produce two cubs. The young cubs are already two years old and are almost the same size as their parents. In March, Toronto will have to say good-bye to the pandas when they move to Calgary. I was thrilled that I was able to get so close to get some great shots.

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As we walked from the Giant Panda Experience towards the Polar Bears and then to the African Savanna, the sun came out and we shed our hats, gloves and scarves. The pathways are beautifully laid out as they wind through forests of orange, gold and red. There were many interesting animals along the way but this post would be far too long if I mentioned them all. I’ll save that for another day.

My Favourites

….decorations that is

Over the years I have collected hundreds of Christmas ornaments and decorations. Some were gifted to me, many were handmade by my friends, my students, my children and by me. Every year I usually purchase one special ornament that catches my eye.

As my children grew up, moved out and started their own Christmas traditions I gave them some of my ornaments that had special meanings for them. I still have more decorations than I can possibly put on the tree, especially now as I buy smaller trees. This year I carefully chose ornaments that brought back wonderful memories.

Here are a few of my favourites: