‘Tis the Season

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Carving the Roast Beast

Howdy friends! I realize the humour of writing my Christmas post in February, but I’m going to go ahead and write it just the same. I feel like I need to get this posted, and need to close the loop on 2012 so that I can move forward into this year, and catch you all up on the latest races, of which I’m in the middle of several at the moment in February. It’s sort of ‘peak season’ for my winter races, and while that can be draining, it’s also a good time to reflect back on Christmas and the rejuvenation that it brought for the coming challenges 🙂 With that in mind, I invite you to do a few things. First, you can check out this year’s Christmas newsletter, as well as have a look a folder of pictures from the season. After that, read on friends, for a little colour.

When I last checked in with you, I was lamenting in part about the snowshoe race that turned into a trail race. Well, luckily, before Christmas was fully before us, we got a huge dump of the white stuff to guarantee that walking in a winter wonderland and a white Christmas was in our cards. It also meant that the lovely Deanna and I should hopefully get out to do some great skiing in the freshies. Why ‘hopefully’? Well, although we had opted not to go anywhere over the holidays, we did open our doors to Deanna’s family, and they accepted. All told, we’d have 4 more mouths to feed for 4 days. Deanna’s mom and dad joined us, as well as her sister and current boyfriend. So while the visions of skiing danced in my head, the reality of hosting family and putting on a spread at every mealtime would invariably lead to less outdoor time alone 🙂

However, that was definitely not a detractor, as the holidays is about spending time with family and enjoying a good meal together, and making fun of each other, right? Given our low reserve of vacation days, neither Deanna nor I took any extra days off over the holidays, which meant I’d be off starting Monday at noon, and back in the office on the Thursday. Deanna had it slightly better, as the office gave her Monday off completely. The guests, for their part, landed on Sunday. The other thing that happened on Sunday was MORE SNOW! Although we’d had our share of shovelling already, the possibility of heading into Gatineau Park was too tempting.

As a result, Deanna and I headed out later on Christmas Eve afternoon to squeeze in a ski. And boy were we glad we did! Just have a look at the slideshow below to see just how gorgeous things were out there. I’m quite certain that is the most beautiful I have ever seen it in the park. Of course, with beauty often comes some sort of destruction when it comes to natural events, and this one was no different. The heavy snow load on treed caused massive amounts of damage on some of the trails which are still visible today, and not completely cleaned up from! Regardless, it made for a great ski and some awesome visuals.

Christmas Eve Ski Pics

After that nice ski, it was back home to have a great feast, which consisted of a roast beef supper and all the fixings. Once we had eaten our fill, we turned our mind to the Christmas gifts under the tree. Rather than wait till the next morning, we adopted the Swiss tradition of opening presents on Christmas Eve. Not only that, but we also had the candles on the tree which I lit for everyone to get a sense of that other Swiss tradition. To me, it isn’t Christmas until I’m sitting in a darkened room with only the flickering of candles on a tree to put me in the mood. A few moments of quiet reflection for everyone before the gift distribution got underway.

Once again, we had done our best to keep things reasonable as far as gift exchanges go. After all, we have to save up quite a bit of moolah this year to pay for trips to Denver, our honeymoon to Bhutan, not to mention the actual wedding itself! As tempting as it is to spend spend spend, we’re trying to be a little thrifty. However, that didn’t stop Deanna from buying me what was probably the most unique gift I have received for Christmas. Beer. However, not just any beer. Westvleteren XII, rated as one of the rarest, and one of the best beers in the world. Deanna had braved long lines and limited availability earlier that month to secure a 6-pack for yours truly. Admittedly, I have yet to even sample the beer, but have some ideas on which occasions may be appropriate to try one out 🙂

All in all, it was a great Christmas spent with family. Although we didn’t get to see any of my family over the holidays, we had funny and interesting chats with my Swiss relatives over Skype, as we toasted glasses of Roetli (a local aperitif only available in Switzerland – we’d taken a bottle home while on vacation) across two different continents. We also had some good video chatting with my Dad and Nicole out East, so it did feel like we spent some time with everyone. Prior to the weekend, we’d also had my sister and her family over for a meal and gift exchange. Suffice to say, the love was felt over the holidays from family, and we felt lucky to have such a great group of family and friends to celebrate with.

On account of even more snowstorm warnings, our company left a day early by heading out boxing day evening after an early supper. With the house once again to ourselves, we started making plans for heading back outdoors over the weekend and the extra day off for New Years. We made no specific plans for January 1st, instead opting to have a quiet night in with a big bowl of popcorn and bottle of white wine. This is of course a far cry from some of the years gone by, but with everyone getting a bit more ‘mature’, and many young families, the big parties don’t just seem to materialize, but that’s okay. Instead of a NYE party, we instead headed out on January 1st to Dave and Meghan’s house for a levee, which was very well-attended, giving us a chance to ring in the new year and catch up with a lot of friends we hadn’t seen in a while. I’m guessing this will be the new trend. Brunches and levees on January 1st rather than rip-roaring parties on New Year’s Eve. My, how the times have changed :-). However, I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for the life I have now! I hope you and yours all had a great holiday season, and wish you all the best in 2013.

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