My Christmas Week:
December 24: Christmas Eve Day – I took the Via Rail train from London to Windsor. I arrived in Windsor around noon. I had not seen my sister Kathryn since last Christmas. Kathryn is in her 4th year of her PhD program at the University of Oxford in England. I was happy to reunite with Kathryn.
Mom hosted Christmas Eve dinner. My Nana Jean, Aunt Jan, Uncle Rod, cousin Laura, her husband Andrew, their 3-year-old Jane, cousin Beth, her husband Sean, their 3-year-old Luca, their 9-month-old Max, cousin Mark and his husband Kris, Aunt Barb and her husband Peter joined Mom, Bruce, Kathryn and I.
I haven’t seen Laura, Andrew and Jane since last Christmas. Laura and Andrew are visual art professors at Nipissing University in North Bay. Jane is super adorable. I haven’t seen Beth, Sean, Luca and Max since Easter, just shortly after Max was born. Max is a very good baby. Luca says hilarious things all the time.
After dinner, most people went home or to church. Mom, Nana, Bruce, Kathryn and I began opening our Christmas presents. Kathryn and I really appreciate getting money for Christmas, so that is what our parents and grandmother gave us. Mom and Bruce went to Hawaii back in November and I haven’t seen my parents since October, so they gave me my presents from Hawaii, too. Since I am a music/drama/dance teacher, Mom and I have been collecting rhythm instruments for me for years. Whenever Mom goes on vacation, she tries to buy me an instrument or two. Mom bought me a coconut instrument from Hawaii that has metal prongs that make sounds. She also bought me “Hawaiian dancing sticks,” 2-foot long wooden sticks that dancers dance with by hitting their arms and legs and backs while being accompanied by Hawaiian music. Mom demonstrated for Nana, Kathryn, Bruce, Birkly and I. She sang her own song, too. I was very amused by Birkly’s stunned expression. Kathryn videoed Mom with her dancing and singing. When Mark, Kris, Aunt Barb and Uncle Peter returned later, I had Mom give them an encore performance.
I usually take photos during Christmastime of my family, but I didn’t get around to it unfortunately. I did get one good photo of Nana while we were opening our presents.
December 25: Christmas Day – My Aunt Jan hosted Christmas Day dinner at her and Uncle Rod’s new house in LaSalle. Kathryn and I had never been to their new house. It is really beautiful. Again, I didn’t take many photos, but after dinner, I took some pictures of Kathryn by the Christmas tree downstairs.
Before leaving, I took a series of photos of 3-year-old Jane.
Aunt Jan and Uncle Rod have a Yorkshire Terrier named Beaker. Beaker is so cute! Beth and Sean have a West Highland Terrier named Baxter. Baxter is adorable, too. I’ve only met Baxter once before, four Christmases ago. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos of Baxter. I like this photo of Nana, Beaker and Uncle Rod:
Aunt Jan’s upstairs Christmas Tree:
December 26: Boxing Day – My family (Mom, Bruce, Kathryn and I) went to see the movie “Les Misérables.” Les Misérables is my favourite musical. Our entire family loves Les Misérables. We’ve all been eagerly awaiting its release in the movie theatres.
I would highly recommending seeing Les Misérables. It is my new favourite movie. Hugh Jackman is perfection as Jean Valjean. Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Fantine was very moving. I was very impressed with Eddie Redmayne, who played Marius. He has a beautiful singing voice. Amanda Seyfried as Cosette performed beautifully. I loved Young Cosette, played by the adorable Isabelle Allen. Her singing of “Castle on a Cloud” was lovely. One of my favourite scenes was when Eponine, played by Samantha Barks, sang “On My Own.” Les Misérables has been nominated for Golden Globes – Hugh Jackman for best actor in a leading role (comedy or musical), Anne Hathaway for best actress in a a supporting role, as well as Best Picture (comedy or musical) and Best Original Song for “Suddenly.”
December 27: I visited my father David, stepmother Jan and half-brother Adam. Jan and Dad got us wonderful pizza toppings and we made our own pizzas. I made a vegan pizza with vegan cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, green, yellow, orange and red pepper, artichokes and eggplant.
Jan and Dad gave me Christmas money, plus a lovely scarf and cute pink slippers that go up one’s legs like socks.
Jan and Dad always get a real Christmas tree every year.
December 28: My Great-Aunt Evelyn, Nana’s sister, lives in San Francisco, California. She usually visits our family and stays with Nana at Christmastime. She arrived today so Mom invited Nana and Aunt Evelyn to join us for Christmas. Aunt Evelyn’s birthday was December 20 and Nana’s 93rd birthday is January 11, so Mom got presents for them. Nana and Aunt Evelyn both like crossword puzzles so Mom got them several puzzle books for their birthdays.
December 29: I usually only see my father David and stepmother Jan once or twice a year. On Thursday night, Jan and I talked about getting together on Saturday, just the two of us. In the morning, we went to Devonshire Mall together. She had errands to do, so I decided to hang out at Chapters, my favourite bookstore. I ended up discovering an interesting creative book called “My Happy Book.” It has different writing and art exercises in it that you can complete right inside the book, like a journal. It was discounted to $5, so I treated myself! I hope to work through the book and post the activities on my blog.
Jan and I went to the Starbucks next to Chapters. Jan treated me to a hot chocolate made with soy milk. We tried to catch up on everything that had happened since the beginning of September, the last time we talked. Jan is a good listener.
In the afternoon, I went my Nana’s house (three doors down from my parents’ house). Nana, my Aunt Evelyn and I watched the first episode of season one of Downton Abbey, the period drama that takes place in 1912 in England. I have never watched it and I had heard that it is a very popular show. My favourite talk show is Anderson Live and Anderson Cooper recently interviewed five of the cast members of Downton Abbey.
My mother Susan, stepfather Bruce and I went to see the movie “Guilt Trip” starring Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogen. The movie is about a mother accompanying her son on a cross-country business trip. We then saw the movie “Parental Guidance” starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, who were grandparents who baby-sat their three grandchildren for a week.
December 30: My mother Susan agreed to see the movie “Les Misérables” with me again in the afternoon. We both loved it again. It is my new favourite movie. I think that is the best movie ever produced!
For dinner, I made a vegan pizza using the left-over ingredients that Jan and Dad had given me from the 27th. It turned out really well. I shared it with Mom and even Bruce had a little piece.
December 31: I wanted to write one final blog post in 2012. I am disappointed in myself that I have not been writing more frequent posts. In the past, I was writing posts much more often, sometimes even once per week. This entire year, I have been struggling to find the time and motivation to create posts. I hope that in 2013, I can make time to post at least twice a month.
I watched season one episode two and three of Downtown Abbey with Nana and Aunt Evelyn in the afternoon. I’m frustrated with myself for having missed the first two years of the show!
For dinner, Mom and I made our own pizzas. Mom, Bruce and I each had our own pizza. On my pizza, I put vegan cheese, peppers and portabella mushrooms. It was very good. While I was waiting to eat my pizza, I made up my own version of the song “Master of the House” from Les Misérables, inspired by my family’s Cairn Terrier Birkly.
“Birkly of the house
Will not eat his food.
Wants to eat some pizza
‘Cause he’s not a stupid dude.
All day long he dreams of good food.
Refusing to eat his guck.
There’s extra food on holidays.
Maybe some will come his way.
Let’s wish this doggie luck!”
*For the last five days, I have been playing a word game on my Mom’s iPad called “XO Letters.” It is very similar to Boggle, one of my favourite games. There is a letter grid four letters across and four letters down filled with random letters. The object is to create as many words as possible within the time frame (3 or 4 minutes). I haven’t played Boggle in almost a year, so it took a few turns to get back into it, but I’ve been making progress. I’ve gotten a record of 52 points (1 point for 3 or 4 letter words, 2 points for 5 letter words). Other high scores of mine have been 47 points, 44 points and 42 points twice.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!