Ok before anyone gets confused on calendars and weeks here is the 4-1-1 from epochconverter.com.
Week 53 is from Monday December 28, 2015 until (and including) Sunday January 3, 2016. Week number according to the ISO-8601 standard, weeks starting on Monday. The first week of the year is the week that contains that year’s first Thursday (First 4-day week). So there is our explanation. Are you getting paid for a 53 week work year? Hmmm
What a busy week! On Christmas Eve, Emma, Olivia, Liam and Geoff came over for supper and a visit. We had tourtiere and salad for supper. We played a trivia board game called “bezzerwizzer” and hung out for a few hours visiting. We had a great visit but we broke it up so Santa would have time to plant some gifts under the tree and fill our stockings.
On Christmas morning we got up a little later than usual, made some coffee and peeked into our stockings to catch a glimpse of some small gifts Santa had left for us. Lori’s parent Marge and Gabe arrived about the same time as we got our first cup of java and very shortly after that Emma, Olivia and Liam arrived. The whole gang was here. We all grabbed our coffee, or reloaded our coffee and got a seat in the living room. I like to hand out one and sometimes two gifts at the most, at any given time. This gives everyone an opportunity to see what the others received and to see the facial expressions that accompany the opening. It also makes the morning last a little longer than if we were having a free for all.
I thought I had picked this “tradition” up from my father but my oldest sister, MJ, told me it was far crazier at Christmas, opening the gifts, when we were just kids growing up, in Fort Saint John. So now I have no idea where I got this method of handing out one gift at a time. I actually don’t remember too many Christmases from my childhood. I do remember one year dad made us all line up, from shortest to tallest, outside the living room and we could see nothing in the living room because dad had tacked an old grey blanket across the entrance way . When we had all lined up according to our heights and we had stopped fidgeting and pushing and fighting he took the blanket down and let us in to see the work Santa had done. Back in my living room now, we handed out gifts and I try to do it so we don’t go back to back on one person but try to spread it out so everyone gets a gift before we go back to the first person. I’m confident we were all spoiled a little bit. It was a good morning. The kids gave me a wet shave kit and all the gear. A really nice black handle razor and a black handle shaving cream brush. I’ve been looking at this stuff for a couple of years but never pulled the trigger. I’m glad the kids did it for me. I already shaved with it once, on Boxing Day, and there was no blood at all. It was a successful shave!! I haven’t used it more because I’m on break from the office and I am not shaving. I am protesting shaving. I also got a book of John Lennon’s collected artwork from the kids. This book has some really great drawings and hand written song lyrics from John’s childhood days as far back as pre-school up until his death
My very good friend Raf K. gave me a book titled “Not Fade Away” and it had a kind message inscribed. I will definitely give a more detailed review of the book when I’m done. I just finished chapter 5 last night. The subtitle of the book is “A Short Life Well Lived”.
Marge and Gabe headed out and over to my sister-in-law’s for supper. Emma, Olivia and Liam headed back to their mothers to open gifts and to have supper with her. Geoff went to Julia’s folks place for supper and Lori and I went to Mary Jane’s for Christmas supper where there were about 16 of us. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and all the trimmings. Oh and Pawel brought perogies that his mother made. I need more of those. The cheese ones!
MJ sent us home with Christmas cakes and Debbie gave me a very cool metal work picture of the Dingman #1 well which was the first successful well drilled in Turner Valley, Alberta. This was long before Alberta became the oil province it is today. When my father left the RCN at the end of World War 2 he moved to Turner Valley to work in the oil industry. It wasn’t until the mid 50’s that he moved the family up north to Fort Saint John, BC to work at the new refinery in Taylor BC, 12 miles south of Fort Saint John. The artwork Debbie gave me is a replica of the picture you will see when you follow the Dingman link.
On Boxing Day we were off to Marge and Gabe’s for supper. A terrific feast anchored by a roast of beef! I would have eaten more if I could have eaten more but I was full; although I did manage to eat a slice of lemon meringue pie.
The rest of the week was just chillin and going to the dog park ,hanging out and getting small things done.
I had some time to think about Christmases past and I don’t recall many occasions or situations. No bad times; no good times. I suspect it just has a lot to do with Christmas being different when I was a kid in the sense there were no big malls or such overt commercialism. Don’t get me wrong. I very much enjoy the Christmases of today. The time with my family is priceless and the older I get the more important these moments are to me. My parents really never had any money so there’s no big ass old memory of some fantastic gift or vacation. Not that gifting is everything but there just wasn’t many. I don’t recall traditions or habits that we did as a family. There was Church, but as a Catholics that had just become another event to dread, not something to look forward to. So I imagine I was just like any other kid in Fort Saint John, playing road hockey 12 hours a day and being thankful to not be in school! We weren’t poor. At least I don’t think we were. There was just never any “extra” money around the house. I don’t have any Christmas photos from those days either to jog my memory whereas today I insure there are many photos. I do remember one time my father took me to the Rexall drug store downtown on Main Street, beside the Fort Hotel, so I could buy my mother a gift. It seems to me I was about 5 or 6 years old at that time. I searched the aisles and finally settled on what was bound to be her best Christmas present that year and possibly the best Christmas present she would ever receive. It was a candle. A candle in a red glass, cone shaped, cylinder. I don’t remember my mother’s reaction but I am sure she admired that candle just enough to make me feel like I had accomplished the job of getting her the best present ever. I reckon that since I can recall a few good moments it isn’t so awful that I do not remember more. Have you maintained some Christmas traditions? Have you started new ones?
Christmas 2015 is in the books now but the giving doesn’t have to stop. Locally there are so many good places to do some giving and in this very harsh economy all the charities in Calgary could use some help if you can give some to them. I not only give locally to a couple of charities in the city I also give globally. One is to Friends of Haiti (Canada), where I am helping a young man get an education. It doesn’t take a lot to put someone through school in Haiti but it’s too much money for them. It’s a very poor country but you can put a kid through school for $30 for a full year. You can put someone through University for about $400 a year. Let me know if you’re interested because my wife is on the Board and I can send you a e-pamphlet. 98% of all money goes directly to the recipient in Haiti. I also give to Canadian Humanitarian and I make micro loans through Kiva. I have been lending money through Kiva for four years now and I have been repaid 100% of the time. Through Kiva I have basically been cycling the same $300 for the four years I have been active. I lend it. It gets paid back. I lend it again. Check these charities out but please don’t forget to help at home too.
Tonight Lori and I will celebrate New Year’s Eve by taking in the hockey game. The Calgary Flames versus the Los Angeles Kings to celebrate the New Year! The Flames set an all time team record on the 27th by winning their 11th consecutive home game. That’s where it ended though as they let the Anaheim Ducks win one. The hockey game is my speed for a New Years Eve celebration. As an ex-drinker I always considered New Years Eve to be amateur hour and I stayed home safe from the messes….oops, I mean masses.
I hope your Christmas was a memorable one and here is to 2016! May the price of a barrel of oil stay above the price of a case of beer…..
The song this week is from The Felice Brothers titled Frankie’s Gun
The quote this week is a quote I have taken from a blog I follow. The blog is www.mitchteemley.com
“When suffering comes,we yearn for some sign from God , forgetting we have just had one”
That’s it….hope to see you next week…..