Monday, December 13, 2010

A very, very simple Christmas this year.

It appears by the amount of crafting I've been getting done these days that I'm not giving many handmade gifts. At present I have one half of a car mat for my nephew made, an idea for a quick gift for my niece and that's about it. I don't even have the calender photos picked out for the grandparents, and my "ships by Christmas" date is fast approaching.

I am having a bit of an inferiority complex these days, reading along with all my favorite crafty mama bloggers. They are showing off their hand-made wreaths and their five sweaters and their delicious baking. I have baked one batch of cookies. I have plans for one or two more, but that's about it. Andrew's teachers and bus driver are getting . . . cookies. The boys are getting legos purchased with money mostly from their grandparents. Dave wants the new U2 cd and will probably get a fun magazine as well. The grandparents will get photos of the grandkids. And I think that's about it. I don't have any decorations up. We will get a tree, but we have a one year old in the house, so its not going to be a beautifully decorated blog-worthy tree because its going to be one of those all-the-breakable-things-at-the-top Christmas tree years. And that's all the Christmas we're doing, folks.

This brings me to a funny thought about Christmas. I am forever reading about how to have a simple Christmas in 49 easy steps outlined in 25 blog posts that you must read over the next two months. But a really simple, essential Christmas around here contains: cookies, tree, presents, turkey, the end.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Snow in the City

We had quite a dump of snow in the last few days. There was 30 cm or more, I'm sure, and it was blowing everywhere. The funny thing about snow in Montreal, as opposed to snow in Melfort, is that there's no place to put it. I had the unenviable task of shovelling us out while Dave was sick in bed, and I found myself wondering where to put the snow. We have our tenant's car in the driveway, our car on a cement pad that would otherwise be our front yard, our basement tenant's door and windows along the sides of the house, and our neighbour needs the path clear to his back fence because they run a home daycare and the kids go in and out the back door.

So, I and all the other neighbours put the snow on the road in front of our houses. This causes problems of its own, since usually the street has cars parked in every available space. This means that people who don't have a driveway are having to park farther away. I would hate to have to park on the road right now because the snow plows are just pushing the snow off the road right now and blocking in the parked cars and everyone's driveways.

The sidewalks are not all cleared yet, either, so when I walked to my tutoring job, I simply walked down the side of the road. I was thinking it would have been a lot faster if I had cross country skis. I could have simply skied along the bike path on the edge of the street.

One of my tutoring students is from Iran, and his brother was grumpy because there was snow and the schools weren't closed. His mother, apparently, said, "Its Canada, why do you think they would close the schools?".

One of the funny things about Canada, is that in every part of the country people are proud of their winters. If you happen to mention that the winter is worse somewhere else, all the locals will argue with you and explain why their winter is worse. "Sure, its not technically as cold, but its a DAMP cold" is the favorite here and in Southern Ontario. In B.C., where there are only about 4 or 5 days of snow except for one big dump every 5 years or so, people say, "Yes, but when it does snow its terrible because no one has snow tires" (which is true. People drive right off the perfectly straight highway when its windy and there's snow). In Saskatchewan they don't need to tell you how bad the winters are. Prairie winters are infamous, and they simply tell you to "Wait until you've been through one."

I must say that I was excited to see the snow. I love the sound dampening effect of snow, especially in the city. No matter where I am in Canada, snow is still snow. The cast of the light reflected off the snowflakes, the quality of sharp, cold damp in the air and the strange mixture of damp and dryness of the snow on my clothes never changes. Wherever I am in Canada, snow still feels like home to me.