Archive for the ‘christmas’ Category

Big Gramma turns 100!

January 3, 2007

[Update: Evelyn and the clan made the evening newscast! Click here to check it out. Also make sure to see our little one tap dancing at around the 1 minute mark!!]

My wife’s grandmother turns 100 today! Up until about 7 months ago, she was still living on her own in her own house, and up until a few years ago, was shovelling her own snow (until neighbours and family finally gave her enough guff about it to stop). My esteemed brother-in-law, who posts far too infrequently, but is never short of words when he does, gives a nice summary of the wonderful lady right here. If you’d like to leave good wishes, head over there and comment.

If there’s one thing I treasure about Evelyn, it is her sense of humour. While as prim and proper as you’d ever want while out socializing, she could always be trusted to trade crude humour with yours truly.

A few of the wonderfully naughty sayings (mostly Welsh in origin I’d imagine) that she’s taught me over the years:

1. She was like shit to a blanket. (describing a whining needy child)
2. He couldn’t drive a stiff dick into a tub of lard.
3. Short and thick does the trick, but long and thin will get it in.
4. It was so long that you could wrap it around and make a jug-handle out of it.

Ev’s had some trouble with the hearing aids lately, and has moved into a retirement home in the last few months, but she’s still pretty mobile. And as frail as she might be getting, her spirit is still fully intact.

Watching her enjoy a healthy shot of Baileys while we opened gifts during the holidays was truly a wonderful thing.

Hope everyone had a wonderful past couple of weeks too.

My Christmas Battle 2006

December 29, 2006

Sitting here nimbly typing away, I notice my fingers slightly trembling. I’ve developed a subtle but unmistakable throbbing in the back of my head, just above the nape of my neck. I’m also noticing a discrete nerve causing an intermittent twitch under my left eye.

Too much Christmas cider? Nah, can’t stand the stuff. Too much coffee? Nah, can never get enough.

What I am describing is much more hideous than that. It is the result of the parent-hating, sadist who thought up the idea of the 15,000 piece bead kit (and my in-laws who decided to buy it for my daughter).

Sure, it looks like a great idea. Heck, I’m no crafty crafter, but some beads and string matched up with an almost 5 year old seems like a safe bet… Just don’t try to unpack it.

The box it came in has a nice clear front panel that displays all 15,000 beads (it might as well be 150,000,000) in neat little compartmentalized cavities. My in-laws had the awesome idea of giving us a small plastic Rubbermaid-type 4-drawer cabinet along with it to keep little one organized.

The transfer of beads from original package to 4-drawer plasti-chest proves my undoing. Of course the large bead thingys are a piece of cake. Being the engineer I am, I sat and scratched my chin for a moment before getting a small teaspoon to aid in the material transfer operation. Making great strides with the compartments containing larger beads, I thought pretty highly of myself.

Did you know that they can make beads that are almost microscopic in size? Did you know that square shaped compartments made of thin vacuum formed plastic can act as minature trampoline-like launchpads for said tiny beads?

With every slight snap of the oil-canning compartment bottoms (think the bottom of the classic Trouble board game’s pop-o-matic bubble), came the shower of untold hundreds of micro-beads. With every dip of the spoon, every surgically gentle extraction attempt, came flying micro beads.

Every flying bead took with it a shred of my dignity and a whole whack of my patience.

Ninety minutes later, the transfer is done (unbeknownst to my daughter, at least 200 micro-beads remained in the package and were headed for the trash) and we are stringing beads.

One final humiliating realization came to me while trying to thread some of the smaller beads. Daddy needs glasses.


It’s Over… or at least partially…

December 27, 2006

Hopefully everyone enjoyed (or is still enjoying) their holiday time. Myself, I feel kinda relieved it’s over once again for another year. It’s such a mad rush at the end of the year. As you can see from the photo above, our dog Jessie was as beat as we were by the end of it all.

It’s not completely over since our little one has her birthday a couple of days from now and New Years is just next weekend. If holidays are supposed to be restful, then these don’t qualify as holidays.

Among the nice shirts, belts and ties, I snagged a nice gift certificate to a local camera store. Right now it’s a toss-up between a new lens and a new printer. I’ve been pining for the Epson R800 printer for over a year now, but the price never seems to drop ($449-499 CDN). I feel guilty for paying that much for an inkjet, although I have seen the output and it is quite nice.

So it may be that I’m leaning towards a Canon 85mm f1.8 lens. It’s a little more than the printer, but it’s fast and relatively cheap. On my 350D it will work like a 135mm lens and since I love available light photography (witness most of my nicer photographs) that nice wide aperture is very very appealing. So we’ll see in a few days if I change my mind.

For now, my absolute favourite shooting is done with the 50mm f1.8 cheapy that I bought a while back. While you still have to fight with moving subjects under typical indoor lighting, sleeping dogs turn out rather well. 🙂

Christmas Recon Mission – Circa 1981

December 6, 2006

Talk about your tough love. Makes you wonder why people complain about wasted tax dollars and court resources..

Some of you will hate me for this, but what the hey…

I clearly remember sneaking into my parent’s closet on several occasions during mid to late Decembers of years gone by. If the coast was clear, I would look for the presents with my name on them (opening my brother’s gifts would clearly be immoral!). Boxes were evaluated not by size, but by heft – a much better indicator of the potential cool-ness of a gift. A quick scan of the taping method and a couple of deft razor blade slices later (my Dad still uses a Wilkinson double-edger by the way) I was in.

Of course I never actually played with the toys. I would open them up just enough to see what they were. After that I was perfectly content to wait until Christmas morning to get them. And I never went through them all. One or two of the heftiest was enough to satisfy me. And it wasn’t always smiles and sunshine. It could be Stretch Armstrong, it could be a pair of shoes, you spin the wheel, you takes your chances.

Did it ruin Christmas morning for me? Nah. The excitement was still there. I didn’t have to feign the enthusiasm, nor the excitement – only a little bit of surprise. And besides, the greatest parents in the world (my parents – in case you didn’t know) weren’t idiots and I was no world class cat burglar. I’m sure they knew what I was doing – at least had some clue – because there always seemed to be the one or two “awesome” presents at Christmas that I never ever saw coming.

Would you have called the cops? Heh.