1 - My Eye Candy Thursday Thirteen series will continue in February. I do hope you'll join me again to savor and enjoy.
This week I'd like to share some highlights from my holiday celebrations. They began early with my writers' group Christmas potluck at the end of November.
That's my cousin Julianne MacLean with me above, and below:
Back row - Deborah Hale, Heather D. Veinotte
Front row - moi, Kelly Boyce, Heidi and Pat
2 - At the beginning of December, my sister and I held our annual Christmas Lights party, which always begins with mugs of whisky or wine, some Frank Sinatra playing on the CD player out on the front steps, the tangled mysteries of the light cords and it all working out somehow at the end.
3 - In mid-December, my office held its annual Christmas luncheon, including entertainments concocted by each department. I wrote a new version of Twas the Night Before Christmas, featuring the folks with whom I work, and my team stepped up to the mic to recite it in turns.
That's my work friend Kelly with me above - she's the one who first went to the acupuncturist who has helped me so radically with my chronic pain issues. Thanks, Kelly!
4 - The day after my work party, my husband and I climbed aboard the Acadian Lines bus bound for Toronto. With more time than money, we travelled 26 hours straight, changing buses in Moncton, New Brunswick and Montreal, Quebec before rolling into Toronto Saturday afternoon. We hit two bad patches of snow which were hard driving for the bus drivers, but they took it in stride and got us home safe and sound.
Believe it or not, our all-day-all-night-all-morning bus ride used less fuel than the two-hour flight we took home at the end of our vacation. For people interested in leaving lower carbon footprints upon Mother Earth, food for thought.
5 - The first week of our vacation was mainly spent with the Smith family. Brad is a Toronto boy, born and bred. His family and his lifelong friends are all in Ontario, so he was a very, very happy guy this Christmas. And do they ever miss their Brad!
We went out to a Thai restaurant along the Lakeshore, just down from his mom's place, where we were staying. His sister corralled eight of us for the dinner so we could visit with our neice Emily, shown on the couch at right, who was due to head for the states to spend the holidays with her sister and brother and their families.
L to R: my sister-in-law Violetta, her daughter Pamela and Violetta's step-daughter Emily
6 - An intensely joyous afternoon was spent with my blog friends, writer Wylie Kinson, left, (whom I met on a previous trip to Toronto) and blogger Apprentice Writer, center, (whom I met for the first time In Real Life that day!) Four hours dissolved into thin air as we ate and talked and laughed and had a wonderful time together.
7 - Brad and I met up with with his dear friend Lisa and their mutual friend Ted Heeley - all of whom used to work at the Imperial 6 Cinemas together - and had a marvelous afternoon wandering along Yonge Street.
Brad and I spent as much time downtown as we could manage. We love it there.
8 - My favorite night of the year - Christmas Eve! We spent it at Brad's brother Jeff's place in Oakville.
At top: Violetta, Jeff, moi and Brad
2nd shot: Pamela, Violetta, Brad's sister Karen and Jeff
3rd shot: Christmas Eve dinner, clockwise from Pamela, Jeff, Karen, Brad's mom Joan, moi and Brad
4th shot: chillaxin' and watching Breakfast at Tiffany's
9 - Christmas Day at his mom's place, where we spent our vacation.
Dinner, clockwise from our nephew Francis, our sister-in-law Anna, our suddenly huge nephew Peter, Brad's brother Ken, Brad, Jeff and his step-daughter Pamela
Opening prezzies: Ken, Peter, Francis, Jeff, Violetta and Pamela
Ken carting off his son Francis
10 - We were so blessed to enjoy time with so many friends whom we miss dearly.
1st shot - Charlene Roberts, Chris Szego and moi
2nd shot - Brad and his New School of Acting classmate Andrea, who stood up for him at our wedding
3rd shot - Moi with my former co-workers (we all worked as ushers at the O'Keefe Center/Hummingbird Centre): Alan, his wife Marianne and their daughter
4th shot - My former co-worker Lisa, who survived the trenches of the Simpson's Children's Shoe Department at the Queen Street store with me
5th shot - Moi with Donna, whose daughter I cared for as a live-in nanny (the daughter now having a master's degree with distinction...)
11 - As you can imagine, an afternoon of bliss was mine when I attended The National Ballet of Canada's performance of The Nutcracker. As an usher at the theatre that was their home for 40 years, I got to see over 70 shows of this Christmas ballet - but do you think I will ever tire of it?
Of course not.
12 - We had a lot of karaoke this New Year's! Brad's brother Jeff is a karaoke DJ, and their sister Karen holds an annual karaoke party at her place for the holidays which we enjoyed - we stayed for six hours!
1st shot - My mother-in-law's Uncle Danny, mid-90's, grabbing the mic and going for broke
2nd shot - My wonderful sister-in-law, Violetta
3rd shot - Brad singing Conquistador
4th shot - Jeff taking the mic, with his beautiful voice and incredible range
5th shot - Violetta makes sure her mother-in-law gets a chance to shine
6th shot - Party hostess Karen and her sister-in-law, Violetta
13 - New Year's all-nighter and leaving on a jet plane:
1st shot - Brad and me joining his brother for his New Year's Eve show on the Lakeshore, trying to stretch time so we can stay in Toronto just a little longer
2nd shot - I head up to sing I Think I'm Paranoid
3rd shot - Violetta and me
4th shot - Brad joining me as I sing Chains by The Beatles
5th shot - After having a coffee with Jeff, he dropped us off at the airport. Brad waits to embark.
6th shot - Our plane ride home, a completely decadent gift from my best friend on Earth, Connie. Her devious plan: to make sure we headed back to Halifax...