onefixedstar: (xmas)
Of my four siblings, three have birthdays in December. When we were kids, this provided a great build-up to Christmas. The first birthday marked the beginning of the holiday season--and was usually accompanied by the decorating of the tree--and after that we had parties and cake and gifts nearly every weekend, leading up to the grand finale on Christmas Day. Of course, it also made my birthday in early January seem rather anticlimactic. Looking back, I pity my poor parents: four birthdays and Christmas in six weeks must have been awfully expensive. I also admire my mother's determination to see to it that we each got a separate and complete birthday celebration, with our own birthday cake and birthday presents wrapped in birthday paper. (Rather ironically, my youngest brother--who had the good sense to be born in late March, well away from the holiday season--is the only one who does not get a complete and separate birthday celebration every year. He shares his birthday with our father.)

Today is the last pre-Christmas sibling birthday, which means that Christmas is almost here. I think I'm actually ready. I finished my Christmas shopping yesterday, save for the one gift that was ordered online with the guarantee that it would be here by today, and which hasn't shown up yet. (I'm still hoping my empty mailbox means that the mail delivery is late today, and not that it's come and gone with not gift in sight.) I made truffles yesterday to take up to my parents' house on Christmas Eve (if I don't eat them first). I've mostly finished cleaning the apartment for the guests who will be staying here while I'm gone. Only a few more things are left on the errand list. Today and tomorrow are for marking exams and doing the final bit of cleaning, tonight is for dinner with the brother who lives far, far away, and Sunday night I get to hang out with all of my siblings in the same house, something we do far too rarely. I'm looking forward to it.
onefixedstar: (mystery)
I spent Halloween at B's, watching Dawn of the Dead (both the original and the remake), and waiting to hand out candy to the kids. Unfortunately, all of the trick-or-treaters passed us by. It wasn't that they weren't any--we saw several groups stop next door. I guess they just didn't see his place as one to stop at, despite the jack-o-lantern we had sitting on the step. I suspect it might be because his apartment door is right next to the store door, and so people assume the whole house is a commercial property. Oh well--more chocolate for us!
onefixedstar: (mystery)
Two weeks, no update. I'm getting pretty bad at this. Mostly, I think, because I don't feel like I'm doing anything all that interesting right now. I'm kind of in a holding pattern--not really progressing in my work, and trying to figure out how to achieve forward momentum. It's kind of a slog, right now.

Happily, things outside of my work are okay. Thanksgiving with my family last weekend was marvellous. We had about fourteen people in total, which was a nice size for Thanksgiving. My parents have been including some American dishes with Thanksgiving dinner since they returned from living in the States, most notably candied sweet potatoes and green bean casserole. Frankly, I'm rather pleased that green beans have replaced peas on the holiday menu. And the turkey and stuffing and potatoes and rutabaga were all unchanged, so there was enough continuity from childhood to keep me happy.

Last weekend was also the weekend for hanging with my high school friends, mostly for the sake of the one person who still lives out-of-town. (The rest of us have slowly drifted back here in the ten years since we finished high school.) It was a theme party, as all of our recent gatherings have been. The theme this time was Monday Night RAW--everyone brought a raw food dish, and we watched movies featuring wrestlers and former wrestlers. I tried for raw fruit pie, and ended up with something more like raw squares when I discovered that I had no pie plate, and was forced to use a 9x9 pan instead. It turned out reasonably well, though it was better when topped with the vanilla icing-and-cream-cheese fruit dip brought by another party attendee. So much for a healthy dessert. :D
onefixedstar: (mystery)
Happy Canada Day! (Or happy Dominion Day for the old timers.)

I'm not being very Canadian today: no red-and-white clothing, no vacation at a lakeside cottage, no Canadian flag on the balcony, and I was thinking of trying Phil's southern barbeque for supper. And then maybe going to see Superman. Or possibly the fireworks.

Although essentially ignoring Canada Day, I did decide to celebrate summer yesterday by making my first batch of banana granita. The (completely artificial) banana flavour worked quite well, mimicking nicely the (completely artificial) banana flavour we had in Little Italy last week. It's too sweet, however, and the texture was more slushie than granita, so I'm going to try reducing the sugar in the next batch. This time I used a little over 2:1, so next time I'll probably go a little under and see if that helps. I'm also hoping that reducing the sugar will help it freeze faster, because it took about 18 hours with the current mix. (B's currently experimenting by diluting some of the existing slushie-substance with water, so we'll see how that goes too.)

My hard drive suffered some sort of crash last night. Two blue screens of death, and then a long chkdsk which resulted in many repairs of indices and reassigning of orphaned files. And now some programs don't work. I had to uninstall ZoneAlarm because it was blocking all of my browsers and never loading properly so that I could fix things (I plan to reinstall eventually), reinstall some Firefox extensions, and it looks like I'll need to reinstall WinDVD once I find the installation DVDs. Bah! And yet the computer still works, so I can't take it down to be repaired. Yet.

Travel!

Nov. 20th, 2005 02:59 am
onefixedstar: (mystery)
We finally managed to book tickets at a reasonable price where reasonable = less than $1000 total. We're flying to Orlando (and then driving to either Gainesville or Tallahassee) on December 26th, and returning to Toronto on January 5th.

On the minus side, this means I'll be missing out on most of the holiday festivities with friends. On the plus side, even northern Florida is a hell of a lot warmer than Toronto in December/January. I'm actually not sure which B is looking forward to more--seeing his family or the warm weather.

Ottawa

Jul. 5th, 2005 02:58 pm
onefixedstar: (mystery)
B and I went up to Ottawa for Canada Day because he'd never been there and I thought July 1st was the perfect day to introduce him to the city. :D

We didn't actually make it into downtown Ottawa during the day because we opted to drive up that morning, and discovered that getting out of Toronto on the first day of a long weekend is a bit of a challenge. When we finally got there, we were so exhausted that sitting around at my friends' place seemed like a better idea than wandering the streets of the city. It meant fewer opportunities to gaze at attractive, half-naked boys wrapped in Canadian flags (or the impressive sight of the street leading to Parliament Hill packed solidly with people), but it also meant more time my friends and their new baby, which was pretty exciting itself. I hadn't seen them since before she got pregnant, so it was wonderful having a chance to catch up. And we did make it down for the fireworks, which were spectacular from our vantage point behind the Supreme Court.

On Saturday we went out to the market with my friends, met up with [livejournal.com profile] semiotic_trader and [livejournal.com profile] a_just_society for coffee, and then wandered along the canal (with a visit to the new giant spider scupture outside of the National Gallery--the egg sac was a particularly disturbing touch) until we got tired.
onefixedstar: (Default)
B and I are planning to go up to Ottawa on Friday. He's never been, and I thought Canada Day would be a good day to introduce him to the capital of his new country--the sheer number of people out in the streets (painted red and white and wrapped in Canadian flags) is pretty fantastic. (Plus, it will give me a chance to go visit my friends and their new baby.) Of course, in order to justify the trip, I first need to finish at least a rough draft of this unending report for Heritage Canada. So much for the comp I was supposed to write this summer...

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