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This year we did something that we’ve talked about for a long time. We volunteered on Christmas Day at a local event bringing people together for Christmas dinner. In fact we helped out Christmas Eve as well. It’s probably one of the best Christmases I’ve had as far as getting in the Christmas spirit.  On Christmas Eve we helped bring over necessary supplies from a storage area, rolled cutlery in serviettes and prepped the upstairs for the big day.

I almost forgot to mention … the location … it was the Carleton Tavern. The coordinators seemed impressed enough with us that we were offered positions for the big day. I was on Maitre D duties and NosyNeighbour was on dessert tray prep. There were a lot of desserts. Apart from the cranberry pecan tarts, gingerbread and shortbread cookies I’d donated, there were loads of desserts donated from local restaurants, grocery stores and bakeries. Local residents also dropped off homebaked goodies.

The tavern’s dinner is really well organized. Each guest is seated, then someone comes by with cold drinks. Then their hot food (turkey, ham, tortiere, mashed potatoes, vegetable medley, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce) is brought to the table. They even had a vegan option donated by a local Indian restaurant! A selection of desserts, plus tea and coffee are also brought around to the tables. But the biggest transformation was the tablecloths. Real ones. Not plastic or paper.

Every guest received a gift from Santa. Some of them would have received a gift card (we donated $140 worth following a fundraising get together). It was amazing to watch how the gift coordinator sized up the guest, then texted upstairs to Santa’s helpers. Teenagers went up and down the stairs all day bringing gift bags with goodies for each guest. There were so many desserts, we started encouraging guests to take a box home with them.

Being a Maitre D allowed me to meet a lot of people. It was really touching to see children’s eyes light up when they saw Mr. and Mrs. Claus, who were beside me near the door for a while. And it was amazing to see people’s faces light up when you smiled, really smiled, and wished them a Merry Christmas. The next time I have to be a subject in the photo studio at school, that’s what I’m going to think about. Because I smiled for my whole shift and didn’t feel fake once.

Ah …  a Christmas to remember for the right reasons. And now on to the neighbourhood updates:


I had to go back to the Post Office today so thought I’d provide a bit of a neighbourhood update on what I saw on my walk there and back. Following our 15 cm snowfall on the weekend, the city has been very slow to clean it all up. I suspect they hoped it would get milder (but it hasn’t) and then just thought they could put it off until next year to get access to the new budget.

I’m not sure whether they contract out the sidewalk clean up after the first pass. But I saw something very sad just outside the Rexall at Wellington and Parkdale. Sorry, but it was too darn cold to take out a camera or cell phone for a pic. The  trees the city planted a few years ago following the major overhaul of Wellington aren’t the best looking and don’t provide a lot of shade. In fact, as they started to grow I thought they were a bit of a nuisance, with their branches whacking my face on windy days. But I still like them. And now we have one less. I don’t know how the snowplow or bobcat operator could have missed it. It’s trunk was small but its branches reached up for at least 20 feet. And there it lay on the sidewalk, its trunk twisted open like a femur break. If it’s a contractor that did it, I hope they have to pay to replace it. And could we have an upgrade? Maybe a maple tree?

Also on my walk (again, sorry, no pic) I noticed that Destination Hair’s building has finally been sold. No idea of what’s going in it yet, but I will keep an eye out for trucks and signs in the coming weeks.

And now to the that of the this and that post. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I was heading to the post office. Every year I make a calendar of the best photos of our cat and give them to the cat lovers in our lives. Plans to get a calendar to Nova Scotia fell through so I was left to visit Canada Post to get it there. Ordering 10 calendars through Apple cost $9.99 in shipping from the U.S. Sending one calendar within Canada through Canada Post cost $10.92 plus tax and a fuel surcharge. Really???? He said it was my fault because if the calendar had been half an inch smaller it would have been letter mail. Funny how we could ship two suitcases through Deutschepost for less money and they were delivered in two days. My calendar is not guaranteed delivery before Christmas. That would have been another $4.

That’s this and that for today. Bundle up, it’s cold out there!

I know, I know, it’s been a while since I posted. We did actually take part in the Plaid Parade. It was fun getting together with other cyclists dressed in their best plaid. And there were some interesting bikes too.

Today I took a stroll around Westboro. I figure with freezing rain on the way overnight, today is the day to walk to pick up coffee and a few groceries for Christmas baking. On my walk, I noticed two things:

1. the low rise mall that includes the DQ and the Piggy Market is boarded up for renovations. The DQ is still open, but I believe the Market is closed or will be closing for a few months for its renovations.

2. the former Carbon Computing location had new things in its window. A pop up gallery will take it over from December 5 to 22. Artists include Andrew King, Alison Fowler, Katherine Jeans, Eryn O’Neill and David Lidbetter. Hours are Monday to Wednesday noon to six andThursday to Saturday noon to five.

I wonder if they’re looking for an upcoming photography with shots of the neighbourhood?


December 2013
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