Mind, Motion & Matter

Running, Essentially . . .

What I did while not running. Holiday Highlights

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With the late start to holiday preparations due to the marathon, I’m feeling that the holiday season came and went a little too fast.  Through this period I interspersed the fun times with the fun of running 40+ mile weeks.  Since my five days of rest following the marathon on December 5th, I’ve run every day.

We were all off between Christmas and January 3rd.  Our son Steven was home from Kitchener-Waterloo where he is an intern at Research in Motion.

Christmas morning

Much of December 24th was spent preparing for our family dinner and we ended our day by attending midnight mass at St. Basil’s church.

Present-ation plus

You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier

Ready to roll

Rolling the chocolate roll

Nearly 7 hours for a 22 pound stuffed bird

Christmas dinner was well enjoyed by all and we gathered round the fireplace, oops, I meant computer to see a slide show put together for grandpa’s birthday celebration.

Watching family slide show

Boxing Day was spent relaxing and eating leftovers including a lot of cocktail shrimp and a melted brie and maple-pecan appetizer. We ate turkey for five days straight.

On the 27th we ventured out with two nieces, a nephew, our son and his girlfriend to see Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, a modern fairy tale, at the Bell Lightbox Theatre.  Afterward we enjoyed snacks at the OB Cafe which is part of the impressive TIFF-Bell Lightbox complex.

Our crew, prepared for the 3-D version of Nightmare Before Christmas with 3-D glasses

Entrance to MOMA exhibit of Tim Burton's oeuvre

Unidentified civil servant still craving sweets despite holiday excesses

Snacks at the OB Cafe on site at Bell Lightbox

We drank a lot of Stumptown Roasters coffee at home and at LIT Espresso Bar on College street. On December 28th I ventured out into the wilds of Boxing week sales with a trip to MEC and Europe Bound. I did not find what I was looking for however did drop into LUSH and took advantage of their sale prices. Apart from the fun atmosphere and great sale at LUSH, I found the shopping expedition vaguely depressing, un-festive and decided to stay away from the shops, and have only visited grocery stores since.

Stumptown coffee at LIT espresso bar

Groceries for Japanese rice dish Maze Gohan

We shopped at PAT, the Asian grocery store in Little Korea to pick up supplies for our family New Year’s dinner as each family member usually prepares a Japanese or Asian dish.  While preparing a rather complicated rice dish called Maze Gohan, we watched a remastered version of a Luchino Visconti classic, The Leopard. This version recently became available and my husband had put it on hold at the library and had finally made it to the front of the waiting list. Three cheers for the Toronto Public Libraries! Visconti is best known for the film, Death in Venice. The Leopard features an outstanding performance by Burt Lancaster with the orginal Italian version using a dubbed voice and an English version featuring all of him.

Friends had kindly invited us to their default New Year’s eve party at their friend’s place in the Beaches.  Since our son and our roommate Alain were hosting a New Year’s eve party at our house, we decided to stay at a B&B in the Beaches on Balsam avenue, the Balsam Beach Inn, 6-7 blocks from the party in the beach and give “the boys” their own space.  We were in the two-bedroom upper suite and were quite charmed by our quarters.

B&B on Balsam Avenue in the Beach

B&B on Balsam Avenue in the Beach


Blogging at the B&B on New Year's Eve

Fabulous cookie treats made by our New Year's Eve hostess

Unidentified couple (not us!) participating in three-legged race on the boardwalk

The highlights of the party included; beef brisket (smoked meat) from Montreal, a test of sobriety on the beach which involved walking along wooden barricades, partially sunk into the sand, three-legged races along the boardwalk, an outstanding selection of homemade cookies and dancing to a range of hits including Poker Face, the Clash and local heroes from the past, Teenage Head (I kid you not middle-aged Torontonians). The teenagers present showed great tolerance to the dance antics of the adults.  I overheard one discussing what songs might keep the grown-ups on the dance floor.

Maze Gohan

New Year's cookie selection

We made it back to our B&B around 2:30 a.m., and set a record for sleeping in due to the utter quiet and the light-shading drapes. I think the last time I slept past 11 a.m. was as a teen. In just under 30 minutes we brewed our Stumptown coffee, packed up and were on the road as we had mass to attend and food to cook. My plan to start the year with a run along the beach while thwarted did not feel as much of a disappointment as the morning was grey and foggy and you could not see the water from the beach.

We had a wonderful dinner at my sister’s home in Richmond Hill. I’m sure it had been a busy day for her as she is the mother of an 8, 6, 4 and 2 year old. In spite of her busy life as a mom she runs every other day and plays hockey. Over the holidays one of her teams competed in a tournament. I ended my evening with triple servings of dessert and a large can of Poppycock on my lap. Having decided to make the most of the season’s end I munched away with abandon.

Poppycock, discovered on New Year's by me, former Cracker Jack aficionado

My husband asked me to move away from him as he too was hooked and was annoyed that I did not comply with this request, leaving him to rely to his own self-control devices 🙂 It was my first encounter with Poppycock and I woke the next morning wondering where I might buy some.

Those who fear snakes were made a little uneasy by the prized gift of one of our six year old nieces, as shown below.  And, for the record, we have 3 six year old nieces.

I got a western hognose snake for Christmas!

We had talked about going to see True Grit and The Social Network but somehow the days flew by and we did not make it to either.


Reindeer ensemble, a treasured gift from our son's girlfriend, Thuy

On Monday we drove our son back to K-W and had our final holiday dinner there.  It was very nice to have him home and we miss him but our nest is not quite empty as we have his friend and now our special friend, Alain home with us.  Happy New Year!


Farewell dinner in K-W

“For I dance
And drink and sing,
Till some blind hand Shall brush my wing.”

William Blake

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