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Things I noticed this holiday season

Cindy and I went back to Saskatchewan for Christmas this year. We barely made it out and we barely made it home. Missing flight crews, frigid temperatures and a night of freezing rain added up the longest, most tenuous and hazardous travel we have ever experienced.

There was a moment in Regina, as our twin-prop “regional” plane sat for an overlong few minutes at the end of the runway, while the pilot decided whether the frozen runway had been sufficiently cleared to allow us to take off, when we were the first flight of the day to attempt it, hours and hours behind schedule, so late that we might be the only flight to attempt it that day. A moment when I had two vivid, worrying, harrowing thoughts. The first was whether Ben would remember where to find all my passwords. And the second was whether the two spare Westjet crews, sitting as passengers, desperately trying to get to Calgary where they had clear runways and more planes waiting for them, were the real reason we weren’t calling this entire escapade off and heading back to my mother-in-law’s house.

I realize that in any group of three or more people, I am the least important person, but I never really felt it so clearly before, you know?

But I’m writing this, and you’re reading it, so you know it all worked out. A night in Calgary, some desperate re-routing, and an unexpected ferry ride and we made it. Iggy Cat wanted to cuddle for 72 straight hours but otherwise, we’re all good. Happy New Year!

It was a whirlwind trip. I always think that over 10 days, surely we’d have time for long visits with all our friends, but we only got a 15 minute stand-up visit with Sharron and Shannon at Magpies Kitchen on Christmas Eve. Otherwise we were on the road, visiting my dad in the care home in Moose Jaw, Cin’s dad at the care home in Regina or Cin’s mom, sister and her new puppy, Tucker. That, and I managed to drop in for hot chocolate and fruitcake and a fun visit at the special Christmas meeting of the Regina Philatelic Club, where we talked about everything but stamps.

And yet! Things were noticed. Things that you might enjoy to try for yourself…

Sun Dogs Are Amazing #

Sun Dogs

Regina was cold. Really cold. Like -35C cold plus windchill. But with the cold comes bright sunshine, and sun dogs. If you’re not from the prairies, sun dogs are the bright spots that accompany the sun through the sky on especially cold days. We saw some beauties this trip, so bright that they formed a full rung around ol’ Sol. I miss those winter skies, for sure.

To Watch: Glass Onion #

A few years back, we saw Knives Out at the Vic Theatre and really enjoyed it. Well there’s a sequel out on Netflix called Glass Onion and it’s a lot of fun too. Daniel Craig is back as an oddball detective with one of the stranger accents in cinema, and the ensemble cast spins a good yarn. I probably liked the first movie better, but this is a good fun show.

Bonus: In a similar vein, we saw Saoirse Ronan in another caper flick, See How They Run, at the Vic recently and it’s another fun one. So there you go - find all three, pop some corn and have a murder-mystery movie marathon!

To Read: Night Train to Lisbon #

The community book box gave up a gem this month. Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier was published in 2004 and it’s a real winner. A Swiss linguistics teacher runs away from his dull, solitary life to dig into the life and times of a mysterious, long dead Portuguese author, and the more he learns about the author, the more he learns about himself.

I still dream about Portugal after our visit in 2016, so retracing our steps around Lisbon was fun. But even more, like the very best books do, I felt that I was changing as the characters were changing. I was spellbound. Highly recommended.

To Listen: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1 #

I may have listened to this tune 50 times this month. Fun melody and the more I listen, the more I’m swept into the story. Grab your headphones and give a listen to Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by the Flaming Lips. You won’t regret it.

All Skies Are Lovely #

Victoria Inner Harbour

Lest you think you need sun dogs for a beautiful sky, I want to share this picture from around 7:30AM on January 2nd. I was heading in to work, along Inner Harbour in Victoria and was stopped in my tracks by the lovely pinks and purples, and how the western side of the harbour glowed gold as the sun rose behind me. Stunning.

In winter, it gets dark here early. Too early. Like 4:30pm. But the trade off is that it gets light earlier in the morning. I’ve had some incredible walks to the coffee shop this week.

Sunrise was always a special time for us at Orange Boot Bakery, and we’d pause and consider the sky when the first light hit our south windows. I still love the morning sky, no matter where I am.