Happy 2008 to all!
The Flickr album containing all the Christmas pics from Winnipeg and Gimli is now complete. I started to shoot in RAW in December, which I am now a huge fan of, but it does mean that you have to manually generate a JPEG for each RAW image you want to post to Flickr. That amounted to editing over 200 photos for the better part of this week. Holy tedium, batman!
Here’s our Christmas wrap-up:
We arrived in Winnipeg on the 21st and were greeted by the parents and a little snowstorm. Much joy reuniting with the immediate family–now grown to 11 people–and catching up with Winnipeg friends before our journey northward. Highlights included swing dancing with Nathan and Irene, hanging with the Hamilton kids at Boston Pizza for some big-screen guitar hero, and visiting Aunt Edna and Wendy.
We trekked over to Gimli on Christmas Eve. The drive was only 1.5 hours, but when you have an irritated cat whining in her cage every few seconds, it feels a lot longer! The cottage (if you can still use the term for this giant 3-lot property) is a mere 5 minutes away from the shore of Lake Winnipeg, which has frozen over for the winter. We spent the rest of the day decorating the tree; savouring Mom’s traditional Christmas Eve feast of greek salad, tortiere, and buche noel; and fighting over the Christmas pickle. Kurt found it with his usual rough-and-tumble methods, but Jared managed to steal away Kurt’s prize for a moment.
Christmas Day was wonderful as always but there were a few blips to our bliss. Kaleigh, who meant to join us in the morning from Winnipeg, was hit with wave after wave of migraines and had to be rushed to the Winnipeg and Gimli hospitals over the course of the day. Kurt tore his MCL (the ligament on his inside right knee) after a ball hockey incident with the fam. As he is currently training for a half-marathon on February 10th, we took him to the Gimli hospital in case the tear was more serious than we thought. He is still limping to this day but the Vancouver doctors think that he should still be able to run the half as long as Kurt doesn’t overdo it.
On Boxing Day, I went for a photowalk with Mel and Andy, traversing the lake to visit the ice fishing shacks about 2km out. What a great adventure! We had to wade through knee-high snowdrifts along the shore and figure out whether it was safe to cross a foot-wide fissure that spanned the lake. After we saw three snowmobiles jump it in succession, we figured it could accommodate our 3 bodies gingerly stepping over it.
The ice fishing huts were unoccupied save for one. The fisherman that greeted us was packing for home, but indulged Andy and I with photo ops of him and his frozen catch. It also helped that he was enamored with Mel (“Would you like a second boyfriend?”).
The family spent that evening at the Bells in East St. Paul. Susan made the most delicious lentil salad that had Lindsay, Mel, and I going for multiple helpings. The kids played a rousing game of Cranium Wow in the living room while the men had an impromptu whiskey tasting and game of dice nearby. The Hamiltons cleaned up in the dice game, with Bob, Nicky, and Kurt all winning a round or two. But my wallet didn’t appreciate the added bulk of $20 in quarters!
Us girls went on a shopping spree at Tergesen’s the next day followed by a tour of the Gimli Gingerbread Village at the nearby Icelandic Museum. The rest of the time in Gimli was real mellow. Lots of food, lots of Scrabble and Catchphrase, and lots of quality time with the Hamiltons.
We got back to Winnipeg earlier than I anticipated, so the 29th was happily spent with Melissa Raquid. We caught up over lunch at Dandelion Eatery (highly recommended) and had another shopping spree along the little boutiques of Osborne Village. You wouldn’t think it, but Gimli and Winnipeg are excellent stops for funky attire!
Met up with Melissa again for a homecooked meal at her and Ryan’s. Let’s just say we had an entertaining evening =) Ryan’s friend showed up with the most amazing earring, and I couldn’t stop taking photos of their cute bulldogs. We ended the night with a bit of salsa dancing, just like old times. We even ran into fellow Vancouverites Irene and Sandra. Melissa is keen to get back into salsa now, and it too reminded me to stop working so hard and to make time for dance in the new year.
So that’s it…we are so happy to have spent the week with our beloved friends and family. Hope we get to see you all again within the year, as next Christmas is in the Philippines!