Kurt & Kristmas

Because we're both flying out of here (hopefully) this week, we decided to celebrate mini-Christmas this weekend. This is our 6th Christmas together and we have a few traditions that we didn't want to miss out, just because we weren't going to be together on the actual day. So, we got our shopping done last week and I cleaned the apartment so it would be ready for a weekend of Christmas movies, Christmas baking, Christmas music and general Christmas merriment. It didn't disappoint...and it's not even over yet.

Yesterday, I made (way too many) Christmas cookies - chocolate mint (my favorite) and ginger molasses (his favorite) and we had a dinner of snacks...cheese, crackers, pepper jam, chips, dip, prosciutto and olives while we sipped our black rum and ginger beer and giggled to Elf. This was after our afternoon movie rundown of Charlie Brown (can you believe that this was the first time I'd ever seen it?) and A Muppet Family Christmas (Muppets + Sesame Street + Fraggles congregate at Fozzie's Mom's farmhouse...Swedish Chef tries to cook Big Bird), and before we ended the evening with a viewing of the original Grinch and exchanging a couple of gifts. I got a very timely new watch, as my other watch (which Kurt gave me for my 24th birthday) died during the longest meeting ever a few weeks ago. It was like it just gave up...and I sat there wondering if the day could possibly tick by any slower. Turns out that it couldn't.

So, the first half of mini-Christmas was pretty awesome. And we didn't even feel bad about being couch potatoes because the weather was TERRIBLE. It was probably the worst day, weather-wise, that we've had on the Rock this year. Gale force winds, reports of a tornado (I'm skeptical), and a LOT of rain. Our dehumidifier had a field day. We lit candles and enjoyed the show from the inside. We enjoyed the movies from the comfort of our couch boat - an invention we came up with a few months ago when we realized that our living room set up allowed us to push our matching gigantic couches together in front of the TV to make one huge bed-like couch to cuddle up on. It's great but it's almost too comfortable because I always end up drifting off during movies. Elf kept me awake though.

We have a bunch of friends who were set to fly out of here yesterday to various spots and they shut down the airport after the Air Canada flight left, so a lot of them are stranded until Tuesday or Wednesday because the flights are so booked up for Christmas (and there's normally only one each day to each destination, except New York). I feel so bad for them. Travelling at Christmas is awful when the flights are relatively normal, so any kind of interruptions really dampen the spirit. I will never forgive Air Canada for the time I sat on the tarmac in the plane from Ottawa (which had landed on time but didn't have a gate available for it) and watched my Victoria flight take off without me. On Christmas Eve.

Please keep all of your fingers and toes crossed for us. I fly out on Wednesday and Kurt leaves on Christmas Eve. We've got confirmed seats, and Air Canada is pretty good about flying in less-than-ideal weather, but I'm hoping for clear days in Toronto and Ottawa next week. Victoria...I'm not too concerned about. They can always land in rain.

Today will be much the same as yesterday. I've saved my two favorite Christmas movies (A Christmas Story and Love Actually), I have a new book to get into, and Kurt's making his famous traditional codfish and potato breakfast. It's a Rock thing. And it is DELICIOUS. Until then, I'll try to stay out of the cookies.

My Christmas spirit was a bit lacking until this weekend. Now I'm feelin' it. I love this time of year.


Today is my birthday. In my head, I am 23. In reality, I am 29. Yiiiiikes.

I was totally spoiled today. First of all, my amazing mother sent me a birthday present which arrived last week and has been staring at me from the dining room table. I was good though. I waited until this morning to open it up and found a new pair of super cute shoes and a kit for this new form of art called Zentangle which is 100% addictive doodling.

At work, I was spoiled too. One co-worker made me a cake, some friends took me for lunch, and then there was some singing....it was fun. And tonight I was spoiled by my man, who took me for a birthday date to one of my favorite restaurants.

Fun day. So far, 29 is pretty awesome.

2010 is my year.


That's the sound of our new dehumidifier, dehumidifying. Thank effin' God.

I told a few people at work about the Mould Incident and they all asked why I didn't have my dehumidifier on, because obviously I wouldn't be having any mould issues if I did. When I told them that I didn't own one, there was a lot of finger wagging (whilst snapping) in my face and "Giiiiiiirl, why you don't have none? You out your mind!"

In other words, I got told.

I acted quickly and we just plugged in our new (to us) appliance. Which may send our electricity bill to the Moon but really...my Frye's are worth it.

Dear Mould: Don't eff around. Regards, Me.

For most of the year, the humidity on the Rock is very high (it hit 98% in the summer). For my skin and hair, this is fabulous. My hair has never grown faster and I hardly ever need to use moisturizer. But it's not all good news. With houses made out of coral and rock, that means that dealing with dampness in the home is just a regular part of life here - a fact which we have recently become acutely aware of.

Our previous apartment, which was in a 400 year-old building, was framed and drywalled, much like a house in Canada. There are probably 3 houses like that on the whole island...it is VERY rare. I'm guessing this is because moisture + drywall = eventual disaster. But, our apartment was dry as a bone, all year round. It was fabulous. Besides the lovely floors, it was pretty much the best thing about the place.

Our new apartment is less than a year old. However, it is a regular-style house, made out of coral, cinder blocks and cement. No moisture barrier. No drywall. Not dry.

I noticed it shortly after we moved in...a bit of a coldness in the sheets tipped me off one night and then the fact that it took 3 days for a pair of jeans to dry on a hanger sealed it for me. We are now officially living in a regular house and now we have to deal with what everyone else is dealing with: the War on Mould.

Mould...is gross. I'm not a fan. Up until now, my experiences with mould have been confined to the food variety - leaving an open juice box in my locker for weeks on end would normally sprout something pretty, and there has been more than one container of forgotten leftovers in my fridge that was "discovered" to be a greener shade than necessary. I'm not messy...it happens.

But when mould sprouts on my SHOES...everything changes.

This evening, Kurt and I were having a casual conversation in the closet (our closet is huge - larger than our bathroom) and I randomly pulled my beloved Frye sandals out of the shoe organizer to discover this:

Oh, hell no.

Yes, that is a crop of mould on my lovely sandal. A tiny green forest of gross.

Disgusted, I pulled out all of my shoes and discovered that The Mould had invaded another favorite pair, my Born sandals (you will probably note how similar they are to the Fryes...at least the Mould has good taste):

I said some words that I don't feel comfortable repeating on my blog, gathered up my beloved sandals and every bottle of shoe product that has ever been hawked (successfully, apparently) to me by shoe sales people, and got to work in the kitchen.

30 minutes later, my pulse had gone back to a regular pace and my sandals were looking as good as new. Some shampoo and conditioner were all it took to bring them back to life. However, I'm now freaking out about everything else in my closet. Like...my clothes. My luggage. My PURSES. My pashmina collection. What else is quietly becoming a home to The Mould? I don't really care to find out.

We got some closet heaters from a co-worker of mine and installed them immediately. They don't heat up much - just enough to zap the moisture from the air. Hopefully that's enough to prevent future invasions. Until then...daily inspections.

Ahh...life in the tropics. Always a pleasure.

Latest Discoveries.

1) Hoarders.

Is anyone else watching this brilliant show? Well, maybe 'brilliant' is a strong word, but it's downright entertaining. And interesting. And yes, parts of it may make you dry heave, but for the most part, you'll just feel like washing your dishes when it's over. I don't know if it's on TV now, but it definitely aired this year and it is about people with compulsive hoarding disease. Gone are the days where we call chronically messy people "lazy slobs". They are now classified with a mental disorder. Actually, from the few episodes I've watched, these people on the show are in a league of their own. Multiple rotten pumpkins on the dining room floor...congealed meat byproduct pooling in the fridge...10,000 teddy bears...astonishing collections of shampoo caps and broken picture frames...it is wild. What happens on the show is that you "meet" the Compulsive Hoarders, and then the show sends in a Certified Professional Organiser (who knew THAT was a job?), these Saint-like people who come in with masks and a truckload of patience (and at least 4 dumptrucks) and they work with the Compulsive Hoarder to get rid of the junk. But they can't tell them to get rid of the junk...they have to work with them to hope they make the decision on their own. Some of them don't, and the show ends with this kind of sad "update" on how they got evicted, or their children stopped speaking to them, or some other depressing ending.

I've watched 4 episodes and I'm totally hooked. It really puts my slightly untidy coffee table into perspective. Some of these people can't see the floor...in any room, hallway or stairwell of their home. Fascinating.

Totally deserving of the 'brilliant' label, The DailyLit is a brilliant website. If you don't already know about it (I only just discovered it through a blog I read), it used to be a subscription-based service but is now free. It's kind of like an electronic library, where you go, find a book you want to read and sign up (this involves entering your e-mail address), and then they will send you the book by e-mail in segments over...well, however long it takes you to read it. For instance, I signed up today to read Little Women. I've been wanting to re-read it for awhile and lo and behold, DailyLit has a fabulous selection of classic books. So, I opted for 'longer' installments and received my first two today. I read them during my lunch hour (about the equivalent of 2-3 pages of the book) and tomorrow at Noon, they'll send me the next two. Or, if I'd had the time today, I could have asked for the next two right away.

I think this is SO smart. So many people have such limited time to read books, but this way you can read on your BlackBerry when you're in a waiting room, or like me on a lunch hour, or anytime you want, really. You can pause your book if you're going on vacation, or ask for it only to be sent on Mondays...it's very customisable. I am very impressed. I currently have three books coming to me from DailyLit: Little Women, The Count of Monte Cristo, and one which I can't remember the name of right now but it was on the homepage and looked good and Diane von Furstenberg recommended it so really, how could I go wrong?


Welcome, friend. December is my absolute hands-down favorite month of the year. First of all, it involves my birthday. A tad less exciting than when I was turning ages that didn't make me think "no effin' way am I that old...", but exciting nonetheless because right around the corner from my birthday is...Christmas! Obviously.

And to celebrate December 1st, and because I have zero imagination today, a Christmas MeMe. Stolen from Heather's blog. Thanks once again, HAO.

To celebrate the 1st of December, here is a Christmas meme for you all!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Gift bags wherever possible, but normally wrapping paper for the bulk of the presents. I'm a pretty decent wrapper, 50% of the time.

2. Real tree or artificial? Currently, the most artificial of artificial. And by that, I mean that it's only a tree in that it's shaped like an inverted cone, but it's made out of sparkly gold wire and has little gold beads here and there. It's festive...but it's not really a tree. At the homestead, where I'm spending actual Christmas, we have an artificial tree.

3. When do you put up the tree? Thanks for the reminder! I'm going to go get it out of the closet right now and plunk it on the coffee table. Decorating...CHECK.

4. When do you take the tree down? My family was of the variety that put the tree up late and took it down before New Years. In and out, no muss, no fuss. And then we'd drive around and laugh at people who still had their tree up on January 15...because THEY are the ones who are weird, obviously. Don't get me wrong...no one gets excited about Christmas like my Dad...we just contain our excitement to a smaller window than others.

5. Do you like eggnog? In small quantities.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Every Christmas had a special gift (Santa has always been very good to me), but the one that is standing out at the moment was the year that my parents decided to get Kelsey and I FIVE turtles of varying sizes and a gigantic turtle tank. The largest was the size of a dinner plate and the smallest was the size of a toonie. They met varying fates, but I believe one of them can still be found at the Beacon Hill Park Petting Zoo. By the way, turtles are really boring and stinky pets. The novelty for my parents wore off on or about December 26th.

7. Do you have a Nativity scene? I do not.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My Dad.

9. Easiest person to buy for? My Sister.

10. Worst Christmas Gift you ever received? The year I didn't make the connection in Toronto and spent Christmas Eve at YYZ. Worst. Day. Ever.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? MAIL!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Story ("you'll shoot your eye out, kid!" never gets old)

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually sometime in November.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Probably.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Anything from my Mom's kitchen. She is a-freakin-mazing.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear lights.

17. Favorite Christmas song? "All I Want for Christmas" - Mariah Carey. No joke.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home, but I have to travel to get there. Christmas doesn't feel like Christmas on the Rock.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dasher, dancer, prancer, vixen, comet, cupid, donner and blitzen, Rudolph.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star. Or, in the case of my "tree", a glittery bead. Glorious.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Present from Dad on Christmas Eve and the rest on Christmas Morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? People...everywhere.