Lain's Log

Wrapping up the year

December 31/11.

The last two days sped by too quickly.

So much to do, so little time. (what else is new?) My son, Max, took this shot (wearing my favourite Christmas gift - my new coat and scarf, from Sam). - Actually, I picked it out and TOLD him it was his gift to me this year and he agreed!  I was heading out to finish the last errands of the year. In a way, can't really believe I actually survived 2011, which was the most challenging and saddest of my life. Strangely though, there were many unbelievable highs thrown in for good measure, and I'm thankful for all those who made them happen. (I will write about you in the next entry).

In the past two days, hit The Bay,

drove by the old house we bought 20 years ago at Dundas & DeGrassi and wondered who lives there now,

made it by car to a far off hotel - (courtesy of Bossy GPS woman) for a Christmas spa session, courtesy of a friend. (Had a facial exfoliation & mask. - Sorry, NO pics!  NOT a pretty sight!) But as Jerry Lewis
says in The Nutty Professor,

"Oh, THAT'S invigorating!" Felt GREAT afterwards! Was a blast of a day.

Later, off to the local mall, Gerrard Square.

and the ever-exciting Food Basics store. The shopping trip was made more bearable at the front cash in a long lineup when a nice man behind me offered to help pick up my pile of groceries from the floor. (I didn't get a basket and boy, were my arms tired!)

He took this pic for me. Then I turned the camera on HIM!

Jamie Laidlaw was buying a frozen pizza for dinner and was surprised to learn he would soon be part of a personal experience blog! He was even MORE surprised when a cashier came over to me and said she recognized me from the Global TV days. (I was kinda stunned too, since I left Global 9 years ago)! Gave Jamie the blog address so he can check it out. (always nice to have a new reader!) Thanks for your help at the store! I told Jamie, writing a blog makes everything more interesting. Always looking for an angle, no matter how weird. (even a frozen pizza!)

Next, on to the LCBO to stock up for New Year's Eve!

Kate (here with boyfriend, Damian), asked me to pick up champagne for the get-together she's having here at the house with her friends tonight.

So, I braved the long lineup and amused myself by writing my blog in a notebook while waiting to get to the head of the line. (no sense wasting time, right? Might as well do something productive while hanging out at the wine store)!

Now that it's New Year's Eve, trying to figure out what to wear out for dinner at The Friendly Greek (our usual new years haunt).

Think I'll wear my OTHER fave Christmas gift, this skin-tight H & M dress, given to me by sister, Carrie for Christmas. Thanks Carrie! LOVE it!

Wore it Christmas Day, even while making the famous "Grampa-lain" punch with Max. (age old recipe passed on to me decades ago by my late Grampa who created it. We still use his original punch bucket
and ladle. The glass pitcher I inherited from Mum, (as it is the "official punch pourer!")

Happy new year everyone!! Hope it's a happy, healthy 2012 ahead for one and all. (I could USE a year like that!)

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Seasonal letdown

December 29/11.

Now that the Christmas crunch is over, I'm feelin' the letdown, bigtime.
Weird or what?

All the work, rushing around, adrenaline pumping, lack of sleep, fun,

laughs, excitement, visiting, prezzies, Henkell with cousin Kevio,
hot chocolate with sister Carrie, - and then, suddenly BAM! It's over.
Back to reality.
My daughter, Kate, commissioned her friend, Kathleen, to paint a watercolour portrait of her and boyfriend, Damian, as his Christmas gift. It turned out beautifully. Here, they are trying to recreate the pose! So cute.

My son, Max, got lots of cool t-shirts for Christmas, including this gear fab one, from my sister Carrie.

Lee got a new bathrobe from his Mum (my sister, Carrie). Very nice!

This was Auntie Ray's reaction to the robe.

Sam made a poignant toast to those we were missing this Christmas - Mum and Uncle Ev. It was still a fun day, but so sad without them.

The Hannukah bash at Mum and Dad B's condo was also SO much fun. We did something different, with this wild gift exchange. Too tough to explain!

My sister-in-law, Debbie, tried her best to outline the details of this exchange. I didn't understand a word, but in the end, it turned out to be very funny.

My adorable nephew, Adam, ended up with his fave - PEZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My bro-in-law, Arlen, had the honour of lighting the first Hannukah candle. Well done Arlen!!

My beautiful niece, Robin, received a gift card, cleverly disguised (by my husband, Sam), in a glasses case! Sneaky.

As for me, (here with my amazing Dad-in-law, Ben), I received a perfect gift for me!

LIFE, The Year in Pictures, plus an Indigo gift card, which I used to buy my new wall calendar for 2012. (Which I'm hoping will be a banner year)!!!

All in all, Hannukah was a blast. Thanks, Deb, for all your work on pulling it together, and to my parents-in-law who hosted the event.

After a much needed day off on the 27th, (which was pretty much spent sleeping and cleaning up the mess of Christmas), I was ready to rock & roll on the 28th with my good pal, Pam Pickard.

She was working that day at her RBC job across from the Eaton Centre, so we met up,

At good old greenjeans for lunch! She had a glass of wine (since she was travelling home by TTC) and I had a Diet Coke (since I was driving). We had a fab gab, catching up on everything. She is an amazing woman and was pretty much on fire as a standup comic during this lunch hour. Wish I'd recorded the conversation so I could play it back again. SOOOOOOOOOOOO funny.

After lunch, she took me to see her office for the first time. Little did I know, she shares her cubicle with Gumby!

Pam has a pretty great view of Old City Hall from her office window!

Took a walk over to the Eaton Centre to get my new wall calendar plus some more vanilla scented body cream from The Body Shop (buy 2, get one free deal - LOVE it!) And we couldn't resist,

one more stop at La Senza for their fabulous 50 percent off sale! I mean, come ONNNNNNNNNNNN!

Nine pairs of sexy panties for 30 bucks??? Can't be beat! And the teddies? Out of this world! Did we buy anything? I'll just let you GUESS!

On the way home, did some more GPS practice, driving like a maniac on highways and biways, not getting lost once, due to the threats from Bossy GPS Broad. She STILL tried to steer me into a cement wall at one point, but I'm on to her tricks now and made it home in one piece,

only to find Max, using his new Christmas gift - some kind of drink hat, where you sip pop out of straws attached to a construction worker's cap. Why? I don't know. But made for a great pic. Never a dull moment, as usual. Maybe Christmas letdown isn't so bad. - Afterall - it's FRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDAYYYYYY!!!
BRING it ON!!!!

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Christmas CarUMba!!

December 25/11.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!! HOW did I manage to leave everything till the last minute on the 24th?? TRIED to get it ALL crossed off the mega-list, but it didn't happen.

This is pretty much the first year I left EVERY FRIGGIN' THING till the bitter end! Just couldn't seem to get fully-motivated. But once I did, was like a rock, (or is it a snowball?) - rolling downhill at fast speed. Here's how it all played out. (for the record, I didn't buy Santa for $47.99, and he didn't buy me, either). In fact, he ignored me, BIGTIME.

Numero uno stoppo - BMO, for mucho Christmas cash-ola!!

Then, onward, to fill up on gasoline.

Have been using up an absolute abundance of precious petrol, driving around, this way & that, east, west, north & south, - exploring new territory - HIGHWAYS - (gak!) - and testing out "Bossy GPS Broad" & her diehard demands & no dilly-dallying directions. (She keeps advising me to fill up regularly! So I do). The curious gas bar attendant wanted to know WHY I was taking pics.

Being in a mood to shock, (as usual), told him I'm an investigative reporter and wanted to reveal all kinds of scandalous secrets about his place of business. He looked afraid...(very afraid), but I smiled, he took my money and we waved goodbye. A cab driver at the gas bar witnessed the whole ridiculous (and fake) journalistic transaction, winked, and gave me the thumbs-up sign as I drove off. (This blogging thing sometimes makes me laugh).

Next stop?

Loblaws Bulk Barn at Eastern & Leslie.

FAB candy department!

(I'm not much of a candy consumer, but sure love to LOOK at the colourful Christmas products and buy for others)! I mean, WOW! SO many coolio confections!

Then, drove off across the street to Price Chopper. I spent more cash there than I EVER have before, - (but, hey! - They're Price Chopper! - so, worth every penny, right?)

FORGOT some items at Loblaws, so had to go back again! (Ya, I know, SHOULDA made a LIST, and checked it TWICE)!!
Next on the exciting shopping agenda, a stop at Mark's Work Wearhouse. Heard they had hot undergarments, but, lemme tell ya, - nope! - not so much. (Hey! - La Vie En Rose? - will be back to see you soon. You NEVER let me down on the sizzle scale)!


Canuck Tire, where I finally (nervously), tried out the infamous cart-mover thing-a-ma-jig! Yikes!

Was kinda scared, loading up the cart and sending it down the ramp on its lonesome, - then doing a meet & greet at the bottom. I can't keep up!

Had to make yet another trip to Shoppers,

(just couldn't BELIEVE Justin Bieber was still hangin' around the skin care aisle)!

Got everything home and into the kitchen. Despite my family Doc telling me, "Take it easy, let others do the heavy lifting and stop carting major merchandise into the house", I thought,


I HAVE to live my life and do things my OWN way"!

Luckily, Kate & her boyfriend, Damian, were available to help me drag things in, just in time for Christmas! Took 90 minutes of putting stuff away in wildly obscure places - (since there wasn't enough room for everything),

Oh, and PLEASE, - NONE of this 1950's/Suzy Homemaker, apron-clad crap! NOT for me! Not my style.

I MUCH prefer cookin' with gas, - spicy & hot, - (clothing-wise at least!). I'm not much when it comes to cookin' in the kitchen, but bring on the tight black leggings, high top black boots and sexy, black lace! THEN I can at least get motivated to grind up a big batch of cranberry orange relish

in the Cuisinart! (the concoction has to remain in the fridge ALL NIGHT so the flashy flavours intermingle and make for a special, taste-bud-tingling, tangy treat the next day)!

Then, yep, you guessed it. Accidentally left a few MORE things off my non-existant shopping list.

Off to the Danforth Bargain World to pick up tinfoil pie plates for Christmas leftovers and a few other wacky items,

then, back over to Shoppers, (forgot I wanted sexy Skintimate Raspberry Rain shaving gel). I just REFUSE to get thru the holiday without this fragrant fave product so I can be scented, soft & satiny under anything & everything I wear during the holidays! - (What can I tell ya? I'm into sweet & silky. Just LOVE it)! Yep, I pretty much keep Skintimate in biz these days!

On the drive home, listened to Bryn Christopher (who ELSE?) Have been ADDICTED to his songs EVERY day since my cancer diagnosis day back on March 9th. The man touches my soul. Don't quite know why.

All his over-the-top songs capture what I feel these days.

Home again, still Christmas Eve, it was back to cooking - spinach and mushrooms for quiches, (part of my "famous" annual Christmas brunch),

but I draw the line at homemade pie crusts. It's Tenderflake all the way!

(Prepared six quiches in all, so lots of leftovers for everyone to take home)!

Next up? My late Mum's recipe for traditional turkey stuffing, starting with onion, celery and butter - (I buy only ONE onion per year - HATE them, but for some reason,

about a third of an onion tastes good in this Wonderbread stuffing!)

Then? My amazing egg casserole! (I'm laughing hysterically here, since my usual "speciality of the house" is the ever-popular Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup), but this decadent dish is my ONE & ONLY "gourmet achievement". Have made it annually for decades. AND SO good for you too! Butter, 22 eggs, a package of bacon, about a pound of delectable cubed black forest ham, a can of evaporated milk, - (or as my husband, Sam, refers to it, "Heart attack on a plate." (but, Hey Now! - it's only once a year). -

And for anyone who worries I don't eat, believe me, I DO!!!! I actually create ONE great brunch meal per year - only on Christmas.
My sister, Carrie, & her son, Lee, love it so much, that I make them an individual container of egg casserole to take home for Boxing Day.

By the time 11 p.m. Christmas Eve rolled around, I was nowhere NEAR finished cooking or wrapping presents. I was exhausted, cold, in pain, but WTF?

- The "late show version" of It's a Wonderful Life was about to air at 11 p.m., and I was ready to go for a mega-change-of-clothes,

to try to finish off the NEVER-ENDING Christmas Eve marathon! Ripped off the black lace and grabbed my HOUSE sweatshirt/hoodie, generously given to me by a friend. Hugh Laurie ("Dr. House") always inspires me and helps to get it goin' on!!

Hours of Jimmy Stewart later, Santa had made his visit, helped me stuff stockings for Kate & Max, (always generous)! -

and by the time I went to sleep at 6 a.m. Christmas morning,

they were just about ready to wake up & open their stockings! Timing is everything! (NOT!)

Kate's stocking - (Hey! - LAST season of Will & Grace!)

Max's stocking - Mall Cop and Rolling Stone, among other things!

Thank goodness for one wild & crazy family,

who delight in BRUNCH,

and devour dinner,

unwind & suspend belief long enough, (24 hours a year), to actually consume my cooking!!!! EGAD!!

Miraculously, a good time was had by all, and my Auntie Ray gave me the gift of this hat to go with my white fake fur coat. Cool!
More Christmas madness soon! And on Boxing Day? (er, today, - onwards to
Hannukah)! I can't keep up!!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night. (er, good MORNING!)

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