Lain's Log

Event overload!

December 21/11.

Can't seem to keep up with all the holiday hysteria around here.

I could clone myself and still not get to all the places I'm expected to be. Not that I'm complaining. Has been crazy, and at times, fun, but just busy and a bit exhausting, trying to maintain a household at the same time as preparing for Christmas and Hannukah.

Starting on Saturday, my son, Max & I made about 47 trips to the basement closets to drag box after box of decorations up to the livingroom.

The plan was to create "Christmas splendour" by the end of the day, but the boxes were still cluttering the floor by Tuesday! My only excuse for this catastrophe, is Mucho Interruptus!

No matter HOW hard I tried to get to it, door bells and phones were ringing, my services seemed to be required elsewhere, and more & more problems, disasters and roadblocks kept getting tossed my way. (Including unexpected breast pain, which feels exactly like the pain that hit me when my cancer was first detected back in February. I have calls in to Princess Margaret Hospital to try to move up appointments to check this out). Meanwhile, everyone in the household and all visitors, just had to steer their way around the mess, until I could finally get around to unpacking!

With only a third of a day to go before my daughter, Kate's friends would descend upon the house for her annual carolling party, I had to get mega-motivated! Did the whole shower/hair/makeup routine while listening to Howard Stern to keep me going. Once THAT magical miracle was pulled off, it was time to get cracking, BIGTIME. (I was hoping the red sweater, short skirt and kick-ass black boots, would launch me into "Santa Baby" mode and move things along quickly and more merrily).

My personal "decorating technique" is a tad unconventional I guess, (and not unlike me, a bit of a mess), - but, hey, any port in a storm! Whatever works.

I always unwrap the contents of the endless number of boxes and dump it ALL into a massive heap on the floor! Yep.

That way, I see EXACTLY what I have to work with, and can start putting things in place, one tiny item at a time. I had four wacky, whirlwind, bat-out-of-hell hours to whip through this mess and set things up before the onslaught of arrivals.

My Auntie Ray, (a lifelong expert in the art of decoration), has always advised me, "Start where you stand." I did.
Began by putting together the traditional creche on top of the piano. (ya, I know the pic is blurry. So am I). Some of these little creatures in the barn, (like the cows, sheep, camel & broken-legged dog) are from the nativity set we've had since we were children.

As a Christmas decoration fanatic, I remember where and how I acquired each and every item. The angel came from my old Global friend, Ola Sturik, many years ago. She replaced me in my job during both my maternity leaves and gave me this special gift to watch over my children! The little bendable Santa toy was part of our childhood.

It reminds me of my cousin, Kevan, who always used to play with it and make us laugh with funny voices. (Here are some fave old Christmas pics of our beloved cousin Kev, with Carrie & me at our late grandparents' home/antique shop, Century House, where we spent SO many happy Christmases together). We adored, idolized, looked up to and loved Kevan from the time we were kids, and still do! He da best!

The acrylic sleigh and reindeer on the table, I bought for myself at the Christmas store in Niagara-on-the-Lake and the floral arrangement was made for me by Shirley Jane, (who was the lovely lady in my Dad's life until she passed away of cancer a few years ago). I still miss her.

Diningroom table decorations, (including talking Linus).

By the time the clock struck 6 p.m., - Voila! I was proud of myself for accomplishing the decorating goal, (even including vaccuming up all the sparkles from the carpet)! - with JUST enough time to rush out to the convenience store for milk and Nestle's Quik to make buckets of hot chocolate on the stove, for the carollers who were coming at 6:30.

Kate's gang is all here and ready to sing! Are they not a gorgeous sight?

They laughed,

told stories and had a blast together. I opted for a rum & eggnog, the first of the season, to calm my nerves after this running-around-like-a-mad-fiend schtick. (To top the day off, I had also received devastating news about a serious accident suffered by an extremely close friend of mine, who wishes to remain anonymous. I could barely concentrate on anything else after hearing this and all of my prayers and positive thoughts are being sent out). I KNOW you will recover and we will see each other very soon. I love you so much.

Back to the party, then, my sister, Carrie (professional singer extraordinaire), joined us.

and we hit the streets,

to sing up a storm,

and collect canned goods & cash,

for the local Loblaws food drive.

Then, it was home, out of the cold, and ready for hot chocolate! A successful evening all around. Thanks to everyone who attended, brought delicious baked goods, lent their talents,

and made it such a blast of a bash!
Next up? Preparing special dishes for the Staples Christmas party tonight! I'll be making the fab fam yam/apricot/pecan casserole, a fresh tossed green salad and a fruit salad. And I hear there will be turkey, mashed potatos and a broccoli/cheese dish too. Look out!

Prior to the carolling day festivities, have also had several other fun-filled days.

I got the chance to see the marvellous musical Memphis,

at The Toronto Centre for the Arts.

My old high school pal, Dean Rogers, took me to the show as a Christmas gift.

We had dinner first, at Milestones. This was the view from our window seat at the restaurant. Had a cold Martini, straight up, (shaken, not stirred), with olives, and a salmon salad. Just fab. Dean had seafood pasta.

I got as glammed up as I could get, so I could descend that incredible theatrical staircase in style!
Loved the show, especially the charismatic Bryan Fenkart who starred as D.J. Huey Calhoun. Great performance. The whole production was terrific with colourful costumes, terrific choreography, blow-you-away songs and some truly magnificent performances.

We hit the merchandise store. I wanted to buy this t-shirt, (because I love the philosophy of Listen to Your Soul), but for $35? - not so much!
Thanks Dean, for a wonderful evening! Happy holidays to you and your family!

On the way home, passed by my favourite blue lights on the Danforth. So pretty for the holidays.

The next day, spent time at the local mall - Gerrard Square.

The mall is filled with little kiosks,

All set up for Christmas,

Books for kids,

instruments & artifacts,

my favourite Charlie Brown characters,

(some of them playing instruments),

And naturally, I couldn't get past La Senza, (my fave store),

without at LEAST taking a peek,

...and, well, maybe buying something sizzling, sexy (and on sale!) I'll never tell! (Only Santa knows for sure)!

But the best kiosk by far was PerfectSense! This sweet lady, Eva, makes all the products herself, buying special ingredients from Costa Rica and Mexico to create unbelievably beautifully scented candles of every shape and size.

When I told Eva I can't get enough of the scent of vanilla, she surprised me by asking if I knew the reason for this. I told her no. She proceeded to explain that the craving for the scent of vanilla is often brought on by sadness or depression, which immediately brought tears to my eyes. I asked, "Are you a mindreader too?" She responded, "No. I just know my products." Strange that my overwhelming desire for vanilla began right after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Naturally, I bought a bunch of Eva's French Vanilla candles and burned them at the carolling party.

Still one more big event came my way over the weekend.

My old radio friend, Randy Maxwell invited me to attend a food drive/fundraising event at the Hot House Cafe at Front & Church.

His buddy, Vladimir Bondarenko,

a unique and classy man of many skills, - (acting coach/documentary filmmaker/grief counsellor), organizes "Vlad's Christmas Food Drive Party" every year to collect canned goods for St. James and St. Barts churches.

I met some great people, mostly ACTRA members and musicians. Our seatmates at the restaurant were Mary Ann McIntyre and her partner of 30 years, actor Tim Braddock.
Also had the good fortune of meeting and hanging out with talented musicians Donna Greenberg and Ray Rivers. (both singer/songwriters). Thanks for the CDs!!! Can't wait to listen to them in the car! (when bossy GPS broad isn't giving me orders).

Larry Miller, ex of the CBC, introduced himself to me. He worked on all kinds of shows including Mr. Dressup and The Friendly Giant!
(I asked Larry to give me the scoop on Rusty & Jerome, - but he insisted he didn't have any good gossip).

On the way out the door, ran into this handsome man. Just HAD to stop to tell him I love his hair. (He said he loved mine too)! Ken Worth is his name and he composes music.

(Vladimir later told me Ken has often been mistaken for Robert Redford). Can see that, yep.
Now I get why I liked his hair! (Anyone who reads this blog, knows of my lifelong addiction to Redford)!
Hey Randy! Thanks for the invite. It was a lovely evening. And Vladimir? Congrats on making it so successful. Will catch up with you in the new year. Happy holidays!

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