Friday, December 07, 2007


Each year, my sister and I both send out alot of Xmas cards. To make sure everyone gets all the yearly news, we write a Christmas letter and put a copy of it in everyones card. I always look forward to my sister's xmas letter because she is halarious. We send eachother our letters for approval before they are let free untoo the world. So I share with you today my sister's Christmas letter.


Hello, hello, hello! Here we all are again, busy with plans, preparations and feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

Okay well, maybe the warm and fuzzy part is only in short bursts (like hot flashes) or maybe I’m just getting the flu. Once again I find myself spending more time thinking about what I haven’t done, than what I have which makes me a little tense. I’m pretty busy with work right now too, and I have to keep reminding myself that everything will get done. Probably not very efficiently, nor particularly well, but it’ll get done. There’s something good to be said about not having terribly high standards. We may discover that the roll of stamps I lost got baked into the cherry pie come Christmas day but we’ll laugh………

This year has come and gone incomprehensibly quickly it seems. The kids are doing what kids do and they’re both fine. Hayden played organized soccer this year for the first time. He loved it and we’re planning to continue but if he wants a career in soccer we’re thinking his future might be in team management. Tess continues to play in the high school band and is teaching herself to play the guitar. She is going to France and Spain in April with the school for a ten-day trip and is very excited about it. We informed her that if she wanted to go on this trip she had to pay for most of it herself. She got a job at the amusement park west of Calgary (Calaway Park) from May to October and earned more than enough to help pay for the trip. She enjoyed the job and wants to go back again in the spring.

I’d love to be able to report that I’ve dropped more weight but that would be a lie. I think we’ve reached a point in our relationship where I can be completely honest with you and you won’t think less of me. (I’d like there to actually BE less of me…but I digress,) I have continued exercising but still less than before my Achilles problem. In September I started doing a core strengthening class twice a week. It’s called “Butts ‘n Guts”. Seriously that’s what it’s called, but for the first couple of weeks I wondered if I was ever going to regain the feeling in my thighs. Do you have any idea how difficult it is (and how stupid it must look!) to try to run a quarter mile when you can’t feel anything between your knee joints and your hips? I do. And when you do regain some of the sensation in your thighs they feel about as supportive as two slices of dill pickle. Some days I really hate it but I will keep going, the mandatory reduction of my dress size commands it. I’m still running, I started running outdoors in the summer and I prefer it to indoor track running so I’ll do that as long as I can. I’m finding it harder to make the time and muster up the motivation to run frequently though. Running outside has it’s down side, like hills (but not the downside of hills-that’s the easy part-the upside is the downside….oh you know what I mean). They suck. Almost as much as when the battery dies in my MP3 player. With music on I feel stronger and more energized. If I don’t have music playing in my ears, drowning out the sound of my gasping and choppy breathing, I feel more tired, and kinda like there isn’t enough oxygen in the entire universe. It must be psychological-but we won’t open that can of worms. There isn’t enough cyber-paper in this computer to try and analyze my psyche. The choppiness of my breathing is also a direct result of the inability of ANY bra manufacturer on the planet to construct a really good supportive (and I mean SUPPORTIVE-the girls don’t seem to be maintaining their stronghold in the battle against the evil forces of gravity) sports bra for those of us ‘curvier’ types. I’ll find one some day but in the mean time I’ll keep running. Because it turns out I’m not in any better shape than every other pickle-legged athlete wannabee. With a little luck I’ll break through this plateau. If not I’ll just go shoe shopping. I also tried yoga for 6 weeks and though I did enjoy the physicality, I think the point is lost on me. Is it just me or is it a little weird when a yoga instructor says things like, “Let your eyesight rest just behind your eyeballs.”? I know that there must be a mind and body connection somewhere but why can’t I just punch it into Google Maps and print out the directions?! Maybe I just need more yoga and I do plan to go back, but for now my pragmatic brain just doesn’t get it. I’ll go for the relaxation but I don’t think I’ll find the answers to the universe anytime soon.

And speaking of the pragmatic and practical, we’ve continued to make improvements on our home this year. At last check, Wade and I are still married, although the ‘happily’ part doesn’t apply 100% of the time. But Wade is a patient man and no matter how long it takes, he always eventually figures out that I am always right…even when I’m wrong. And that’s when ‘happily’ kicks in again until the next dispute. Our biggest project was re-doing our deck this spring. Our deck is not high but it wraps around two sides of the main level of the house. If I remember correctly it was well over 600 square feet. That might actually be bigger than the main level of the house. If I had built this house I would have opted for a bigger house and a smaller deck! Come to think of it, there are a lot of things I would have done different, but don’t get me started. We didn’t rebuild the deck we just removed the entire floor, replaced joists where needed, leveled it so that the two sections matched up (don’t get me started on the design that must have been done by a 4th grader either), built two new sets of stairs and re-decked it with composite material for “years of carefree use and enjoyment”. It was a big and labour intensive job but when it was done we were extremely happy with the results. We got some help from Ben on a couple of occasions too, which really helped. I think I spent more time out there this summer because for a change I wasn’t worried about dropping things through the huge gaps between the old wooden deck boards. I swear some of the spaces were big enough to drop an infant through. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little, but a preemie for sure. Wade also continued the hardwood floor down one run of stairs inside and soon we’ll do the other run and upstairs hallway. Woohoo, no more carpeted stairs to vacuum! He also just finished a slate backsplash in the main bathroom so the jobs have been relatively small since the deck. I say relatively small because I had very little to do with either job. Wade did most of the work but of course if I’d had more of a part in either of them I would have made them out to be excruciatingly laborious. My favorite projects are the ones where I can watch and supervise.

We’ve started the process of buying materials for the next stage of our foray into renovation hell-the downstairs bathroom and hallway. This bathroom is the bane of my existence and I refer to it as the dungeon. I can’t wait for it to be done. The part where I have to do actual manual labour, I can definitely wait for. I yearn for a vanity that’s bigger than a breadbox, and a toilet that doesn’t rock while you do your business. I’m also partial to closet doors that are hung right side up. But I can yearn all I want, it’s become quite a challenge to get our hands on the materials we’d like to buy. We are also planning to change all the interior doors in the house to a particular style that we both love but Home Depot don’t seem to want to sell them to us. They have the door on display and it says right on it, “Now In Stock”. But there is no price listed. And of course there are no doors in stock. One day when a miracle happened, we were able to talk to a real life, living, breathing employee.

(insert theme music for “Hinterland Who’s Who” here)

Male voiceover: The Orange-Breasted Home Depot Employee is a solitary creature, only making contact with others when absolutely necessary for survival or when cornered by members of another species. If cornered, this cagey animal acts stunned and nods its head until its foe backs away out of sheer frustration. The Orange-Breasted Home Depot Employee then promptly goes back into hiding until it’s next chance encounter.

(insert theme music here)

Anyway, they could not find any information regarding the price for these doors. So after much ‘taking down of information” and vehement promises to call us back and give us facials and pedicures, we waited 3 weeks. Calling and reminding them didn’t help either. We even went back and checked to see if they’d heard anything. What do we have to do to make them sell us a few doors?! Maybe if we threw in a bonus and promised to buy a lawn tractor too, or we could offer to pay 10% more for the doors as an incentive. So what is 10% of “I don’t know” anyway? We’ve given up on them and moved on and we’re hoping to strike a deal for actual doors (as opposed to the imaginary ones they’re not selling at Home Depot) at Totem. Nothing is ever simple.

In the summer we took a holiday in BC as usual but this time we stopped in Fernie where I lived until I was around 14. I wanted to show the kids all the places I had lived and gone to school. I was giddy with the anticipation of taking them on a tour of my childhood. Unfortunately, the elementary school where I attended the longest has been torn down. The highschool I attended is partially demolished and being converted to condos. The place where my Dad worked was bull-dozed and is now the town’s swimming pool facility. The outdoor swimming pool I swam in hundreds of times was filled in to become part of a centennial park. Fortunately, Wade saw most of these landmarks before it was too late when we were there in 1992, but the kids are convinced that I never lived there and that I’m making the whole thing up. Maybe CSIS is trying to erase my life piece by piece. They could be systematically removing any proof of my existence because they’ve heard about my crime of long-winded Christmas letters and are planning to ‘off’ me before I strike again. If you don’t hear from me next year, deny any association with me and don’t ask too many questions. Save yourselves, it will be too late for me.

This summer was a big one for Wade’s Mom. She had her 75th birthday in August. She’s still going strong, never stopping for long or for much. She lives in another town but drives to Calgary/Cochrane many times a year. We had her party here and Wade’s brothers and sister, nephews and their respective families all came. She’s not one to spend money on herself but had been saying that it was probably getting to be time to upgrade her 1998 vehicle. She doesn’t like shopping for those types of things and just kept putting it off. Since this was a special birthday everybody chipped in and bought her a nearly new small 2005 Toyota SUV. It’s similar to what she had, just a lot newer and she was completely shocked. Now we worry a little less when she’s hitting the highway and on the move. We also took over the hassle of selling her old vehicle (which offset the cost to everyone of the new vehicle) and she drove back to Drumheller in comfort, fully insured and registered with a fresh new license plate to go with her fresh new wheels. We think she’ll remember this birthday.

This summer was a big one for my Mom and Ben too. They got a dog. She’s a little Tea Cup Maltese and very cute.

She’s also very much a princess and though her name is Sophie, I’m certain that somewhere on some official document it reads “Grand Duchess Sophie of Cochraningham” (‘cause she thinks she’s all that). I don’t ever remember being as pampered as my new ‘sister’. I seem to remember home haircuts with crooked bangs but Miss Sophie goes to the beauty parlor every couple of months. I think she’s their favourite child now and I’m pretty sure they’re leaving everything to her in their will. Hayden really loves her though and they get along well.

Well that time has come again where I send you all good wishes. We love hearing from everybody at Christmas and we hope you’re all well.

Merry Christmas to all of you.

Love, Nicole,

P.S. The appliances say hello!


David said...

tell nicole I said hello


The last line made me smile. I need to keep track of this next I can write a Christmas letter. I like your hair.

Michelle sent me. :-)

PI said...

My goodness! How do you follow that?

cindy wilson said...

Your sis is real funny. I bet it would be a hoot hanging around the both of you..I didn't do Christmas letter with cards this year. Did finally get them sent out though.


Anonymous said...

Monette,,please tell Nicole I enjoyed this letter. She is a natural at this. I'm looking forward to next year's letter already. (do you think she remembers me from wayy back when?)
James Sinclair

Dara said...

This is the kind of Christmas letter I would love to get! Very creative and very hysterical.