Did you go skiing? Mountain climbing? How about a Cruise? Or were you stuck at home with irritable family members?
If you are older than 14, then you know the Holidays are nothing short of a royal pain in the a$$. I for one, am thrilled that they are now over. The 2-3 weeks leading up to Christmas Day are the worst. The mad shoppers, the crazed mall parking lot drivers, the people grasping for the last 25lb turkey in the market…out of your own buggy even. The lack of sleep, the constant apron tied to your waist as you stand knee deep in flour and colourful cookie sprinkles.
Next year I am seriously considering heading down south to lay on a beach with a mojito… or two or three and foregoing hosting Christmas Eve for my family as well as brunch Christmas morning with our kids. I am not likely to get away with it though.
Since we purchased our humble ‘casita por el lago’ a couple years ago, we now vamoose after brunch and head up Highway 11 to the peace and quiet of the near north.
This year we added a new tradition on Christmas Day…everyone, kids, son-in-law, hubby and myself, after clearing away the brunch dishes and tidying up the dining room, headed in to the living room and promptly started dismantling the tree. Son-in-law surely thought we were nuts. But there was a method to our madness. We were going to be up at the Homestead for 10 days and I didn’t want to come back on January 6th to a bare tree and a pile of brown needles on the floor.
So out the front door went the tree and the ornaments and clutter knickknacks packed up and put back into storage. By 1:00 p.m., the house was back to its pre-Christmas state. We then loaded up the cars, kicked the kids out and we were on our way.
By 5:30 p.m., we were sipping cold cervezas and snacking on leftovers of cheese, crackers and kielbasa for Christmas Dinner. It was heaven.
The next week went as follows:
10:30 p.m. ~ Go to bed (collapse is a better word)
8:00 a.m. ~ Get out of bed
We did this for 8 days, with not much done in-between. I couldn’t believe how much we slept while we were there.
On New Year’s Eve day, we ventured into town for a few groceries and to stock up on beer for our wild party we had planned that night (ha!). While in town, we stopped in at Canadian Tire and picked up some new toys….
If you are serious about living in the northland where there can be at least a foot and a half of snow on the ground from December to April, you may as well get some stuff to make the winter more enjoyable. I have always hated winter…yes hated it. But somehow, being away from the city streets of Southern Ontario makes me actually like it now. Last year I bought a really good pair of boots, which are the key to being able to enjoy the winter. If your feet are warm, then you are warm. This year I also bought snow pants.
I haven’t worn snow pants since I was 10 yrs old. The familiar swoosh-swoosh-swoosh sound as you walk brings back fond childhood memories and I was then looking around for my hockey stick to whack my unruly brother with (sibling rivalry at its best).
So the next day, (New Year’s Day) we bundled up (it was -22C), then unbundled and went for a pee, re-bundled and headed outside to strap on our new toys and walk out onto the frozen, snow covered lake.
Snowshoeing is one of the things the average everyday person can excel at in about 3 seconds flat. You do not need to spend moolah on lessons or know anything about them. Just step into the bindings, snug them down, then lift, march, lift, march and away you go. After walking about 100 feet, we were toasty warm as you expend quite a bit of energy in the process of using them. For those looking for a new workout routine? Try snowshoeing, it is low-impact and boosts your heart rate in a hurry.
As we headed back to the Homestead, I thought why didn’t we buy these sooner? I love them! We were only going to be up for another few days so I best get as much use out of them as I could before we headed back south. These are the best ‘presents’ we ever bought ourselves. Ok, maybe the paddle boat we bought last summer was nicer, you don’t need to bundle up in snow pants and 20 layers to use that.
Snowshoeing is a lot safer than tobogganing too (I broke my ankle when I was younger doing that so have sworn off anything that you can lose control of on a snowy slope), and skating hurts my feet, but I am now looking forward to next winter at the Homestead and using my new found winter sporting equipment…I wonder if there is an Olympic Snow Shoeing event???