The Ghosts of Christmas Past

Aunt, Uncle, cousin’s children 1980’s

It’s been a challenging two years for everyone. One of my Covid projects was to get a new laptop so I don’t freeze on Zoom. Sounds so appealingly simple doesn’t it?? Anyone who has been down this path knows that is not true. Especially if you do all the techy stuff yourself. I went through 3 computers until I found the right one. If only I had known what I wanted and if only laptops were in stock in Courtenay. That seems like my theme for the year. As part of my transfer of files were my millions of photos, so what could be more timely than a trip down memory lane of Christmas past. I said to myself that no one is interested in my family photo album.. except maybe my family and friends. But I have enough family to make this a worthwhile project.

My photo records go back to 1973 in London England where I had my first English Christmas. This Christmas dinner included I don’t remember what and three roommates, two from South Africa and one from England. Christmas in England was surprisingly low key compared to Canada. It was one of the first moments that I felt like I was living in a foreign country.

I come from a family with lots of relatives and have spent several memorable Christmas’s over the years with aunts, uncles and cousins over the years. Sadly some of my family members have passed away as has my Golden Retriever who lives on in my email address.

One of my more memorable Christmas was in 2009 with my brother in Saint John NB. You can start to see a theme here and it might be NUTCRACKERS. The costumes were provided by my brother’s friend who had come back from Asia with a lot of trinkets to resell. So my brother opened his house for a pop up store and we all got in the spirit. This was of course followed by lobster.

The dress up theme was continued at my Ottawa Christmas in 2011-2012. We had a Christmas craft moment and made Fascinators for everyone. You can see them modeled by the ladies of Ottawa Public Health and members and friends of my best friend’s family.

My Christmas travels have taken me to New York, Mexico, Phoenix, Costa Rica and Hornby Island.

This Covid version of Night Before Christmas is pretty creative. I don’t know who the author is as it came to me in an email. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. I hope that we can all get together for future Christmases.

Twas the night before Christmas, but Covid was here,
So we all had to stay extra cautious this year.
Our masks were all hung by the chimney with care
In case Santa forgot his and needed a spare.


With Covid, we couldn’t leave cookies or cake
So we left Santa hand sanitizer to take.
The children were sleeping, the brave little tots
The ones over 5 had just had their first shots,


And mom in her kerchief and me in my cap
Had just settled in for a long winter’s nap.
But we tossed and we turned all night in our beds
As visions of variants danced in our heads.


Gamma and Delta and now Omicron
These Covid mutations that go on and on
I thought to myself, “If this doesn’t get better,
I’ll soon be familiar with every Greek letter”.


Then just as I started to drift off and doze
A clatter of noise from the front lawn arose.
I leapt from my bed and ran straight down the stair
I opened the door, and an old gent stood there.


His N 95 made him look pretty weird
But I knew who he was by his red suit and beard.
I kept six feet away but blurted out quick
” What are you doing here, jolly Saint Nick?”


Then I said, “Where’s your presents, your reindeer and sleigh ?
Don’t you know that tomorrow will be Christmas Day? “.
And Santa stood there looking sad in the snow
As he started to tell me a long tale of woe.


He said he’d been stuck at the North Pole alone
All  his white collar elves had been working from home,
And most of the others said “Santa, don’t hire us!
We can live off the CERB now, thanks to the virus”.


Those left in the toyshop had little to do.
With supply chain disruptions, they could make nothing new.
And as for the reindeer, they’d all gone away.
None of them left to pull on his sleigh.


He said Dasher and Dancer were in quarantine,
Prancer and Vixen refused the vaccine,
Comet and Cupid were in ICU,
So were Donner and Blitzen, they may not pull through.


And Rudolph’s career can’t be resurrected.
With his shiny red nose, they all think he’s infected.
Even with his old sleigh, Santa couldn’t go far.
Every border to cross needs a new PCR.


Santa sighed as he told me how nice it would be
If children could once again sit on his knee.
He couldn’t care less if they’re naughty or nice
But they’d have to show proof that they’d had their shot twice.


But then the old twinkle returned to his eyes.
And he said that he’d brought me a Christmas surprise.
When I unwrapped the box and opened it wide,
Starlight and rainbows streamed out from inside.


Some letters whirled round and flew up to the sky
And they spelled out a word that was 40 feet high.
There first was an H, then an O, then a P,
Then I saw it spelled HOPE when it added the E.


“Christmas magic” said Santa, as he smiled through his beard.
Then suddenly… all of the reindeer appeared.
He jumped into his sleigh, and he waved me good-bye,
Then he soared o’er the rooftops and into the sky.


I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight
“Get your vaccines my friends, Merry Christmas, good-night.”
Then I went back to bed and a sweet Christmas dream
Of a world when we’d finished with Covid 19.

Shades of Violet

Violet has many shades since it is made up of blue and red. The red violet is warmer and the blue violet runs cooler towards purple. There are so many shades of violet in watercolours, it is temping to do a whole painting in shades of violet. Which I did below. It’s a collage based on a life drawing I did many years ago.

I’ve picked a view examples of violet from my walks and beachcoming following the #sundaystills blog post series.

White from coast to coast.

White is the theme for this weeks #Sundaystills so I am taking you on a cross-Canada virtual tour strarting in Saint John NB. White is an easy pick in Canada because we have winter which lends itself to lots of pictures of ice and snow. So let’s begin. One of the iconic images of Canada is the backyard ice rink. This one was beside my brother’s house in Saint John NB, as is the house across the street, decorated for Xmas.

Moving west, the next stop is Ottawa in winter and spring. The Rideau River runs through Ottawa and freezes over in the winter. Skating on the river is a popular winter activity. The city hosts WinterFest which includes a bed race on the frozen river, ice sculptures and some unusual creatures. Ottawa is well known for its tulip festival in May/June.

 

Our next stop is Niagara Falls. What could be whiter? Along with a stop at Niagara Falls I went to wedding at a winery. Nothing says white like a wedding, right?

Moving across the country, the next selection are natural history photos on the west coast. Vancouver is well known for its early flowering cherry trees, magnolias and rhododendroms and is well worth a trip in April/May. 

White is a common colour on water birds. A close look reveals a wide range of patterns in nature.  Trumper Swan, common merganser and widgeon wings, all in the Courtenay BC area.