Saturday, 29 March 2014

Last of the Old & New Year Celebrations


I still have to clear up the minutiae of December-January celebrations. There is always so much crammed into those few weeks between December 22nd & January 7th.

David’s Birthday

David’s birthday was fairly low-key this year, as we had too much going on to do anything that involved a lot of planning/people. But as we’re both really family-focused, our low key fĂȘting of David still managed to make him feel loved and keep him as the center of attention. His birthday happened to fall on a Sunday, which is great as we both try to keep that as a day of rest.

Being Sunday, we kicked off the day with Mass in the morning. Then it was off to Peacock’s for chocolate scones & tea. And then it was back home for presents & pictures & naptime (for the kids). Meanwhile, I went off to make supper (ribs two ways (honey garlic & bbq); popovers; brussel sprouts; pineapple upside down cake with ice cream & whipping cream; beer).

Written down, it doesn’t sound like much but with the crazy hours that David had been keeping due to PhD work it felt like a gift for all of us just to be able to have a whole day with him.

the official commemorative photo
And, as an extra birthday treat, we sent him off to Cambridge so that he could see The Hobbit. I really wanted to go with him, but we didn’t think it was prudent to take the babies and it’s a bit awkward to find a sitter when you don’t know anyone in town! Fortunately he had a good time and I managed to survive a day alone with the kids.

New Year’s

We’re really rocking the low-key celebrations right now. New Year’s actually ended up being a blast, even tho’ it was centered on staying in & watching movies (Strange Days & The Hudsucker Proxy). We got a spicy curry box and some appie trays from Tesco, along with beer & a fine bottle of cava. At midnight we had our cava (and the cork managed to do a fantastic ricochet off of two walls and onto a sleeping Emily) and watched the countdown, I made my annual phonecalls (in which my family seems to think I’m really wasted because I find it really neat that I’m calling them From-The-Future in a completely different year and this just really doesn’t seem to impress them and hence they talk to me in loud, slow voices) , and I fell into a deep, cava-induced sleep.

On New Year’s Day we headed out for our annual tradition – New Year’s brunch. We went to Street Cafe to greet the day with a Full English (or beans & eggs if you’re Walter). This is the first year that we’ve actually seen people out & about on New Year’s Day, a big change from Cambridge (and even Victoria). I’d hoped to go for a family walk but the weather was so blustery that we had to scrap those plans and head home to warm up.
this is actually on Boxing Day, but her state of confusion remained the whole time it was cold & we were outside -- she's pretty sure that responsible parents keep their babies at home, indoors, & bundled up when the weather is bad!
 Ukrainian Christmas

While [most of] my Protestant friends have their Christmas decorations down by January 1st and my Catholic friends are happily taking them down on Epiphany (January 6th), we’re still going strong for at least one more day. Ukrainian Christmas falls on January 7th and we use it as a day to celebrate my heritage. We eat Ukrainian, or pseudo-Ukrainian, food and sometimes there are presents and always there are phone calls to my family. Calling Gramma for Ukrainian Christmas is one of my favourite things to do, because she is always so excited to remember that she’s Ukrainian. Ely has a few “continental grocers”, which a few years in England has taught me means Polish food. With a little creativity it’s not too difficult to assemble a meal that sort of picks up on elements from the food we had on special occasions as a kid – pierogie ruskie (perogies filled with potato & cheese), smoked sausage, kapusta (sauerkraut), dill pickles... I am so thankful for these Polish grocers, as it is so difficult to find these foods outside of them. This year we had perogies with fried mushrooms & onions, kielbassa, pickles, and some ginger cookies. It was a delicious meal, all the more so because it had been a year or so since we’d been able to indulge in these foods, and it was nice for me to spend some time introducing the babies to some family traditions. With the violence & unrest currently going on in Ukraine, we’ve all been thinking about our ancestral land a lot of late and blessing the luck of foresight & fate that pushed my Great-Grandparents to leave their country and start afresh in Canada.