The Day Before The Night Before Christmas

Christmas Eve 2013

There’s no WiFi at our new place…this has made blogging quite difficult. Luckily, our neighbour Chris (Mancuso!) has plenty and will, on occasion, be sharing it with us. That means…today we can catch everyone up with our goings on…you know, before you go offline and tech-free over Christmas (oh my gawd, i kill me)

Last Sunday (December 15), we went to the Sunshine Coast Community Orchestra’s Christmas Concert, in Sechelt. It is a true ‘community orchestra’, with musicians ranging from professional to rank newcomer. We’ve been told that their new director is whipping them into shape

The afternoon event was held in the Sechelt Indian Band Hall. What a fantastic place. It’s vast interior is covered in cedar planking, fantastic artwork and includes a full size cedar canoe, suspended from the ceiling. The acoustics are bang on too

The audience appears to be made up mostly of the musician’s families and friends. There is an air in the hall not unlike that at a kid’s school Christmas Concert

Our Master of Ceremonies seems very sweet and has a tremendous tenor voice…we’re taking a picture of his sweater for our nephew Will (and for you Cosby fans)

The Orchestra’s director is Edette Gagner. She’s fantastic. She is clearly identifiable as the Conductor, even before the concert, by the way she vibrates with the nervous, pre-performance energy of a Professional. She’s also clearly in charge and she has guided this group, well beyond their individual talents, to a very high level of performance

Oh…and Bryan Cranston played bass

On Tuesday (December 16) we went over to the Trail Bay Centre in Sechelt to help Kirk move some of his stock into another space. We discovered yesterday that there had been a small fire in his store…this has necessitated the move…and Kirk asked if we’d lend a hand. It’s always great to see Kirk and Fender Bender and it’s awesome to have an opportunity to give back to a guy who is so generous and kindhearted

Boy…this wood is really heavy (as the actress said to the bishop)

Kirk, being Kirk, won’t let us leave empty handed….he gives us a dozen homemade pierogies (oh baby!)

Dinner is a feast

Hang on a second while I eat…

Five Minutes Later

Last night, Chris came over for a housewarming dinner of Moroccan Lamb Stew. Today, (Thursday December 18), after Yoga, we went over to visit our barber friends (the Lachance brothers) in Sechelt. It’s always great to see them because they LOVE to talk Baseball. While I was there…I also got a haircut How’d ya like it?

The Christmas Tree artwork was done by one of their daughters…it’s made from hundreds of tiny pins

This ‘Major Award’, the boys made themselves…and it is proudly displayed, every Christmas

After the haircut, we went out and found a tree. We have to have a tree…particularly since Zohan has crafted such lovely ornaments for it. I think we found a real beauty too…and decorated with Zohan’s handmade ornaments (of wrapped straws and T.P rolls)…it’s freakin awesome

And it was only $9.50 at ‘Crappy Tire’

Miss Frida May Mackie likes to sit up on the kitchen table. That way you can’t eat anything without her knowing about it

Oh yes…Frida loves the food. I’ve known a lot of cats. I’ve had at least one in my life since I was five-years-old and once upon a time we had five of them…and I have never before met a cat who begs at the table like Frida. Especially if you’re eating Pork. And if you ignore her, she grabs your arm and tries to pull you down low…so she can suck you in with her puppy-dawg eyes (resist Moose…resist)

She was very standoffish at first but has been warming to us lately…mostly because we have stayed out of her face (and fed her on time)

Friday December 19

Well…the big snowstorm hit as expected. We woke up to a winter wonderland of snow. The trees were covered with a thick blanket and the roads were impassable…


We threw on our winter gear and headed out to play in it

We weren’t the only ones enjoying the serenity of a calm winter’s morn

Look up…look waaayyyy up

We trekked down the hill to Chris’ place. He and Kato we’re in the living room reading and playing video games. We banged on the window and told them it was time to put some warm clothes on and get outside. Chris said that Kato didn’t have any winter clothes with him so…

…we went home and grabbed extras…

…and brought them back to Chris’

Alright…now let’s get out there and meet the neighbours

Hey…did you just throw that snowball at me?


The ocean front was beautiful…even the drift logs were blanketed

This gull was trying to swallow a rigidly frozen starfish…whole. We stopped and enjoyed the show for quite a while. He knew we were laughing at him so he looked us right in the eye and gave it his best try…and failed again. Finally, he spit it out, grabbed it by one of its appendages and flew off in a huff

Gawd birds are dumb (‘oh no you dih-int’)

We found this good looking fella drumming into a tree. What an unexpected treat to be able to get close enough to watch this activity without interruption

Wendy also got some great video and if you’d like to see it…just click onto this link

While we were outside, Chris’ other neighbour (Cory) was still digging her car out of the snow. She then tried unsuccessfully to make it up the hill to the highway. A few minutes later, she tried again…with tire chains. When this didn’t work, we knew that we were snowed in for the day. Best just to hunker down and enjoy it

Check out this old cedar tree in Chris’ front yard…that’s a survivor

Later that evening, we went back to Chris’ and watched ‘A Christmas Story’ with the guys

The weather has already changed and the snow is beginning to drop from some very tall trees. All night long we listen tentatively to the crash of it slamming heavily onto the roof of the house, wondering when one will bust through the ceiling and onto our heads (it sounds eerily like bodies being dropped)

Saturday morning (December 20) dawns bright and sunny. Snow still covers the ground and vegetation but the roads are clear and passable

We head off to Sechelt for a uniform fitting at Mr. Mender. Our first day as Mountain Hosts on Dakota Ridge is on Boxing Day, so we’re among the first of the volunteers to receive our jackets

Every volunteer receives a brand new Helle Hansen ski jacket (embroidered to the nines) prior to setting foot before the public. The jackets are all top of the line and the effort made to by the organizers to outfit their staff properly (particularly their Volunteers) demonstrates appreciation and efficiency…something that other organizations might wish to emulate (not mentioning any names)

The fitting goes very well…Mr. Mender even has a XXL for the truly large and ungainly. We’re to pick them up any time Monday

Saturday evening we head over to J.J.’s for his Birthday soirée. Renee, Bryan, Adelie and Daniel are there…as are Chris and Colin (who popped into town for the event). Colin’s was going to surprise Wendy but she was forewarned by both Chris and Adelie. ‘Colin, Wendy was very surprised when she heard and reacted exactly as you would have wished…you just weren’t there to enjoy it’

Austin, Adelie’s partner, introduces Bryan and I to ‘Hive’, a new hexagonal tile game. It’s like playing three dimensional chess…without a board

It has something to do with Algorithms and of course Bryan, is a natural. He schools both Austin and I several times

If you like chess and are looking for something new, fresh and challenging…I would highly recommend playing HIVE

Monday December 23

After Yoga we stopped in and picked up our jackets from Mr. Mender…they’re pretty snazzy

Listen…we have a bunch of last minute Christmas stuff to do…and probably so do you. So, we’re going to leave now and we’ll see you tomorrow for the big day

Goodnight all

Moose and Wendle


Christmas advice…ever since Will was four years old, I’ve woken him up on Christmas morning to the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ blasting full throttle from the stereo. You have to get up really early to do it….but it really adds to the drama (ya know, angels on high and all)…and it really messes with their heads


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