Winter Wonderland

Okay, it’s not *quite* Wonderland out there, especially because to us Southern Ontarians, Wonderland is a place with a lot of fun rides and over priced chili fries.

This would suck covered in ice

This would suck covered in ice

But somehow, I’m not super pissed about the snow this year. I’m actually sort of….well I’m afraid that if I say I’m enjoying it I’ll get skewered by a foot long icicle – ’tis the way of the winter justice. I am surprised, however, by how minimally pissed I am at this most recent dumping of chilly, frozen flaked water all over my city.

It could be for a number of reasons:

– I have purchased, for the first time in many years, a ‘sensible’ pair of boots. Wedge heel. Fuzzy. Muklukish without being ugly. On sale. None of this ‘winter heel’ business for me anymore.

Fashionable, yet not retarded

– I have a nice coat. Not just a warm coat, but a nice, long, extremely pretty and in-style coat that makes me feel like I’m in Casablanca. Except, you know, with ice.


Not this nice, but pretty close

– Up until this morning when I had to take a $5 taxi ride two blocks to the subway station, I had the transit schedule all figured out. This one might take some readjusting, but generally speaking I am able to leave my apartment right before the bus pulls up to the stop just across the street. Less than five minutes outside in the mornings? I can dig it.


– Indoor shopping. Toronto is used to the cold, and so there are a myriad of ways to get your shopping done, even grocery shopping, without ever having to step foot outside. Malls connect to the subway system, and once you get right into the core of the city, the PATH winds through most of the major buildings and transit, all without even looking towards the doors outside. Now if I can just find an indoor laundromat…

This is indoors, suckers! Mahahaha!

Toronto's PATH system: because the outdoors is for losers

– In the event that I do not find an indoor laundromat, I have discovered one that is even closer to my apartment than the one I’ve been using hitherto. I don’t even have to cross any intersections, which can be kind of dicey on my street. It’s a little more expensive and frankly not as nice, but it’s smaller, not as busy, plays classical music, and has no attendant. You’d think that would be a downside, but I prefer to not have people around when I’m out running errands or washing my undergarments.

– Toronto does have some rad winter stuff going on. And by the time I’m back here I’ll have someone who’ll actually be excited to attend such events even though we do, as Josh puts it, “turn everything into some weird abstract art thing.”

Cavalcade of Lights

Weird abstract art - still pretty!

 – I have a new weapon against the frozen, treacherous tundra that will be my sidewalks within a few weeks. It’s a phone number. You call it and tattle on all the lazy fucktards that didn’t shovel their snow, letting it instead be compounded into frozen footprints that are out to break my ankles every year. Seriously, I have developed this ridiculous fear of breaking my ankles. I will call that number fifteen times a day if I have to. I’ll call it on my own damn landlords. My ankles are grateful for my city’s well-spent tax dollars.


– It’s a white Christmas! Surprisingly enough, we almost never get snow in time for Christmas. It shows up right at the beginning of January and clobbers our asses until Easter. And given that with a little luck this should be my last Canadian Christmas for a couple of years, I’m very pleased that the weather is going all storybook for me this time around.

My place does not look like this...but up the street it does!

– Money has been okay this year. I didn’t have to carefully plan each and every gift according to how many groceries I’d have to knock off the list. I was able to go out and buy exactly what I wanted without a second thought. Which does wonders for those last minute items, especially when Christmas is distressingly close to the rent cheque.

Damn expensive holiday!

And now the big reason:

– I told the Family to fuck off this year. Well not really, but I’ve never enjoyed the whole family holiday thing. And this year I said so.

Last year was a big deal. It was the last year my grandparents would be around before moving to Quebec, and my long lost cousin flew in with his fiancee from Vancouver. So for the first time in….possibly ever, that entire side of the family was together for Christmas. I went, even though I was ridiculously medicated and probably an embarassment. It was a big deal to me, and I went out of my way to get a little something for everybody, even the fiancee I’d never met. This year, I’m doing my own thing.

This year, I am going to a friends house for a Christmas Eve visit with her and the wee ones. I’ll wake up by myself – seriously, how is this some kind of tragedy? I don’t get it. I’m going to make sure I have a super clean kitchen the night before, and will make myself a really nice breakfast with mimosas and eggs florentine. I’ll say Merry Christmas to Josh if he’s around, and then make my way to the same friends house for a big gathering with her and her awesomely Greek family for what she is dubbing “Orphan Christmas.” There will be food, drink, and a related assortment of merriment. And since they’re Greek there will be more festivities for Orthodox Christmas later on. I’ll see my actual family in small, quiet doses on Boxing Day.

It’s not that I don’t like my family. I just don’t understand why every year we all rush through our Christmas mornings to haul our asses out to the suburbs in ridiculous holiday traffic to get to The Big Family Event by 2pm. Everyone bitches every year because the same aunt/uncle always show up late. I adore this aunt/uncle because they do their holidays their way. They open their gifts slowly and take the time to appreciate them, and show up to The Big Family Event when it suits them. The rest of us are usually in mid-crisis by this point. There is screaming and frantic organizing, paper thrown to and fro, gifts exchanged between cousins who don’t even know each other in ‘real life’. Food shovelled onto plates. I usually fill up on carrots and potatos. Every year I leave exhausted, cranky, shaky, carrying buckets of stuff that someone less fortunate could use far more than I, and I usually don’t remember who got me what. Then we all drive further into the frozen suburbs to visit even more extended family and stand around awkwardly. Everyone else seems to know how to do this, but I’m still lacking the ability to care about people I only see once a year. So I leave even more cranky, sleep deprived, with the general feeling of having been poked and prodded unpleasantly, and the lingering fear of “am I the only one who doesn’t know how to do this shit?” I do not enjoy these excursions.

Like this but with more panic and no Cousin Eddie

Also, I know you don’t really have to be religious these days, but what is this need to cram ourselves together in a room to celebrate what amounts to not much more than a giant shopping spree?

a christmas exegesis

As far as I’m concerned, if you’re not into the religious aspect of it, then the spirit of Christmas is more about little kids. Seeing them get all excited, hear stories about reindeer and gingerbread things. I’ve got one age-appropriate cousin that I never see, and all other cousins/siblings/etc. are well past the age of Santa. So I don’t see the point, especially when the little one has no idea who I am. My friends kids, on the other hand, run to the door when I visit! “Auntie Em, yaaaaay!!!” I am so all about that this year.


I’m thinking that Christmas and winter in general is stressing me out far less this year because I finally feel like a grown up. I’ve got my shit together, I know what I’m doing, and I’m not overly concerned with how I’m expected to celebrate. I’ve got awesome friends this year and an awesome boyfriend next year (and this year, but especially next year.) The coming months are already filled with plans of adventure and I’m really looking forward to it. 2008 started off a bit rough but is ending fantastically. 2009 should kick even further ass.

I’ll see y’all there! And until then, I’m going to keep doing it my way.


  1. joanharvest said,

    December 22, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Christmas is way out of control. My daughter and I are making all our gifts this year. The only actual presents I bought were for her Christmas stocking. I bought my son some socks and underwear but have yet to mail them. He’s struggling in South Carolina just to eat so I did send him some (not much) money.

    I think it’s great that you are doing what you want for Christmas instead of what is expected.

    I just follow my daughter around for Christmas. She tells me where to go and all I have to do is put on clothes and jump in the car and she even drives me. Getting old has it’s percs.

    I am being very careful on the ice. I already broke my ass once. I don’t think it could take another fall.

    Have fun on Christmas!!

  2. javajunkee said,

    December 22, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    your pictures are making me jealous! You are not even kidding? Your ass gets dropped off from the subway INTO a building where you can shop?? Now why don’t we have that going on over/down here? How f’ing brilliant!

    Your holiday idea sounds perfect!

  3. CuriousC said,

    December 22, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    “Fashionable yet not retarded.” THAT is one hell of a great mantra! I aspire to this, too.

    LOVED the photos of the lights!

    and do have a Merry Holiday whichever way you celebrate! 🙂

  4. Pure Evyl said,

    December 23, 2008 at 2:20 am

    Damn that looks cold.

  5. Josh said,

    December 24, 2008 at 6:16 am

    Seriously, what the hell is it with you people and your weird ass art displays? They aren’t even correctly themed half the time, just some random shit thrown up in the middle of the city and given some equally random name, probably thought up using some kind of methamphetamines and mad libs. Oh hey what’s that odd looking loopdy loop in front of the building with whirling lighty gizmos and a french horn for music? Oh that’s the RBC’s grand magister display for easter. Nice, how about the curtain thing in front of that building covered in coupons clipped out of newspapers? That’s a city art display on the reflection of Christ’s impact on the holiday Toy’s R’ Us sales, it’s called, “Fractals of a Redeeming Thoroughfare”.

    Anyway, enough ranting. I love you baby, and merry Christmas, even if you aren’t a kid anymore. (which would make our relationship illegal) Have fun with the peeps, and say hi to everyone for me, and we can have fun celebrating together eventually, since neither one of us has gotten our Christmas shit together in time for the actual day. 😉

  6. JavaQueen said,

    December 24, 2008 at 6:52 am

    Wow, where do I even begin??? Love the boots but I’m not sure they are going to protect you from broken ankles- frozen footsteps, brrrr- grrrrr- makes me cold and angry, I cannot even imagine having to walk through that. I’m clumsy as it is- I don’t need extra help! The pics you took are amazing- I hope you and your sweetie have an awesome Christmas! The Greek Christmas sounds fun 🙂

  7. December 24, 2008 at 7:54 am

    Merry Christmas, Auntie Em! 😀

  8. December 24, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    We must ALWAYS do it our way…we even have to believe that the goddamn mistakes we’ve made are correct and really, in some f’d up way they are. Failures sometimes mean gains and wins inevitably become losses.

    It’s all about persepctive. Mine is to spend Christmas alone. Why? I need it. I have a family that defines the word “fractured” and no significant other. So I plan to curl up in front of my TV, with a bottle of wine, some dark chocolate and watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” and shed restorative years and at 11:59 PM tonight I’ll make my annual vow to never spend another Christmas alone.

    Jeez, I think I’m gonna become a Jew in ’09.

    You’re a gifted and talented woman. I deeply respect your shit.

    Happy Merry,
    Laurie Kendrick

  9. romi41 said,

    December 24, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    I think your own version of Christmas will be a great one, and I wanna hear all about it!

    PS: if you can find boots that are “Muklukish without being ugly”, you have seriously hit the jackpot 😉 ..Merry Christmas! 🙂

  10. Charity said,

    December 25, 2008 at 1:45 am

    Sounds like an excellent way to spend Christmas to me. Enjoy every minute of it!

  11. David said,

    December 27, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Really enjoyed your xmas reflections Emerald! You sound like a grownup indeed. All I can think to say about those lazy-ass non-snow-clearing fucktards is, uh, what would JEEZISS do?!?!? Well he would surely PUKE at the whole xmas orgy, then probably ask for a double whiskey and a couple more nails. SACRILEGE!! GO! OW!!

    I wish it wasn’t foisted on the children so, because that’s how it gets perpetuated. It is a gigantic CON. Just like fucking Disney.

    Happy New Year!!

  12. nursemyra said,

    December 28, 2008 at 10:39 am

    great images

  13. Emerald said,

    December 29, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    @ Joan Harvest: Merry Christmas to you and yours! I’m definitely all about the low-key this year. And next year will probably be low-key and crafty as well. I can’t wait to come up with fun frugal gifts/decorations/activities/etc. Stay tuned, yo!

    @ Javajunkee: Seriously, the PATH is one of the best things about Toronto. It can be hard to navigate, but the only thing you need to know is that if you keep wandering you will eventually find a subway. Subway = the way home. Other than that it’s all about staying inside and toasty.

    @ Curious C: Thanks, Happy Holidays to you too! I didn’t actually take those pictures, I must confess. Just random Google searches, but they have inspired me to at least try going outdoors once or twice this season 😉

    @ Evyl: Damn cold indeed!

    @ Mah Behbeh: Fractals of a Redeeming Thoroughfare? 😛 Whatever you’re smoking, save some for me. And I love you too! I’ll send your gifts out today.

    @ JavaQueen: I’m having good luck with the boots so far, plus we just got a city wide melt so the ice isn’t too bad. I’ll have more pics soon! Some of them with me in them!

    @ Peter Parkour: Merry Christmas to you too!

    @ Laurie: Sounds like a plan, my dear. I respect the ass out of your stuff too!

    @ Romi: I also hit a chocolate jackpot. Pictures coming soon! Happy festivities to you as well! Did you do any kind of overly PC corporate dealio? Do tell!

  14. Emerald said,

    December 29, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    @ Charity: Thank you, I had a great time! Tales of merriment shall follow soon! I hope all was grand for you and yours as well 🙂

    @ David: The whole Christmas thing has really gotten out of control. And even when it is ‘just for the kids’, it just turns into this ginourmous buy-fest that really does strike me as so unnecessary. Oh well. Until I see an anti-capitalist system actually work I guess I’ll just have to suck it up and enjoy the lights 😉 Happy New Year to you too!

    @ Nursemyra: Well I guess I should thank Google for those, but the next images I put up will be straight from my world to yours! Or rather the shared collective that is the interwebs. Thanks for stopping by!

  15. nursemyra said,

    December 29, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    well I like the pictures of canadian lights and snow best but the “wrong card” is pretty damn good too!

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