Friday, December 30, 2011

It Was the Best of Years, It Was the Worst of Years

In many ways this year was very tough - career frustrations and the loss of someone close to me gave me a lot of stress. However, many good things happened this year too, and when it comes right down to it, I think it's best to focus on the positive. So, I thought it would be great to make a list of the 'best of' moments from my year. I hope you all have a few fun and fabulous things to put on your own list!

1. First skate on the Canada Games Oval
2. Visiting Sue the T-Rex

1. 1st Geocaching event (Fortress Louisbourg)
2. 1st Oscar Party (rosewater whoopie pies!)
3. Free Joel Plaskett concert in Grand Parade, thanks to the Canada Games
4. Brazilian Carnival
5. New job (event planning!)

1. Girl's weekend at White Point Beach Lodge (bunnies, board games and beach)

1. Learning how to salsa at Club Caliente
2. Easter weekend trip to PEI with the boy (also our 6-month anniversary!)
3. 1st Yelp! Halifax Elite party at the Atlantica (reconnecting with old acquaintences)

1. Making my 1st quiche (Mother's Day!)

1. 1st Geocaching challenge (Nova Scotia Provincial Parks)
2. Discovering Deadman's Island
3. Greek-fest!
4. Tom Selleck siting in downtown Halifax

1. TeamBuy Halifax 'Choose Your Own Adventure' blog challenge
2. Free Jazzfest tickets and discovering Harry Manx and Sisters Euclid
3. Softball tournament fun with the boy's colleagues
4. Riding a bike for the first time in...a LONG time (Bike and Bean!)
5. Wedding of a University friend
6. New cat!

1. Wedding of my childhood best friend
2. Halifax Beerfest!
3. Exploring McNab's Island
4. Hike at York Redoubt (1st visit!)

1. Long-weekend trip to Cape Breton - Whycocomagh, Highlands National Park, Meat Cove
2. Elton John concert in PEI!
3. 1st visit to Oaklawn Farm Zoo

1. Road trip to New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Salem, Boston)
2. Me and the boy's 1 year anniversary
3. Visit to Luckett's Vineyards
4. New job!

1. Meeting Nicholas Brendon at Hal-Con Sci-Fi convention

1. Visit from my brother and his husband (all the way from New Zealand!)
2. Who knows?! There's still 1.5 days left in the month :)

January 2012 onward...
I guess we'll see :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Special Delivery

This past weekend, the boy and I took a little trip to Bide Awhile animal shelter. No, we didn't go to pick out a new pet (although I would love to adopt every cat in the place - alas, I can only handle one cat at this stage in my life), but to make a special delivery.

I decided, since there really isn't anything I need or want (and I don't like my friends and family feeling pressure to find something I will like/need), instead of birthday gifts I would accept donations of pet stuff this year. I got a few things from generous friends and bought a few things myself, and we took it all over to the shelter on Saturday.

A bag of cat litter, a litter pan, some toys and food may not seem like a lot but this kind of stuff is really valuable to a shelter like Bide Awhile - they depend so much not only on monetary donations, but on donations of supplies. They not only need to feed the cats and dogs and provide beds for them, they also need supplies to keep the office running, to clean and disinfect cages, and distribute much-needed medications. Most people wouldn't think of packages of paper, bleach and facecloths as important items for an animal shelter, but they are often needed just as much as the usual staples.

After we made our delivery, we stopped into the 'cat room' to get/give some cuddles and play with the kitties up for adoption. The Director of the shelter was there talking to another visitor, and pointed out something really fascinating about one of the cats - it was born a hermaphrodite! i.e. with both male and female reproductive parts! He said in 25 years it was only the 2nd he had ever seen. I thought that was so interesting, and an important lesson considering the cat looked like any other in the room, yet had its own special (hidden) characteristics. Of course, it is sort of a moot point now since he/she is both spayed and neutered, but interesting just the same!

The aforementioned little guy...erm, girl...erm, cat
It's a cliche, but it really does feel good to help out those in need at this time of year...well, at all times of the year actually. I have decided to take a donation to the shelter twice a year if I can. I figure it's the least I can do.

Is there a particular group, charity or cause in your community that you really care about? Consider make a special delivery to them sometime. You never know - you may just make someone's day...and learn something fascinating!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bouquets of Sharpened Pencils

Remember when I entered this contest to win $500 in books from Chronicle? Weeeeeell, alas I did not win. Again. What can I say - I'm not very lucky I guess.

Ah well, there's always next year! And congrats to the winner! Besides, that's not all they wrote because - as a thank you for participating in the promotion - Chronicle is giving a great discount on book orders:

up to 35% off + Free Ground Shipping
Enter HAULIDAYS at checkout

Go forth and purchase books at a discount! For some reason this statement makes me think of Joe Fox - "I sell cheap books! I do! So sue me". (completely off-topic but You've Got Mail is one of the cutest movies ever).

Speaking of books, I sorta found out about one of my big Christmas gifts a little early...

AHHHHH - that's right, baby. It's a Kobo Vox e-reader (for my American friends, this is basically the Canadian Kindle - the Canindle?). I just love the concept of these things - I love having hundreds of books and magazines and newspapers right at my fingertips with no wasteful piles of paper and ink (or sagging, space-sucking bookshelves). I take the bus every day and always have a book with me to read, so this thing will definitely get some use. Very handy for the morning commute.

Ok, so it's not really a surprise but my mom had to tell me I was getting it so she could make sure to get me the one I wanted. And this is my big gift - I find now that I'm no longer a kid (well, at least not in age) I am more interested in getting one main gift every Christmas than piles and piles of gifts. It's more about quality - i.e. getting one gift that will be really useful to me - than quantity - i.e. getting as many gifts as possible. Last year I asked for a Tassimo coffeemaker. Next year I'll probably ask for a vacuum or something similarly lame.

So, what are you asking for for Christmas? Do you have an e-reader? If so, what do you think of it? What are your thoughts on e-books vs. paper books?

Happy Haulidays, all! Only one week away (as hard as it is to believe).