Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays, Everyone! There are a lot of different celebrations this time of year, but they all share the same general ideas… so whether you prefer Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, Solstice or something more personal (the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Fitr is on a different, lunar calendar), we wanted to wish you a safe and happy Holiday Season and a New Year filled with as much love, joy, peace, adventure, contentment, prosperity and excitement as you can handle!

As a gift, we’d love to share this with you: TEDxSF – Louie Schwartzberg – Gratitude

Thanks so much for dropping by our little corner of the ‘net!


(P.S.  Thanks to John for the idea for the image at the top!)

He Says, She Says… How to Be Santa Claus

Hello, Dear Reader:

Being Christmas eve and all, it seemed like an appropriate topic for today.  This ‘He Says, She Says…‘ post is going to be primarily a ‘He Says’, and it’s likely to be our last blog post of 2010, so I’ll add in a greeting from Marcia as well:  However you celebrate it, we wish a joyous Holiday season to you and to those near and dear to your heart.

When you look like me, a lot of kids call you Santa Claus.  I’m also very fortunate to have my own Mrs. Claus.  Being called Santa may be partly because of the white hair and beard, but I still remember one day over 15 years ago when I was standing at an ATM outside (in July) wearing a headband, sunglasses, denim jacket and jeans, and a girl passing by called out, “Look mom, it’s Santa Claus!” “No, I don’t think so.” was the reply.  “Yeah, it is!”  Mom was thinking ‘Hells Angels’ was more likely, but the little girl could see through the disguise.  I also remember the first time a little one, too young to talk, walked by with his dad in hand.  As they walked away the little one began saying, “Ho Ho Ho.  Ho Ho Ho…”  His dad didn’t know what he was going on about, but we did.

However, this isn’t a post about how to look like Santa Claus, it’s about how to be Santa Claus, no matter what you look like.  And that’s something anyone can do, no matter your faith or beliefs.  The ‘father’ of the modern day Santa Claus was St. Nicholas, a Grecian man who lived in Lycia in the 4th century.  Born to wealthy parents, they died when he was young and he was raised by his uncle.  As he grew up St. Nick was a pious man, and very generous with what he had.  He also encouraged his associates to be generous as well.  There are a number of stories about his life; this is one of my favourites… Continue Reading →

He Says, She Says… Giving Thanks

Hello, Dear Reader!

This past weekend was ‘Thanksgiving’ here in Canada; it’s really no surprise that Thanksgiving comes in the fall because this is when the earth is most fully offering up her bounty.  Here on the west coast this can mean everything from an abundant vegetable harvest to wineries starting up production to the salmon returning to their birth streams to spawn a new generation.

For many people the Thanksgiving holiday is associated with family get-togethers, a huge dinner and too many turkey leftovers.  That can certainly be a part of it, although our Thanksgiving this year involved dinner out at a Japanese-fusion restaurant on Saturday night, and a wonderful meal of blackened fish and root vegetables on Monday.  The turkeys were safe from us this year, although we can’t really think of turkey dinner without remembering Stuart McLean’s stories on the Vinyl Café about ‘Dave Cooks the Turkey‘, followed by ‘Dave Raises the Turkey‘. Continue Reading →

He Says, She Says…

Hi Folks:

Andy Williams wrote:

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you “Be of good cheer”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
It’s the hap-happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings
When friends come to call
It’s the hap- happiest season of all…”

This time of year is a special one for many people.  It can also be a time of sadness and challenges.

Keeping that in mind, we thought we’d share our thoughts on ‘Christmas…’

Follow these links to read what He Says/She Says: Marcia’s View / Mike’s View

Patience Pants

Hi Folks: When Marcia and I were in Sidney recently, we picked up a copy of the December 2009 issue of a magazine called the ‘Seaside Times‘. There were some excellent articles in there, and the magazine is well worth reading – on paper or online. Included was an article by Cathy Hanan on remembering to take a step back when you’re feeling a little extra stress. She titled her article ‘Put on Your Patience Pants This Holiday Season‘, and I liked it so much I wanted to share it with you:

“While the holiday season is supposed to be about family gatherings, friendship and good tidings, more often than not it becomes a season filled with stress, obligatory parties, overcrowding and endless traffic.

This year I’m going to try a new technique to deal with the inevitable chaos that surrounds the holidays – patience.

Last summer I was driving from the Peninsula to Langford to take care of a friend’s dog for the weekend.  The gentleman in front of me at the McTavish four-way stop was kind enough to let all the other cars have right of way – twice. Then I was cut off by a truck as I merged onto the highway and into ferry traffic. With the traffic came impatient drivers zipping between lanes (but not really getting anywhere), and the “oh, look at the lovely lake” slowdown at Elk Lake. It took 20 minutes longer than expected, but I eventually made it to my destination

As my friends left to head up island for the weekend I quickly remarked “put on your patience pants, it’s one of THOSE days on the road.” We laughed at the thought and they headed on their way. When they returned on Sunday they said they had laughed all the way over the Malahat – the traffic was chaos and they had needed their patience pants.

I shared the phrase with my friend Sarah. She promptly used it with her young nephews, who thought it was funny, but understood the concept while waiting in line for ice cream.

Not long after she was in the post office, waiting while the clerk carefully assisted a woman with the same task over and over. She turned to the woman in line behind her and whispered, “wow, she must have put her patience pants on this morning.” They both laughed, then chatted for another few minutes until the clerk was free.

It’s a silly phrase but it reminds me to take a deep breath and put the whole situation in perspective. Is it really that important? Will five extra minutes make or break my day? Our daily lives have become instantaneous and with it we’ve lost patience. We expect everyone to have a cell phone, we demand immediate response to emails and we’re constantly searching for ways to make life faster and easier.

As we enter the holiday season, remember it’s nobody’s fault the rain is pelting or the parking lot is beyond capacity. The overworked waitress is doing her best to get your meal quickly and the clerk behind the counter is not responsible for the debit machine being out of service.

You probably can’t control the situation, but you can control how you react to it. Take the extra five minutes in line to chat with the person behind you. They are probably just as frustrated and your patience might rub off.

It’s all about how you look at it. So this year – before you head out to shop, celebrate or travel – stop and take a minute to put on your patience pants and have a happier, healthier holiday season.”

My sentiments exactly!