Urban Walk: Christmas Eve (daytime)

A friend had shared a photo of a Christmas tree at Esquimalt Lagoon a few days earlier – one of those days when the rain held off. I had not been there for ages and thought this would be a perfect afternoon walk.

The only thing marring an otherwise enjoyable 30 minutes was all the off leash dogs playing on the beach. Perhaps that is allowed. Rather than leap away whenever one approached me I headed back to the relative safety of the curb side where cars park. I am happy to say I still enjoyed the ocean, the driftwood art ready for the holiday and the camaraderie of strangers also out for strolls. Even the dogs. (The captions are all mine) I never did find the tree.

You will enjoy Christmas.
You forgot the presents!?
Really, really, really! I really saw Santa!
Is this dressy enough?
Can I, can I, can I? Oh please can I open my stocking now? (Upper right)
Oh yes, this really does set off my feathers nicely.
Dinner will never be ready!
Where?
Bah, humbug!

As I was walking on the lagoon I spotted a gaggle of family. Two cars, both laden down with gifts, all passengers wearing their requisite masks. It was a distanced gift exchange! We are all doing our best to cope with what has been a very challenging year.

Driving home I heard the unmistakable vroom, vroom of a big motorcycle that then stopped at a stop sign, was that Santa riding to catch his sleigh? Beard and hair flowing as he sped off to the honks of ecstatic drivers. A fitting end to my Christmas Eve walk.

Urban Walk: Oceanside discovery

We tend to get a lot of rain leading up to Christmas, and beyond. Which is fine by me as I really do not enjoy snow and the cold. However, rain usually means no lovely Oceanside walks. Today was shaping to be the one day of the week the sun might make an appearance and I was not about to waste it!

My first stop before heading to town was for a coffee – no real (lactose free) milk for my morning cup was not going to put my in a bad mood. We have a Starbucks barely a five minute walk away. I drove, parked, went inside and ordered a flat white. A lovely drink for my roughly 30 minute drive. I collected my sister and off we went. Today she was able to go farther after a nasty fall a week ago – going for a walk with me. We decided to tackle the longer board and cement walk along the water.

We both made sure to use the treads on the boardwalk sections! The ocean crashing on the shore churned up quite a wake. However, the weather held to present us with glimpses of sunshine. And then a glint flashed off the bushes ahead of us. Someone had decorated the various bushes for all to enjoy!

All we need was a bench to sit down and enjoy
Like shiny, plump plums!
An invitation to all. I have a great school bell – will you ring in the magic on the 24th?
Kitten has lost her mittens? A kind soul tacked these to a lamp post.

Maybe ‘[she] found her mittens’. I was very tempted to claim them for me! However, that would have been a very Scrooge move, or for those who are younger than me, the Grinch, before they both grew hearts.

After a round trip walk of about six kilometres (part way back my sister informed me she had been ready to turn around much sooner) we went grocery shopping (for my sister and one of my daughters). I feel a bit like an elf.

Winter Wonderland

The snow was falling off and on for two days making for some more perilous treks, this time walking and driving. Highway 401 is the route to Toronto, three lanes on each side, 100km/ph, treacherous when there is snow drifting across the lanes, over snow formed into ice, and exits scantly touched.

Although on the 401 for barely ten minutes I could feel the blood run cold in my veins as we were approaching, and were approached by, a couple of semi trucks. It was the wind creating the flying snow. Otherwise the fluffy flakes were quite lovely. Like powdered sugar with a bit more oomph. More importantly, the temperature rose from -20c to a bearable -5c. Heck, I left my coat, toque and warm gloves in the car! Unthinkable a day earlier.

Both days found me shopping with my daughter for a few hours, a little bit of madness seems to seep into everyone a week before the holiday. After three winters in Kingston I have come to the conclusion that there is no reasonable explanation for how far apart everything is.

Alright, I understand ‘they’ say that is where the land is, but why, oh why, in such a cold climate over winter, then exceedingly hot over summer, build big box stores? Even within walking distance of each other, and strip mall style, it makes little sense. Architects and builders must have severe height restrictions when planning these vast spaces.

photo

My big adventure was to Montana’s, definitely not a restaurant I would normally choose. I think I have been to one of this company’s eateries twice, hated it. I could not think how going to one in a different province would be any different. However, that is where we were, my daughter having missed Kelsey’s, where she had intended to go. This is an indication of just how much everything in such shopping centres look alike.

Montana’s is very country. I am not. Envision heads: moose, deer, possibly a bear and I dare not think what else. I felt as though I had entered an a taxidermy haven. Heavy wooden posts, a large stone fireplace, paper table coverings, (crayons encourage scribbling and drawing) an old truck, a rowboat, canoe and snowshoes enhance just how country the decor is.

There was more, I was a little afraid to look. Fortunately, after getting through at least three menus, (alright, two were single laminated sheets) I was able to find some salad choices. The Apple Pecan Salad was a pleasant surprise, as were the Kapow! Shrimp we shared. I left there happy in the knowledge I had a pleasant lunch with good company.