So anyway, enough complaining... I'm back, and I'd love to present the fruits of my DIY project, some highlights of the winter break, and some food for thought (or thoughts of food.. either way works).
Here are my pretty clocks (which I could not post pre-Christmas since they were gifts for my most avid readers- parents and grandparents)
The cracks in the wood were really a drag... I asked a friend to use the chainsaw to cut those cookies from a bolt, and right after I sanded them, they were smooth, flat, and whole... Not 24 hours later, a crack appeared in every single piece. I thought maybe a sealer would have prevented it, but it turns out that that having a piece of wood dry out without cracks is a more difficult process than I expected. The stain around the rim is the "blue stain fungus", a characteristic trait of mountain pine beetle infested wood. Looking closely at the edge of the bark and the wood you might see a little hole- from the galleries these insects form when they feed. Of course all the insects have emerged from this wood and it had been autoclaved for good measure... but I thought that using this wood was a nice trait of the West, with an interesting story of it's own.
I came to Ottawa to present these ticking cookies to their lucky recipients.... and here's a few glimpses of my Christmas in Ottawa, starting with some microniches of the christmas tree (I couldn't pick which one I liked best):
Some beautiful crimson blooms...
And here's the gang lining up for the delicious feast...
My parents' backyard looking as beautiful as ever
It was a tastilicious time; and we were also lucky to have a visit from my aunt from Toronto, who brought her gorgeous smile and hilarious circus antics, feather earrings and other such giggly puffs.
Shortly after Christmas, I flew to Europe. This was one of the worst flying experiences I've had though... Since the storms caused delays out of Ottawa and my connecting flight left without me on it. I was one of the lucky ones, and was rerouted the same night, so I didn't have to sleep in the airport (much), and I arrived only 12 hours after I was supposed to, rather than a full 24... Of course, my luggage wasn't so lucky, and it finally caught up with me three days before I flew home...
After I arrived, had a whirlwind graduation party dinner/drinks for Joost, we got in the car and drove to northeastern Czech Republic, to a chalet type lodge which was home to a biathlon training centre. Biathlon is a sport consisting of cross country skiing and range shooting... One of which I vaguely remembered disliking in the past, the other I have never attempted to try.
Here is one of our first friends we met there.
After a couple of evenings of liquid courage (from the very slow and foamy Czech tap), we attempted the first of the biathlon sports. I, naively saw this as a fresh chance to redeem myself at this sport, and was quite frankly excited to get outside. The lodge was surrounded by great trails and winter-wonderland forest...
Here we are... still together with the group.
After about 30 seconds, I realized the group was moving, and I was moving my legs... but getting nowhere... I quickly fell behind, despite our new friends' efforts to keep us together...
Much frustration and anger later, a piggy back (with skiis on) across the country road, and a whole lot of sweaty cursing... we were in the wintery forest, and looking around, I could only smile.
Ahhhh! The weather is great, the air smells fresh... So what if I can't ski...!
Joost, having decided that the best course of action was to stick with me, ended up in a pole dilemma. (I debated putting up the photo of how this happened... but I suffice it to say, I wasn't the only one going backwards, sideways and down on my skiis)
Didn't matter though, 6km and 2.5 hours later (haha), we limped back to the lodge with skis, poles (bent and all), one large blue hulk-swollen thumb and grins from ear to ear (well, kinda)... We warmed up by the cozy fire, and everything was grand by the time we were all yelling "Šťastný nový rok!"
So after the pole replacement and a scenic drive up to the mountains nearby... We headed to Prague, just for the night at our new friends' flat. We had a drink at a local watering hole, stopped off quick at
Back to Utrecht, which was rainy and still beautiful.
And then back to Ottawa, and then back to Edmonton.... And then back to school... šťastný nový školní rok!