Gentle Reader,

After seeing the Hobbit my holiday continued to be awesome. I tried to write about it the other day but managed to reload the page and so now I get to recreate that post. Silly me.

I managed to finish my (and Cortejo's) Hogswatch shopping Christmas eve morning. I wasn't able to find everything I wanted but I did manage to get what I needed. I've always enjoyed shopping on Christmas eve, ever since managing to find the perfect gift for my Grandmother one year on a last minute trip with my brother. I've never seen the shops crowded or anything like that. It probably didn't hurt that this year I was out of the house by 7am and was done by 9.

This gave me plenty of time to finish the baking we needed to do. I made the Pork pie the day before so all that was left on my plate was the Pudding. Really it should have been made a couple of months ago and then been soaked in rum or brandy but I never remember to plan these things. We ended up having at least 20 people drop in and eat. The unexpected ones were especially nice. Eventually everyone except the guests left and we negotiated with the children that we would let them open 2 gifts now instead of waiting until midnight and opening just 1 because we were all exhausted.

The next day we dug through our stockings and found the wonderful things not to mention the amazing gifts that Lucia and Lydia picked for me.

The next couple of days were pretty lovely, other than the massive amounts of snow. Actually, due to the snow, Lucia had to make her Syracuse run early. Then came that most wonderful day of the year. My birthday!

The first day of my birthday was actually on my birthday and I spent the day doing things that I love. I went to Costco with Cortejo and I had a bunch of friends and fellow sword fighting enthusiasts come by the Sword Hall and we had a great bash up. Everyone was a wonderful challenge and I surprised myself with how well I did against a number of opponents. Particularly interesting was the Kendoka. I did reasonably well against him although the shani left some lovely bruises on my arm. The most difficult part was our different ideas about victory conditions.

I got home to discover 2 more guests which was also great! (They were expected).

The next day was pretty good. We tidied and prepped for the party, our guests helping make short work of everything that needed to be done. There was even enough time for me to finally watch They Live all the way through. For some reason though, no one wanted to join me.

Anyway, the other half my commissioned alcohol arrived and the brewer was generous enough to bring some taps and then guests started arriving and I was having a lovely time hanging in the kitchen (nearer the food) and sampling the amazing brews that another friend brought back from his american Xmas.

Then Lydia fell off her top bunk onto the open drawer of her dresser. She earned a 10cm scratch and a sore shoulder and was so freaked out that she asked us to take her home a couple of times. We got her calmed down but eventually our Emergency Nurse friend suggested that she was looking like she had a dislocated shoulder and so I took her to the hospital. Well, actually I had been drinking so we had another friend drive in yet another friend's car.

We spent 3-4 hours (I'm not sure) in the hospital with a session of x-rays that I think Lydia enjoyed getting to see and thankfully discovered no visible damage.

We finally got home just before midnight to discover that while we were gone, the toilet tank had burst. I think that this piece of news drained the last of my will to party and I headed to bed, leaving my friends to celebrate my passing without me. This was clearly a sub-optimal party. I will have to do much better next time.

The broken toilet meant that we had to go toilet shopping the next day. Thankfully, my work gave me some Home Depot gift cards. Cortejo took one guest back to his homeland while the rest of us installed the new toilet. Lydia and I also traveled with them to our New Year's destination, Casa Rozakii where we would rendezvous with Cortejo. We were a little worried that she was going to beat us there, even with her cross border route due to our stop a the Kingston Denny's for Hobbit Food. Thanks to a long wait for her return to canada, we made it there first.

The New Year's party was small this year but filled with good friends and good food and Cards Against Humanity. Then on the 1st was the traditional watching of full extended version of the Lord of the Rings. Lydia was much more interested in it this time, perhaps owing to being a little older and also having the Hobbit to compare it to. It only took about 12 hours, but we did have a little break for the traditional Canadian-Chinese food.

Our trip back to Ottawa was pretty uneventful with a couple of of stops, the first to see more friends and the second to drop Lydia off in Kingston. Then it was home where Cortejo and I were alone in the house for the first time since I don't remember when.

Of course, we had to get up early the next day to give a friend a lift to the train station so I got an early trip to work and it was back to the grind. Well, until mid afternoon when I got a call from Lydia saying that she really wanted to come home. Making things easier, there were no students for at the Sword Hall so I was able to meet up with Cortejo when she finished work and off we went to get our homesick child.

We finally got back to Ottawa at midnight and thus ended the vacation.
Gentle Readers,

I left off at our arrival in Wolfville so I'll try and get the rest of it down here, mostly so I don't forget it.

    Happy New Year to Me.
  • The 22 involved a quick tour of town and some book shopping.

  • We got back from that to the arrival of our big christmas gift. The courier was pulling up as we turned the corner.

  • He wouldn't let me sign for it though.

  • Much of the remaining day was spent configuring the new xbox.

  • Except for a short trip for groceries (and fresh Lobster!)

  • Made a yummy cream sauce of goat's milk for Cortejo that the rest of the family was jealous of.

  • My brother and his family arrived just before so Lydia and Scarlette got to play with Antenna

  • My uncle and his family arrived the next day along with the snow.

  • Cortejo and I took the beer enjoying cousin to the closest brew pub where we got a Giraffe (112 oz tube with a tap) of beer to share.

  • The next night was christmas even and we had dinner with Cortejo's dad.

  • There were 15 kids (Lydia, her 11 cousins and 3 exchange students including one 10 year old)

  • She didn't get too many presents, but did get a Fidgit, which is the new furby, only louder.

  • Back to the house where we stayed up for a little bit and then fell over. Well, first we had to get lydia to fall over, then we had to prepare the leavings of the hogfather.

  • Christmas/Hogswatch morning, the hogfather filled our stockings!

  • Lots of presents. Lydia made out like a bandit. As always.

  • Then we spent the rest of the day listening to the bickering coming from the kitchen. My beer loving (and budding gormand of a cousin cooked for us.

  • Thankfully, it did not involve a giant tub of Risotto like last year.

  • Dinner was delicious.

  • Lydia and I went coasting after dark on the best hill in town. We managed 10 trips.

  • Boxing day was quiet. Cortejo and Lydia went off to see her estranged mom and her animal loving cousin.

  • I helped take my brother to the airport and had a lovely visit with my mom on the way back.

  • We were forced to eat delicious salmon for dinner. Forced!

  • We bid an early morning good by to my uncle and his family on the 27 and spent the rest of the day puttering.

  • We tried a mixed shopping/coasting trip but pretty much nothing was open because it was Wolfville.

  • We also watched a lot of weather network as we heard about the snow back in Ottawa.

  • We ended up packing up the car and deciding to leave from our dinner that night.

  • Dinner was my pre-birthday dinner, enjoyed with old friends including one from high school that I haven't seen in 10 years.

  • It was a much better brew pub IMHO.

  • My mom kept delivering more things for us to take with us while we ate.

  • We left town at 9:30 at night. This may not have been the most optimal plan, but I hope it helped my parents relax a little.

  • the next day, my Birthday, was mostly spent driving.

  • And now we are home.

  • Today, shopping and a dinner trip.

  • Tomorrow back to work and then more travel.
Gentle Readers,

I'm currently sitting around and relaxing listening to my dad and my uncle talk about finances (my uncle is a banker). Soon we are going to be heading to Cortejo's dad and step-mom's for their Christmas Eve dinner celebration. It's a little bit stressful but should be ok as we don't have to stay there super long. Just until the dessert comes out.

So far the trip is going really well. Leaving Tuesday night instead of Wednesday morning was a smart move. Montreal is full of construction and trying to beat rush hour traffic and freezing rain would have been no fun. Instead we cruised through mostly empty, dry and clean streets. As an extra bonus, none of the overpasses fell on us.

We ended up stopping at Auberge Cap Martain, a lovely little motel stuck in the 70's. We've stayed there before and it's nice and clean, just a bit dated with their styling. Still we got to start the day with a hearty Quebecois breakfast. We tried to do some touristy stuff but the only thing we managed was to go over the worlds longest covered bridge. However, in doing so, we did find a lovely little place to have lunch so that was excellent.

We didn't hit any bad weather until just past Fredericton. Thankfully though, the rain was only freezing to the car and not the road. It turned to rain until we hit the NS border and then we got snow, but only as far as Halifax.

The final run to Wolfville was nice and clear.

OK, too much talking to be antisocial like this.
Gentle Readers,

It's finally Friday and although while you are unemployed it means less, it's still something to take note of as otherwise all of the days kind of blur together. All together it's been a pretty good week.

While Cortejo was off learning more ways to kill people, Lydia and I had a lovely couple of days with Reyl and his pumpkin. We had a great game of catch in the freezing cold park and then had a buffet lunch. Lydia got back to Aikido and had a great time, even if it took her a little while to decide that she did want to go. I think she was especially thrilled that N was there. Wen we got back we headed over to Reyl's again where he stuffed us full of Koussa Mashi.

On Sunday we chilled for a bit then headed out to Finitedancer and Peredur's for Thanksgiving. They stuffed us till we could not think. Lydia and G. played for over 24 hours.

We got back late on Monday and setteled into our week which has been uneventful. I've started studing Survey Methods and Practices for the Mathematical Statistician job which Metawidgit both pointed me at and loaned me the book for. In applying for the job (and necessitating the test) I spent way too much time trying to get my Transcript and the transcribing it. We tried several methods to get it, but finally my parents found it in some papers and scanned it and sent it to me. I took some really weird classes in university.

I found a couple of jobs to apply for but as none of them have any personal connection, I'm not expecting to hear back. I haven't heard back from last weeks where there was some networking. Rejection is so much easier to handle than just nothing. I do understand that part of the problem is that my resume is lacking in J2EE and Struts and Spring. Not sure what path I want to take to get that experience though. I know I need something tangible as motivation.

Anyway, I'm enjoying the sunshine and wondering if last nights frost killed my grass seed or if I should go out and water it today.
Gentle Readers,

This year we went back to Pennsic for the first time in, I think, 7 years. It's changed a bit since we were there, but not much. The biggest change that I noticed was the replacement of Tiki torches with those solar powered night lights. That is a very welcome change. It meant that I was not blowing black snot out of my nose for 3 days after leaving.

The weather started off a little wet but the last week was lovely and I have a pealing nose to prove it.

The first few days were pretty rough mostly because I was recovering from incautious consumption of overly sweetened american road food. More and more we discover that it's just not worth trying to eat at a restaurant and instead should try and find a grocery store. Thankfully the pennsic food was actually pretty healthy for me.

Thanks to the rain, I had no dry footwear for a few days so I took the day long (it actually took about 3 days worth of work) shoe making class at Chez D'Argent. They are a very friendly bunch and we ended up falling in with them and spending a fair amount of time at their camp.

While I did do about 12 hours of Fiore classes with Scott from Darkwood, I only did pick-up fencing against 2 people. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but the classes were awesome. I'm sad I missed the Classes with Tom Leoni but he seems keen to be back next year. Apparently the parties are better than at ISMAC.

I fought in the Rapier war points. The first one was a cakewalk. I don't think I even crossed blade in the first fight, our opponents offering so little resistence. They tried a little harder in the second field battle, but to no avail. They elected not to try a third time.

The woods battle was great and I experienced very little ass-hattery. However, I finally have my very own blow calling story: I struck some gentleman in the waist and he called "Belt" and kept fighting. It was all the funnier due to the fact that I did not see a belt on his person, though it may have been under his tabbard.

Lydia had a great time and decided she likes belly dancing (but only if she jingles) and fishing (but needs a longer pole). She was pretty good but it was harder to keep on top of her eating than it is at home.

The courts were all efficient and fun and lots of people we knew got awards that they deserved. Our court especially.

Next year we'll need some camp borders as well as a firepit. We'll also need weather good enough to sit around the fire, but we won't be bringing that from here.
Gentle Readers,

We are leaving shortly for the commencement of our vacation: Birthday dinner with my now 97 year old aunt. Eventually we will make our way to Pennsic. See you two fabulous weeks.

Much love.

Gentle Readers,

As those of you who have me friended on facebook have seen, I suddenly have a whole lot more time on my hands. For those of you who have no idea what this means, the deal is this: My company sells to TV stations. TV Stations get a lot of their money from the automotive industry. The automotive industry is kinda broke at the moment. Thus the TV stations are holding off on their new purchases. Therefor our cash flow is not so good. With out the money coming in you have to reduce the money going out. I was money going out. The observant reader will note the use of the past tense in the previous sentence.

I got laid off today. I am feeling mostly ok. I got a very generous severance and really, I was the most sensible choice. I was a very expensive developer and most of my role for the last year or so has been architecture. There's more than enough to keep people busy till Christmas, but I really don't envy how much they have to do to get the next version out. My boss and his boss both looked so very unhappy about things. I'm sorry I didn't get to see the owner to wish him luck. I'm told he looks a wreck.

I've got some plans for my time. I think I will take a bit of a break before I start the job search in earnest, however, if you know anyone who is looking for someone with lots of Java experience, I'm all ears.

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