Wednesday, December 14, 2011

From Sinterklaas towards Christmas

According good Dutch tradition, Nolan and I celebrated Sinterklaas again this year. I had made several dips with crackers for dinner, as well as a salad and home-made speculaas, just as I remembered it! We both had bought a gift for each other, and we also received a box full of goodies from Amerongen. All in all a very nice evening.
Even though we paused to celebrate Sinterklaas, the Christmas bug has definitely arrived! You can't walk into a store without hearing Christmas music or being bombarded with 'ideas for Christmas gifts, most houses have their Christmas lights up and lit, and the number of flyers in our newspaper have increased significantly. Christmas, the season of spending...

We went out to buy a Christmas tree this weekend, a balsam fir! I have a long standing relationship with balsam fir trees. I have cut numerous down, as part of pre-harvesting treatments in pine stands; I've cursed them more than once, when we'd be out measuring trees, and they would dump another load of snow on our backs; and after a day in Balsam country, you'd always find needles in your clothes. Yes, the balsam and I go way back... Due to this dynamic relationship, I never expected that I would actually pay money for one of those suckers! But... this weekend we did. And a beautiful tree it is, by far the nicest balsam I have ever encountered!
We decided to put it in the living room, and started decorating. We bought some nice balls and lights. However, a string of 30 lights is apparently not enough to cover the tree! Nolan bought more lights tonight, but we still have to put them up.

It is somewhat hard to get into the real Christmas spirit since we have none, zero, no, snow!! Something is wrong here! I'm heading to Petawawa tomorrow, and the forecast calls for 11 degrees with lots of rain. Just weird!

Work has been nuts lately, with lots of deadlines and projects on the go. But I'm really enjoying it, and I'm still learning so much. For example, I'm working with our in-house economist looking at the economic impact of the work we do. Slightly different from my normal job, but very interesting. I'm also taking the lead on some strategic work for the research forests, which is always interesting (sorry, I'm slightly biased).

Since I have so much on my plate, I like to work from home now and then, since it allows me to really focus on my work without being interrupted too much. Of course, I like sitting in the kitchen so I can keep an eye on the bird feeder ;)
When I got up one time, this is what I saw:

Do your cats sit on the table as well?

Our running is also going well. We're slowly increasing our distances and are feeling stronger too. Bonus this time of year with all the tasty foods lying around :)

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