Sunday, January 16, 2011

Well, that didn't take very long

Ya know, all my life I've been resistant to change. I'm not sure if most of us are, but I really didn't like it, even to my own detriment. And almost every single time I've had to change something, after the initial adversity and discomfort, it's pretty clear that the right decision was made, and that it turned out for the better. I'm not sure if it's a function of making bad initial choices (or a function of making better choices now), or just something that comes with age and confidence. Doing the right thing isn't always the easiest thing, but doing it really clears things up and makes things easier in the long run. Don't get me wrong, I still have my moments of indecision and doubt, but I find I'm better able to handle these moments, and they certainly don't hang around like they used to.

Anyway, coming back up to Kingston was a tough change for me, and again I felt it after the Christmas break. I mean, leaving Toronto, my family and friends, was a bit of a tough thing to do, and almost immediately after the change I felt a little off. But, after a good (but short) visit from Jeremy, a couple drinks with good friends up here, some good chats and some good marks coming back from December exams and courses, I feel like what I'm doing up here has been reconfirmed. Despite the absolute God-dump of snow we've been getting, Kingston is once again feeling like one of the best decisions I could have made. Sure I miss Toronto, but whatever is important about it will still be there whenever I get back. In the mean time, there's work to be done.

But first, some awesome photos from an awesome Christmas break.

My place in Kingston, after coming home from writing the Public exam. 

Ahhh... a well deserved trip to Montreal with my friend, to visit some of hers, and to have a good time there in reward for a completed first semester!

When I look in the mirror, I can't believe what I see
Tell me, who's that funky dude, staring back at me?

Walking around Montreal...

Lost my lens cap after taking this picture, but was fortunately convinced to go back for it after realizing a few blocks later... and luckily enough, it was there.

Drive back to Toronto.

Back home, dinner with some of the family. Mussels and duck, if I remember correctly, and both underwhelming. Luckily the company was good. La Petite France, I believe. What also made this night great was that this was the first night I got my bike back.

Afterward at Ckris and Donna's.

A Christmas Story, one of my favourites (one of everyone's favourites, no??!!), on a 5x9 foot projection screen, feet up, and a Corona. Needless to say, I passed out in that chair.

Next night back on the bike to Sara and Jowi's, where a dinner party broke out over fresh made gnocchi.

I, uhhh, grated some cheese! Also, got to meet some really interesting people and had a fascinating conversation or two! In the past I'd often avoid dinner parties; I prefer meeting new people in groups of one or two -- I find it more personal. I mean, it was/is always a function of who's going to be there, and I couldn't feel more comfortable at Sarah and Jowi's place. Also, I think the combination of some really great and friendly people (who were also open to meeting me/new people -- this is not a giveme -- I have a few good stories I don't mind sharing over a beer...), and me getting better/more comfortable with 'mingling' (it's a law school thing ;), really made this night something special. Also, as almost an aside, I don't think I ever had such great gnocchi. The fresh red beet ones were definitely my favourite; they went great with the champagne..

Next night or two, wrapping Christmas presents, and Wigilia. For Poles, Christmas Eve is a night of magic when animals are said to talk and people have the power to predict the future. It’s a time for families to gather and reconcile any differences, and to remember loved ones who have gone before them. (via here)

"Look busy! Look busy!" Haha... I'm not sure what Chris considers looking busy, but I dig it.

Wine and boardgames in a poorly lit room.

Boxing day! Eric Changstein!!! For anyone that would listen, they knew that Eric Chang was coming over from Japan for the first time in like 4 years, and I'd have him exclusively for like 2-3 days. So, this is a story of him and our adventures. Errr, most of them anyway!

Chinatown. It's where I take all my visiting asian friends.

Boy, did we tour the city! Actually, it was pretty great, but boxing day shopping was just incredibly horrible in the major chain stores. However, we did manage to almost lose my camera, buy a pair of shoes, and I got a sports jacket from Tom's Place for pretty cheap ("I need something that will go well with these jeans" - "how about this designer $600 jacket?"... "Errr, I believe I'm looking for something much much cheaper." hmmm.. it was funnier in person.)

That night, Anna joined us as we stayed in, had a few drinks, and caught up. Fantastic night. With Eric, we always pick up exactly where we left off, despite miles and years apart.

Next day, time for some music! We recorded a track or two; it's currently in post and should be ready in a few weeks, given motivations and perspirations.

We also went for a walk in the ravine! I don't think I've been down there for 6-7 years now, and we ended up taking it all the way down to James Gardens, with a few BBs fired off at things that we thought would make cool sounds.

I think we ended up spending 6 hours down there that first day!

 For some reason, when I have two rifles (ok, bb guns) in my hands, I can't resist making this pose!

Matching sweaters! Also, that day (or the next) I managed to hit an acorn cap from 15 meters!

Anyway, it was really great to see and hang out with Chang, and I wish he and I could have had more time together. He's already thinking of a summer visit though... :) Also, at some point I'll have to go back out East.

 Yeah, we went back to UCC.

And a parting shot of Muffy, the cutest dog in the world. He's had her now for must be 12 years; got during his time here at Queen's. When I saw her over the break she definitely remembered me, jumping with that bad back of hers like she was 1 again.

We did manage to fit in a lot on his visit (despite falling asleep on the couch together at 8 pm one night), but still, it'd be better to have him around more than once every few years for a few days.

Next day, must be now a few days before new years, met up with the Beals to play some pool and hang out.

Hockey Hall of Fame! I've never gone, and Kris hadn't been in years, so we decided to head on in.

Kris took a couple of shots, and not included here are Kari's play-by-play calling clips, but if you ask nicely I'd gladly send you the links!

My two favourite players.

The Vezina trophy actually has a little mesh net in it!

Connection? Kris is headed to Thailand to coach hockey, or something like that...

Did you know that Greztky won a most improved player award?

Chillaxing afterward... then off to my favourite Toronto bar.

Ronces...The Local kicks some serious ass.

Yeah, this seems like a good idea...

I can't imagine why there are so many pictures from this night...?!



Now look at my new filling! Ahhh... what a great night....

New Year's Eve dinner. "No, don't spin that box on your finger!... oh dear... "

Still gonna eat it.

The Sadies at the Horseshoe brought in the New Year.

In the new year, mom set up an afternoon luncheon with the extended fam for one last free feeding before heading back up to Kingston.

Also, and I really got into mathdoku over the break as well... errr, or more accurately, around exam time. It's like Sudoku, but with math! Trust me, it's awesome, and I think it's a free download. Provides hours/days/about a month and a half so far, of entertainment...

So yeah, how's that for an awesome break?! Two weeks was not enough. I don't even have everything documented up here... Not included in pictures is a beef roast at Adam and Claire's (including the formidable Deadfall), a stroll (and nap) in High Park (it was warm in December!), Unloveables, and did I mention tons of bike riding? Hopefully that gets carried over to Kingston come September, but more on that later... anyway, great holiday vacation, and I'm sure you could see why I wasn't gung-ho about getting back up here. However, as mentioned, sometimes change is really for the best. Errr... at least a little change ;)

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