I think she's my second cousin on my father's side - a little eccentric, but very successful, owner of a major Canadian chain of purveyors of uniquely Canadian and very tasty chicken. Last year around this time my sister Anne, her husband, my mother and David were on Harbour Island and we ran into my said cousin and her husband, Tim who invited us to dinner at their lovely beach cottage. After enjoying a succulent strip loin that Tim had patiently barbecued, we were all sitting around chit chatting and enjoying the night sky. My dear sister Anne, who I think felt she had connected with Gail at some level, gently touched Gail's shoulder and said "Gail, is there anything I can do?", to which Gail responded, "Well, let me see . . . you could leave." You see Gail says what is on her mind. She was tired, and in her own way she wanted to let her guests know that it was time to go home. So, to follow Gail's lead, I'm going to be frank - I am so glad "the holidays" are over. I think I can honestly say that yesterday, being the last day of the madness that we have built around Christmas, was my happiest day since Halloween when all this started. You can call me Scrooge if you like, but really, I think most people would agree that Christmas has gotten completely out of hand. For one thing, it creates a 2 week slowdown in the economy, encouraging all kinds of excuses like, "well, maybe after the holidays". From a business owners point of view, three statutory holidays within 2 weeks is financially crippling. To make matters worse, Dalton and his weak kneed, vote buying friends have burdened us further with "Family Day" in February. Am I missing something here - wasn't New Years and Christmas and Thanksgiving pretty much focused on family? Ontario's economy isn't exactly in the kind of condition that suggests that businesses should be adding millions of dollars to our cost of doing business. Speaking of New Years - why are we so obsessed about marking the passage of time. Keeping track of and celebrating anniversaries, birthdays - our own and those of many others who have been deceased for decades, is depressing and really quite counter productive, if you ask me. It drives me crazy when CNN's ticker starts saying this is the 103rd day of the year, 262 days left in 2008. Why can't we just look forward to tomorrow, and give thanks for yesterday? Am I ranting. Oops. In addition to yesterday being the last day of the madness, it was also a perfect day for snowmobiling. David and I took my nephew Cole, who lives in California, out for a wonderful, typical rural Canadian day out with friends on our snow machines. Not having the proper winter wear, we called a fellow snow enthusiast who in typical Canadian generosity arrived at our door not with just one, but a selection of winter wear for Cole to choose from. Pictured above is Cole modelling his winter outfit in front of one of our stops, a particularly pretty spot on the way to Warkworth. At one point, Cole said "I love Canada" - no doubt. So all of this put a big smile on my face as I counted "just one more sleep to normality". As I reluctantly count down the last months of my 4th decade on the planet, days like this with Cole make me ache to have a few kids of my own. It's not too late. Trudeau was 52 when he started his family - but then that involved marrying Margaret. Back to the drawing board for me, and all the best for '08 to you and yours. Yes, I know, I'm a hypocrite.