Some thoughts on each of these causes for celebration (mostly non-IF or loss related):
Valentine's Day: For all that many people tell dh & me we're one of the most lovey-dovey couples they know, we are not big on Valentine's Day. Slight correction (lol): dh is not big on Valentine's Day. He says it was made up by Hallmark to sell cards. I suppose there's some truth to that. He also argues that he tells me he loves me every day; why does he need an artificially created day to state the obvious?
OK. That said -- what girl is going to turn down cards, or gifts (including flowers, chocolate or jewelry -- although dh is not really a flowers/chocolate/jewelry-giving sort of guy) or the excuse for a nice dinner out. Sadly, for all his many virtues, dh has absolutely NO patience & HATES to wait in line at restaurants (and, when all is said & done, prefers to eat at home) -- so if we go out for dinner at all this weekend, it will probably be on Saturday night & not Valentine's Day itself. (And EARLY, to beat the crowds.)
But he's still, always, my Valentine. : )
Chinese New Year: Actually not a holiday with huge significance for me, but since it IS Chinese New Year, I thought I'd throw it in there, lol.
Family Day: Monday is Family Day in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta. In Manitoba, it's Riel Day and in Prince Edward Island, they are celebrating their very first Islander Day. (I wrote about our very first Family Day two years ago here.)
There hasn't been much in the press so far this year, waxing poetic on the meaning of Family Day. Maybe there will be something on the actual day itself. Maybe it's because this is the third year now that we've got this day off, so the novelty has worn off. Also, I suspect it's being overshadowed by the other events of this weekend, and the Olympics in particular. Fine with me! : )
Presidents' Day: For years, I was jealous of Americans for having a holiday in February. Now that we (finally) have one to brighten the winter monotony, the next step will be to get a holiday in January to match Martin Luther King Day in the U.S. (lol).
Canadians generally don't have as keen a sense of their history as Americans do. We don't tend to make heroes out of our political leaders -- with the possible exception of Tommy Douglas, father of universal health care (& -- trivia for you here -- grandfather of Kiefer Sutherland), who was voted the greatest Canadian in a national TV contest a few years back. Several prominent historians & columnists have been advocating for some time now that we should remedy that by making Jan. 11th -- the birthday of our first and probably greatest prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald -- a national holiday. His 200th birthday is coming up in 2015; what better time to launch a new national holiday?? (There actually is a Sir John A. Macdonald Day, declared by an act of Parliament. It's just not a statutory holiday = day off.)
Of course, Jan. 11 is the day before my birthday too. ; ) Bring it on!
Olympics: I am soooo looking forward to the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Games tonight. Any guesses as to who will be lighting the cauldron? The word this morning was that it's definitely not Wayne Gretzky. The head of VANOC said, tantalizingly, "You're not going to figure this out." But he has also said that, when that person(s) enters the stadium, he wants the universal Canadian reaction to be, "Of course!"
I know Betty Fox, mother of our national hero, Terry Fox, is a sentimental favourite. It would certainly add some great emotional punch to the ceremony if it she was the choice. Although the idea of having her do it alongside a hologram of her late son (one rumour I've read) sounds just a tad too showbiz/creepy for my liking.
As for tonight's entertainment, rumour has it that Bryan Adams, Sarah McLaughlin (sp?) & Nelly Furtado (all British Columbians) will be performing. I know this sounds cheesy, but I would love to see Vancouver's own Trooper -- whom I saw in concert several times during their heyday in the late 70s/early 80s (always a fun time) -- included in the lineup, singing their classic Canadian rock anthems"We're Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time)" and "Raise a Little Hell." (Love the flashing sign in the second video. That's about as good as the special effects got back then, kids, lol.) I think both songs fit the occasion perfectly.
I was really disappointed to have missed the Olympic torch relay. (I don't even remember where I was for the relay for the 1988 Calgary Olympics, but suffice to say, I did not see the torch then either.) It came through my town on the morning of Dec. 17th, while dh & I were en route to work in the city. It landed at Toronto City Hall, just up the street from my office, that night -- when dh & I were at our final meeting as support group facilitators. It passed by Union Station very early the next morning -- even if we had taken the very first train into the city, we probably wouldn't have made it in time. And it passed through my parents' town on Jan. 7th, after we'd returned home from Christmas vacation.
My company sent around a memo yesterday, encouraging employees to wear something to reflect our Canadian/Olympic spirit & pride to work today -- so I wore my cozy red Canada Roots sweatshirt from the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Dh has one too, & we wore them while we watched the gold medal game against the U.S. that year. I am not a huge hockey fan -- but when you are Canadian, you can't help but have some knowledge & appreciation of it. It's embedded in our national culture & identity. I will never forget those final minutes of that game, when the audience spontaneously started singing "O Canada," the words echoing through the arena as the seconds ticked down -- I literally had the hair standing up on the back of my neck, & tears running down my face.
There is HUGE pressure on the hockey players to bring home the gold, while playing on home ice. HUGE. I've heard it said the Vancouver Games will be considered a failure if they don't. I'm not sure I'm prepared to go that far, but it would definitely cast a big pall over the closing ceremonies. If they win -- I think the country will go nuts. Seriously.
I also wore my red Olympic mittens today. (Photo here.) Apparently the mittens were intended for the torchbearers only, but so many people started asking about them that they have been selling them at the Bay & Zellers. They are $10 a pair, warm & cute as can be. Part of the proceeds go towards our athletes. I wanted to buy a pair for myself, and some for my sister, mom, & PND for Christmas stockings, but they were absolutely impossible to find. I heard of pairs selling for hundreds of dollars on eBay. I talked to a store clerk & she told me they stopped keeping waiting lists because the demand was just too great. "You have to be right there, when they come in," she said, "because they come in & they are GONE."
Well. A few weeks ago, on my lunch hour on a Monday afternoon, I just happened to be walking through the walkway from the Eaton Centre into the Bay, which exits right beside the store's Olympicwear section. And store clerks were opening up boxes of the coveted red mittens. There wasn't a huge crowd, but there were probably a dozen people hovering around and steadily snapping up pairs of mittens as fast as the clerks could unpack them. So I snapped up a few pairs myself, & stood in line for the cash register. I said to the guy at the counter, "You all must dread these days!" & he laughed & said, "We call them Happy Mitten Days."
And he's right. Wearing those cheerful, warm red mittens with the Olympic rings on the backs & white maple leafs on the palms makes me happy. I packed up the other pairs & sent them off earlier this week, with valentines, to Mom, Sis & PND.
Monday is also BIL & SIL's wedding anniversary, & my cousin's 50th birthday. Also one of dh's cousin's birthdays, & another cousin's twins' birthday. (Conceived via fertility treatments, although we're not supposed to know or say anything about that.)
Whatever you're celebrating this weekend, have a good one…!