Sunday, January 24, 2010

Happy New Year At Long Last

I just haven't had much incentive to sit down and write anything. I'm not a Winter Person, I guess - I feel like just hibernating and waiting out the cold weather. At any rate, my best wishes to those of you who read this (and to those of you who I'd like to!) for a very happy 2010. Where's my flying car? What a rip-off century.

It's been a special sort of month already in my life. Apart from the start of a brand new decade (even if it technically isn't, I prefer to start it off with a Zero), I've already observed my birthday (the Big 5-2!), the 28th anniversary at my place of employment, an 18th birthday for a niece, and next week, a 10th birthday for another niece. Later this year, a nephew turns 21 - so there are all sorts of momentous numbers flying around. And get this for a January - it's raining outside!

My neck of the woods went through the entire month of November without seeing a single snowflake - unprecedented in our weather records - but December brought us a series of small centimeter or so deliveries of the white stuff, so that we indeed had something of a White Christmas this year. There is still some snow out there, thanks to the below-freezing temperatures we've had through most of January, but this weekend we've shot up to 36 F and yes, it's pouring outside. Usually this would be some sort of significant snowfall, but I guess I'll ditch the boots again tomorrow and head back to work in shoes. No complaints from me.

I very often have travel plans by this time. Not that I'm particularly antsy to get out of town once New Year's Day is over, but January is the month for Air Canada seat sales that stretch into late spring and the summer, so it's generally around NOW that I figure out what I've got planned for holidays. It hasn't happened this time around. There were some hints of sales around Christmas week and late December, but with every announcement of "great deals" from Canada's national airline, the price tags have been higher. And higher.

Here's an example: I was thinking of a flight to Houston sometime in the spring. This would faciliate my long-standing dream of a Texas BBQ tour, taking in some of the best rib joints in the state (and therefore, of course, the world). In late December, there were fares available on Air Canada for $131. Well, $131 EACH WAY, plus taxes and all kinds of add-on fees. Well, by early January, the fare was suddenly up to $161. And the "great deals" seat sale currently on offer, those wonderful annual January specials? Well, it's now up to $198. Goodbye BBQ!

The present security concerns make flying anywhere seem like an arduous and unpleasant experience, or should I say, even more arduous and unpleasant than usual. So I guess travel is sort of on the back-burner for the moment. I'll keep my eyes peeled for specials, though, and who know? Perhaps something will come along. But when China looks like an affordable destination compared to London or Munich, then something isn't quite right.

I'm holding to last year's New Year's Resolution, which I'm happy to say I kept big-time: To drink more High Quality Beer. A return to Munich last summer, and a first-ever visit to Prague helped me keep that promise, and I was very happy to visit several fine brewpub establishments in the United States as well. I've already made my first visit to a brewpub for 2010, which will be the subject of my next bit of written ramblings. Best Wishes to You All!
NEXT: A New Downtown Toronto Brewpub!