The holiday season of 2003 was certainly a busy time. Let me tell you the story...

The morning of Christmas Eve Glen was off to work, where he worked until about 1:00. Until a customer support call came in at a few minutes to noon, I honestly thought I could get out of there on time (who was I kidding). On getting home I threw my stuff together. Luckily Susan had the morning off and could use the time to help prepare for our departure. Where we were going? To Calgary! In order to cut down the gifts we had to carry, we opened each other's Christmas presents.

We arrived at the airport by taxi about 4:30, and after checking in we had Christmas Eve Dinner at Milestones. At a little after six our plane was down the runway and we were off. Upon arriving in Calgary Susan's dad picked us up from the airport. Back at Susan's parent's place we met with Susan's Uncle Darcy, Susan's cousin Zhi who was visiting from New York, and cousins Amy and Kenny. The cousins were all keen to go skiing and snowboarding on Christmas day.

Christmas day and Zhi, Amy, Kenny, and Glen all went skiing at Sunshine. It was my first time ever skiing on Christmas day (actually snowboarding, all four of us), and all in all it was a pretty neat experience. Staff seemed a little nicer than usual, there had been new snow overnight which is always nice, there was a Santa Claus greeting people to the hill. The best thing was that the hill seemed a little less crowded than a normal holiday day. I spent the morning giving instruction to Amy who had never snowboarded before. After lunch, Amy went off to an actual class and I spent the afternoon cruising the mountain. Sometimes with Zhi, and sometimes by myself.

We had a great day on the mountain, and thank Amy and Kenny's Dad (Uncle) Darcy very much for allowing us to use his van to drive us all to Banff. That evening we all were back at Susan's parents place for dinner, a great serving of food. We opened some Christmas presents after dinner.

On boxing day we went out with family downtown for some dimsum. For the afternoon we walked around downtown and hiked through Princess Island Park and up the stairs on the North shore of the Bow River. We also managed to squeeze in some shopping of course--no PST!

The 27th Zhi, Susan and myself took the bus out to Sunshine to do some more skiing (thanks again to Susan's Uncle Darcy who drove us early-early to the bus pickup point). Zhi and I snowboarded while Susan spent the day skiing. Kenny skipped out because he wanted to sleep in and Amy had to work. There hadn't been any new snow since New Years Eve, and it was windier and colder than on Christmas day, there was certainly a lot more people too, but we had a good time. Once back in Calgary it was again out with family for dinner.

The 28th we spent the day in Calgary. Out with family for lunch and dinner with family hosted again at Susan's parents.

The 29th saw us given a ride by Susan's dad to the Budget where we rented a (BIG) Buick Century. With Amy along (Kenny was again sleeping in), the three of us were off to Edmonton. We had lunch in West Edmonton Mall, and then left Amy to wander the mall while we went and visited with Pauline and Eddy and the kids (Nicholas and Hayley). The visit was much too short but we enjoyed seeing our friends and their new house. Picking up Amy at the mall we went to ride the roller coaster (Glen's favourite), and then had a quick bite of dinner in the food court before making the drive back to Calgary.

The 30th saw us and Amy and Kenny taking our Century back out to Banff for one last day of skiing. Zhi couldn't make it since he was flying back to New York this day. This day I did ski with Susan, while Amy and Kenny snowboarded. It still hadn't snowed, so it was getting quite crusty, and today it was REALLY cold (and windy). While riding up the Chairlift Susan mentioned that my cheeks were turning white so we went in to the ski shop and both bought bank robber style masks. After that things were a little more comfortable and we both enjoyed the skiing.

The 31st saw us checking the Buick back in at the Budget at the airport (with minutes to spare before we had to pay overdue fees). Our flight wasn't for a few hours after the car check in so we spent some time looking around the airport. The Calgary Airport with it's recent renovations has one of the coolest secrets of any airport I've ever been in. The second floor has a very neat (permanent) exhibition. You can drive (real) Mars Land Rovers. They've got a little museum of things that have actually been in outer space (a Canadian flag, some unopened food, some rocks from the moon). They've got some very cool exhibits where you get to launch a rocket, and a couple of places where you can fly a plane. Most of it is free (including the flying a plane). There are some more advanced things you can pay for, and I had a great time, after paying, flying a full motion flight simulator.

At about eleven we got on our plane and had an uneventful flight to Kelowna. We always love flying in to a smaller airport since when you get off the plane you get to walk down the stairs, just like those famous movie/music stars from the early 60s. Glen's parents and nephew Zachary were right there waiting when we walked into the terminal. They had supposedly shown up just seconds before. We quickly enough collected our luggage and were soon on our way in Glen's parents truck heading to the Shuswap. We stopped in for lunch at at the A&W in Vernon.

Pleasantly surprising was that the family had decided to wait until we arrived before opening Christmas presents, so the first evening we were there, the 31st, was just like Christmas eve all over again. The tree still had a pile of presents under it.

The morning of the 1st we all got up and opened some great presents. We spent some of the day playing games, hiking up to our place where we all went toboggoning, and had some wild wipeouts.

The second was Ellen's birthday. To celebrate, Jim took Ellen out to Creekside Restaurant for her birthday dinner. Those who stayed home had some great fun practicing a musical performance that we performed for Jim and Ellen when they came home.

All too soon our holiday was over. We took the Greyhound Bus back to Vancouver. Jim kindly picked us up at the Coquitlam depot and gave us a ride home. It certainly was a good holiday!

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