Escape by Shower


Do you take a shower at night or in the morning? Early evening? After work? Or do you do shift work and grab one in the middle of the day? Are you quick or take a while? As I have figured out through some deep thinking lately, a shower is not a simple process.

For some people, it’s simply about getting clean. You turn on the water, get in, maybe wash your hair and body, and you’re out. The showering process can be all of 2 or 3 minutes long. I remember, years ago, when I was in university, that I met some military guys who had a competition: who could take the fastest shower. They were in and out in less than a minute, all clean and fresh.

I just don’t see the point of that. You see, for me, a shower is not just about getting clean. It’s also an escape. And I will clarify. I love, after a long and busy day, to close the door in the bathroom, turn on the hot water and gently and slowly get in the shower. As I put my head under the steaming hot water and close my eyes, all the craziness and stress of the day are washed away. I immediately relax.

I don’t want to rush through a shower. Of course, I wash my hair and body, but I also take this time to release the tension of the day. It’s incredible. It is my escape. While I don’t rush through a shower, I definitely take my time.

I like to shower once my kids have gone to sleep (which can be quite late sometimes) and the house is quiet. The night time shower is what I prefer over one in the morning. I think the biggest problem with a morning shower is that I can’t take my time and relax. I have too many thoughts in my head about all the things I need to do before I leave my house for the day as well all the tasks ahead for the day. There is no relaxing, no escape. And often, when I do shower in the morning, there is a husband or child banging on the door.

Then there is the bath. I have always been intrigued how some of us are “bath people” while others are “shower people” I remember one House Hunters show in particular where the couple told their realtor that they didn’t want to look at any properties with a bathtub. The husband said he didn’t understand how anyone wanted to lie in their own filth. As he put it, your body is basically dirty before you get in the tub, so you are lying in dirty water.

He has a point, but I will admit that I am both a shower person and a bath person. I don’t go the route of the bath every day, but if I have a sore back or sore legs or am suffering from a nasty cold, a bath gives me great relief. But like a shower, the escape only happens for me at night. That’s when I can truly relax.

What are your shower habits? Or do you prefer baths? Morning? Night? Other? I would love to hear more. Leave me a comment here, or post something on Facebook, or Tweet me @AliciaRichler.

Skiing Takes my Stress Away


I would not consider myself an athlete. When asked if I play sports like baseball or hockey, my answer is often, “those who don’t play, watch.” I like to watch sports and love to talk about them, especially with my son. But not always. There is one sport in which I actively participate: downhill skiing.

My parents first put me on a pair of skis when I was four years old. I don’t actually remember what it felt like that first time as I was so young. It was a time before young children learned about “pizza’ and “french fries” on the ski hill. I learned the basics of snow plow and found my way down.

Our family skied at various places in Ontario and Quebec. Well-known Laurentian hills like Mont Tremblant, Mont Saint Saveur and Morin Heights gave me my first early exposure to good quality skiing conditions. I took lessons at a small place in Ontario called Devil’s Elbow, and sometimes we ventured further to places like Blue Mountain, and more recently, to Alpine Ski Club.

First day selfie on the ski hill this season

Note that I keep using the word “we.” That’s important. Skiing was a sport my whole family did together – my parents, brother and sister too (she was on skis before she was even three!). No matter how busy we were all week, in the winter our family jumped in the car on a Saturday morning (or during a winter vacation) and headed to the ski hill. It was our break from life and a chance to spend quality time together.

Think about all the sports in which you participate or watch. How many of them can a family all do together, as one unit? Or even if a family can, do they? Skiing is one of those. I felt privileged as a child and even more so now as an adult, to be able to ski every winter weekend with my family.

David tested out snowboarding a few years ago. A rare picture of us on the hill together
I think we take too many selfies on the hill.
Cousins testing out the ski hill at night, for some railing fun.

And when I say my family – I mean my parents, my siblings and their families and my husband and children too. It’s a rite of passage in our family. A baby learns to walk, then run, then ski. And the diaper is still on!

Two-year-old Matthew gets some instruction from his Zaidy during his first season on skis
Matthew, in blue, on skis for the first time at age 2, with his big cousins.
Julia, age two, on skis
We start them young. Matthew took Nessa for a mini ride when she was less than a year old
We just had to take a selfie last winter during Nessa’s first visit to the ski hill

As any ski family will agree, getting ready to go skiing in the morning, in a house with piles of children (more on our family country home another day) can be a rather unpleasant and sometimes downright horrible experience. At the height of the season we are 16 people in the house – an even 8 adults and 8 children. The children range in age from one to fifteen. And no one cooperates. Someone is always crying or screaming or fighting with a sibling. Socks are lost. The previous day’s long under wear wasn’t washed because a child forgot to put it in the laundry. A glove was left at the ski hill the day before and a tantrum ensues.

We rush to the car, zoom to the hill and deal with the next level of craziness: get the kids out, strap their skis and snowboards to their feet and throw them on the hill. Someone is usually crying, screaming or fighting yet again. Is it all worth it?


Once I am at the top of the mountain and look down at the sparkling white snow ahead of me all my stress disappears. I can let go. I am free. All the craziness of the week, my career and my family melt away. I let my skis take me down the hill. Yes, it is all worth it.

The view I love. That’s Julia, my father and Matthew sliding down the hill together last year.
There’s always a fun mix of family on the hill, like my mother, nephew and daughter.

It’s about minus 15 outside today, and I am in the city and unable to go skiing. But tomorrow, well that’s another story. It may be cold outside (okay, it is insanely freezing), but I will be out there on the ski hill doing my thing. As will my parents, siblings their kids, my kids and maybe even my husband (okay, not the baby, she will be in the daycare). And I will be skiing every weekend this winter. If you need to find me, look for me on the hill.

Canadians are Dreaming of a White Christmas

white Christmas

If you live in Canada (and many other parts of the world), whether you celebrate or not, you are surrounded by Christmas. Through the twentieth century, and into the twenty-first, this Christian holiday has crossed over and immersed itself in all parts of society. So for me, just living in Canada, means I am part of the Holiday season and all the good (and bad) that goes with it.

As we live in the heart of a big city, my children are exposed to many different kinds of cultures every day of the year. They see Chinese New Year festivals mid-winter. Ramadan, celebrated by Muslims, is a holiday they learned about in the spring this past year. And there is Diwali in the Fall, which is observed by Hindus.

But Christmas is something else. It’s everywhere. From lights on our neighbours’ homes to commercials on TV to utter insanity in every store, this holiday is all around us. During the month of December, I feel there is a special spirit in the air. We may run around like crazy people, schlepping kids to school, struggling in traffic to get to work and fighting for the last parking spot in the mall. But somehow, there is a feeling of good cheer all around, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

December in most Canadian cities can feel dark and everything around seems dirty. It’s the time of year with the fewest hours of light and the trees are bare. We hope for bright skies and fresh falling snow. Canadians are dreaming of a White Christmas. And I mean all Canadians, even me.

And this year, ta da, many of us got just that. We made our way yesterday afternoon to London, Ontario, to the home of David’s sister. She celebrates Christmas with her family, and for the past number of years we have joined them. My kids love to spend time with many members of their extended family, and Christmas gives us the opportunity to do that.

On Sunday afternoon, we drove through Southwestern Ontario as a winter storm was brewing, and as we approached London, the skies began to darken, fog rolled in and then the snow. By the time we arrived at my sister-in-law’s home the streets were snow covered and the storm was starting to come in full force.

The beautiful, fluffy white snow blanketed the neighbourhood overnight, brightening the sky with its clean reflection. We woke up this morning to what I love best – that light, fluffy and bright snow that every child dreams of on Christmas morning.

We actively participate in the morning rituals of opening gifts and enjoyed a scrumptious brunch of fried eggs, bagels, hot coffee and other goodies. There are treats to nibble on all over the house, and tonight we will enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by David’s sister and her husband – giant kosher turkey and all!

White Christmas
The kids enjoy a game of cards with their cousin this morning
White Christmas
Nessa hangs out with her big cousin, Blackjack, the family dog.

The snow continues to fall steadily outside, the wind is blowing, sending the snow upwards sometimes too. It’s freezing cold outside for sure, but it’s warm and cozy where I’m sitting. I am watching the snow fall, and it brings a smile to my face. This is what this time of year is all about in Canada – where dreams of a White Christmas come true.

The Food Network Makes Me Hungry

food network

I like to watch HGTV when I have the chance, and I enjoy every version of House Hunters that has been created. I don’t have a lot of time to watch television, but I am also partial to the Food Network. I am not a professional chef (not at all, I have never even attended a real cooking class), but I love to cook and bake. There’s only one big problem with every show on the Food Network: they make me hungry.

The best way to watch any show on the Food Network is with a snack in one hand and the remote control in the other hand. No matter what show it is, as soon as I turn it on, I am hungry. Somehow on TV everything just looks so tasty.

It can be 11:00 at night, 9:00 am or noon, and no matter what they are cooking or baking on any show, I start to crave it. Meat and potatoes, fresh fish, vegetables or a decadent dessert, I want it.

As I write, I am watching Top Chef, a show that’s been on the Food Network for 15 seasons. It brings together some of the greatest chefs. The show is a mix of big egos, competition and great food. Sometimes the food they cook looks so good on my TV screen that I just want to reach in and grab it. I can’t get through an episode without heading to the kitchen to grab a snack, usually a big snack.

I went through a phase when I wanted to watch Chopped all the time, but I have little patience for that one anymore. Four chefs are given a basket of ingredients that they must include in a dish they are cooking for a panel of three judges. By the end of the third round, the final person is chopped and a winner is declared. Sometimes they cook scrumptious looking dishes, but they often run out of time and throw a mess onto the plate. That doesn’t make me quite as hungry.

Then there is Master Chef. This show doesn’t actually air on the Food Network, but hey, it’s a show about food so it fits in here. While I often watch Food Network shows on my own, my whole family joins me for Master Chef. And we have learned that the only way to watch this show is while we eat dinner.

When this show’s main host, Gordon Ramsay, holds a master class for the group of amateur chefs, I watch in fascination then can’t wait to cook the dishes myself. I literally can feel myself (and David) salivating as we watch the master of all master chefs himself cook anything. He could probably make stale bread taste good.

The Food Network has shown me that cooking is not just about eating, it’s also about creating incredible works of art. It’s about bringing flavours and aromas together with design and flair. Today’s professional chefs need to cook food that tastes good and looks great. Not an easy task. And if they are really talented, they have stage presence as well and can snag a TV deal.

But at its core, the Food Network is about eating. You can do all kinds of crazy things with food but at the end of the day, what we all want to do is just eat it. And the best shows on this channel make me want to eat immediately. Just writing about food makes me hungry, I need a snack. Now.

When Your Team Loses, Big Time

team loses

We all want our team to win. It can be heartbreaking when they lose. Wouldn’t it be great if the Blue Jays went 162-0 in 2018? Imagine if the Raptors won all 82 games they played? Okay, that’s not going to happen, but we all want our team to win as many games as possible. Your team will lose sometimes. But it’s just pathetic when your team loses badly, by many runs, points or goals.

That happened to my team yesterday. I love the Carolina Hurricanes. I have a personal connection with this team going back to the early days in my career, and I always want them to win. They went all the way in 2006, but winning has been a bit of a challenge for this team since then.

So the Hurricanes lose more often than they win over the last few years (though they do still have a winning record this season). I don’t like that, but I have accepted it. When they lose 4-2 or 2-1 or even 3-0 it’s rough. But they lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs yesterday by a score of 8-1.  The Canes were down 2-0 with less than six minutes played in the game. And by the end of the first period the hole was even deeper, down 4-1.

And this wasn’t just any game. They played the Maple Leafs, in Toronto, on the 100th anniversary of this storied Canadian hockey franchise. As the disastrous third period unfolded (two goals scored six seconds apart, really?!), I tried to remind my Leaf-loving son that at least MY team won the Stanley Cup this century and not 50 years ago. He shrugged it off and laughed, as the Leafs scored yet again.

When your team loses that badly it’s just embarrassing. You try to find something positive in the game, and you come up empty. All I could think of was that at least the Hurricanes weren’t shut out. Isn’t an 8-1 loss so much better than an 8-0 loss?

I tried to explain this after the game to my Leaf-loving son who ran around the house in celebration, both of the massive win and 100th anniversary of his beloved team. He laughed at me again. He doesn’t know about the many long, sad years when Leaf fans saw their team lose again and again. But I wasn’t a fan of the Leafs. I was – and am – a fan of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Okay, so my team lost, big time. But they will recover, and they will get ‘em next time. Go Canes Go!

Nightmares from Bambi


I was horrified as I watched the movie. I almost couldn’t look at my TV screen. It was just too terrifying. When would she die? How would he react? It was too much for me. And it was a Disney movie. A really bad, yet classic, Disney movie. Have you ever seen Bambi?

I am quite sure I saw Bambi as a child, many years ago. Clearly I didn’t remember it at all. I watched it with my kids on Sunday night, and it was awful. Maybe the problem was that I knew the plot. Or to put it another way, I knew that Bambi’s mother would be killed during the movie. But I didn’t know when.

Would she die soon after Bambi was born, the first time in the meadow, or a bit later, when they nibble on the first grass of spring? I know his mother’s death, by the gunshot of a hunter, was not the only focus of this 1942 film, but it’s all I could focus on.

Bambi’s friends, the furry bunny named Thumper and cute little skunk named Flower, are adorable, sure. The singing birds are sweet too. And oh, his love and devotion to the fawn, Faline, is admirable. But that’s meaningless.

I sat on the couch with my kids, and even they knew, from the first scene when Bambi was born, that his mother would die. We even made jokes about it.  All we could think about as we watched this classic cartoon, when will Bambi’s mother die?

When it finally happened, when Bambi safely made it back into the forest and his little voice called out over and over again, “Mother,” it got even worse. Bambi’s father suddenly appeared, scaring the poor little deer, he said, in his strong voice, “Your mother can’t be with you anymore.” So we started to yell back at the TV, “Of course not, she’s dead.”


I guess we all tried to deal with our feeling of utter horror as we watched the movie by using humour that was even worse.

And this is a movie for children? What? This movie is dark and kind of terrifying. What about the scene with the birds in the trees? They talk about feeling that the hunters are near. One bird urges another, who is clearly very agitated, to just stay quiet and still. But to no avail.

This very anxious bird can’t take it anymore and yells, “We better fly.” And it does. It flies into the air, then we hear a gun shot. Then a blood-soaked, dead bird drops to the ground. All in cartoon. I was traumatized. And I’m 41 years old!


Why do people automatically think that if it’s a cartoon then it’s a movie for children? Or at least maybe they did 75 years ago? This movie tackles some very mature and disturbing issues, most of which are way beyond anything a child should learn about in a movie. If my 7-year-old wants to learn about murder and guns, she can watch the 11:00 pm news with me.

Thank goodness Bambi has a running time of only one hour and ten minutes. Even that was too long. I’m glad it all ended in the usual happy Disney way, as Bambi mates with his love, Faline, and his babies are born. But the trauma of waiting for his mother to be killed still haunts me. Maybe next time I will just watch an episode of The Simpsons. They are a nice, normal family.

The Stress of Calling my Telecommunications Provider


I sat on hold on the phone for 45 minutes yesterday. That’s not bad. I figured I would be on hold for 60 minutes. And it took much longer to get up the nerve to pick up the phone and dial. It is stressful, bordering on traumatic, every time I need to call my telecommunications provider.

We live in an age and in a society in which we rely heavily on technology and the services that support this habit. Gone are the days when households paid for a telephone line and maybe some basic cable. Today’s major telecommunications companies in Canada, such as Rogers, Bell, Telus and Shaw, to name a few, began as single-service providers and grew into so much more.

A typical Canadian home, like mine, subscribes to many services, including a home phone, TV cable or satellite, internet and wireless. Many telecommunications companies also offer alarm monitoring, online sports packages or even magazine subscriptions. I personally don’t have all of these, few of us do, but I have many of them.

Telecommunications companies love lazy people like me. I can’t be bothered to have each service in my home from a different company, so I can play one off another and keep the price down. It’s just easier to choose one of them and maximize the value. They also love me because I like to subscribe to some premium levels of their services as I don’t have the time or energy to do much on my own.

For example, some people subscribe to basic cable, then they also have Netflix and/or other downloadable, web-based options like Hulu. Or some of them dumped cable altogether and exclusively get content from a mix of web-based subscriptions. It’s a bit more work to find what you want to watch in different ways. I just can’t be bothered. I stuck to my telecommunications provider’s “VIP Cable” option and get it in one place.

Eventually, I did drop my telecommunications provider’s home phone service. I was paying almost $50 per month for a phone line that was attached to my internet’s modem, and that was even too much for me. Thanks to my IT savvy brother, I switched to a fantastic option called Fongo that also is internet-based but only costs $5 per month. It’s not perfect, but it’s cheaper.

Not perfect. None of my services are perfect. The internet is often slow or doesn’t work at all. My kids love to watch the “on-demand” channels on TV, but so often get a message on the TV screen that says “service not available right now.”

And Canadians pay way too much for our wireless services. Why does data have to be so expensive? Why should I pay so much for so little?

Which brings me back to where I began. I sat on hold on the phone for 45 minutes yesterday. To get more data and more Canada-wide talk time, for less than I was paying before. And to get credit on my account for a massive internet outage in my home the previous month. I knew I had to make the call and felt my heart race as I dialed the toll-free number.

I upgraded my wireless services and got the full credit for the telecommunications company’s internet screw-up. But my bill is still too high and the service I receive is still not good enough.

But the call is over. Until next time.

*Note to my readers: My brother explained to me that one Canadian telecommunications company put out an incredible wireless deal recently, and with tremendous pressure all their competitors followed suit. I just switched to a wireless plan that gives me (yes, just my mobile device) 10 GB of data and unlimited Canada wide calling, for just $60 per month. There’s always the famous asterisk online, so read all the details if you want to get this deal too. But this deal, or at least the specific one I got, expires TODAY. So if you want it, do it now!

17 Potatoes Makes 95 Latkes


I have seen dozens of posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram the last few days that have featured groups of people standing in front of a lit nine-branch menorah, wishing me a Happy Chanukah. Those are all nice photos, as we celebrate our festival of lights. But for me, it’s the festival of oil. Or fried oil to be more exact. Okay, for me it’s all about my latkes.

I don’t often boast like this, but I think I make the best latkes. For those of you who don’t know what latkes are (first of all, shame on you), I will briefly explain. The essence of the latke is the story of the great miracle that is at the heart of the story of Chanukah. The quick version goes back over 2,100 years ago, when a small but brave group of Jews living in Jerusalem, led by the Maccabees, defeated the Syrian forces, led by King Antiochus IV. As they cleaned up their desecrated temple, the Jews found only enough oil to light the lamps for one night.

But a great miracle happened, and the oil lasted for 8 nights! So, while there is much to celebrate during the holiday of Chanukah, we always remember the oil. And what better way to celebrate oil then to heat a ton of it up in a fry pan and cook some delectable food?

Take a potato, shred it (with a hand shredder of course), mix in eggs, onion, a bit of flour, baking powder, salt and pepper, and you have the ingredients of a latke. Or in my case, 17 potatoes, and you get 95 latkes. I take latke-making very seriously, and a big reason for why mine are so good is that I have the spirit and strength of my grandmothers with me as I cook.

First of all, I wear my Nanny’s apron. It’s not gorgeous, but it protects me from oil splatters and keeps me relatively clean. Second, I use my Bubby’s electric fry pan, which is definitely older than I am. Maybe it’s built-in grime from decades ago is what makes my latkes extra tasty.

I jumped into my annual latke-making on Tuesday night, the first night of Chanukah. With my range hood fan set to high and electric fry pan powered up, I got to work. My parents, uncle, children and husband were on hand to test and taste, and we ate through a few dozen latkes in no time.

Yesterday I brought in a bunch of latkes from the Tuesday night batch to work. I enjoyed watching my colleagues dive in. For one person, it was her first ever latke. She timidly asked me, with her latke on her plate, what exactly is a latke, and I proudly explained. Then she tasted it and was hooked. I really felt like a proud mother at that moment, when I saw my colleague enjoy her first latke. It made my day.

So, you ask, what makes MY latke so good? Well, I think it’s many things. Good, quality potatoes (I like Yukon Gold), parboil the potatoes and hand shred them. Gently mix the batter of course. Piping hot oil in my Bubby’s electric fry pan of course. And I form my potato mixture into a slightly flattened ball. I immerse the latkes in hot oil just long enough so that they are golden brown and crispy on the outside but perfectly soft on the inside.

Beautiful Yukon gold potatoes


The shredded potato mixture is ready to jump into the fry pan – note newspaper set up to protect my countertops from the flying grease.
Don’t the latkes look happy in there?
Look at that bubbling oil. Scrumptious.

Is your mouth watering now? Are you craving a hot, greasy, crispy one right now? I’d share a few more from my batch, but I only have a few left. We can’t stop eating them!

Close up of the golden crispy latkes

And while I admit that I was more focused on my latkes than my family on Tuesday night, and took many more photos of my kitchen than my children, I did snap a family selfie last night, on the second night of the holiday. What would Chanukah be without a photo of children and a lit Chanukiah? And latkes of course!

Happy Chanukah!

Yes our token sweet family with the lit Chanukah photo. We had to do it.

I am not a Bandwagon Toronto FC Fan

Toronto FC

Matthew and I are fans of the Mighty Toronto FC, our local Major League Soccer (MLS) club that won the big championship this past weekend. Unlike the bandwagon we joined when the Toronto Argonauts won the Grey Cup a couple of weeks ago, we are the real thing. Well, kind of.

Soccer, or as the rest of the world (except Canada and the United States) calls it, football (no, not the NFL or CFL), is a sport I have always enjoyed. Okay, when I say enjoyed, I mean to say that I enjoy watching. I’m not much of a soccer player. It’s not in my top group of sports that I follow, like baseball, hockey and basketball, but I like it.

I remember when Toronto FC joined the MLS back in 2007, and wow, they were bad. But aren’t expansion teams supposed to be terrible? I watched the odd game and kind of followed them during that first season, and I monitored the team’s progress over the following years as their record steadily improved.

I think my story is quite similar to many others across North America who follow MLS. You won’t find millions of diehard soccer fans across the US and Canada like you may see in Europe or South America. But the MLS fans are loyal. They love soccer and they love their local team.

Toronto FC fans are great, and I want to send a shout-out to all of you who have been watching the games on TV and going to the matches over the past 10 years. Soccer is an exciting sport to watch, and there is always tremendous athleticism on display. Fans are always treated to a great show.

And this year’s Toronto FC team was something special.

This incredible group of athletes broke so many MLS records. The team finished the season with 69 points, which was of course a new league record. It also won a special soccer triple crown: the 2017 Canadian Championship, the Supporters’ Shield and of course the MLS Cup this past weekend. This team is the perfect example of a true champion.

And Matthew and I have been following Toronto FC’s rise to become league champions for a couple of years. We watched the disappointing loss in the league championship game last year, when it all came down to a shoot-out. Wow do I hate shoot-outs (that’s for another day). How can a 90-minute, hard-fought match come down to a few free kicks on a goalie? Really? But I digress.

We knew early on that this season was THE ONE. This team was almost unbeatable, and it was like magic on grass every time they played. I knew who my favourite player was – of course, Jozy Altidore, who dons the jersey with the big number 17 on the back. Matthew agreed with me, of course!

Matthew was thrilled to meet Jozy Altidore in Chicago

We even had the opportunity, in amazing seats, to see our team play – and win – in Chicago this summer. While we did not receive a warm welcome at Toyota Park from the local Chicago Fire fans, we didn’t care. Our team won! On that day in August we knew we were hooked. And we knew that Toronto FC could go all the way.

Toronto FC
Of course we had to take a selfie from our seats at Toyota Park this summer.

And oh they did. With grace and style. This is a team to remember and to celebrate. We watched every minute of the championship game on Saturday and sat on the edge of our seats as Toronto FC dominated early on. And then MY player, Mr. Jozy Altidore, scored the big goal. And we knew they could do it.

Congratulations to Toronto FC. And congratulations to the loyal fans. Let the celebrations continue.

First Snow of the Season


I have a rule that I won’t pull out my heavy duty warm winter coat until December 1st. There’s always a few chilly days in November that make me consider regretting that I made this rule. But I just can’t embrace winter until December beckons. So, December is here. The winter coat has come out. It’s mighty cold outside, and the season’s first snow is on the horizon.

There is something magical about snow in December. The image of white flakes gently falling from the sky, blanketing the city, brings a smile to my face. Once a couple of centimeters have come down, the bright and clean snow covers the ugliness of bare trees and dirty sidewalks.

The kids run outside to build the first snowman of the year, throw snowballs at their father and even pull out a shovel to clean the front walkway and driveway. In my neighbourhood, everyone cleans the sidewalks and driveways quickly after the first snow. It’s as though we are all excited to experience the first taste of the fresh winter season.

Matthew shovelling us out following a 2016 winter storm

Turn on the radio or flick on the TV and the broadcasters are muttering the warnings of a “special weather statement.” An Arctic low is approaching that will combine with a system that formed in the Gulf of Mexico, which will bring plunging temperatures, high wind and snow accumulation. Make sure the winter tires are on. Fill the tank with gas. Take out the winter boots, hats and gloves. Get ready.

The first snow of the season has arrived in Southern Ontario. Some areas north of Toronto already have a significant accumulation of the white stuff, but I think only today we will experience our first real winter wallop. Or at least that’s what the meteorologists say on my Weather Network app. They predict that the city of Toronto will get anywhere from 5 to 15 cm of snow over the next day or so. Whatever that means.

The view to my backyard after some snow

No matter how much snow we receive, I believe that Torontonians will embrace our first real snowfall of the 2017-2018 season. Since today is December 11th, I have to figure that many people are dreaming of a white Christmas. If the temperatures stay cold and we keep getting more snow, their wish will come true.

fresh snow on the ground after a storm last year

Note that I say more snow. If you want the city of Toronto to be blanketed in white on December 25th, then I can promise you that it won’t be if we get snow today and no more for the next two weeks. You see, what quickly happens to the beautiful fluffy white snow within hours of it falling on the ground? 

It turns brown. Or grey. Or even black, when it gets really dirty.

Which is why the excitement of the first snow of the season doesn’t last long. Okay, maybe the hearty Canadians that we are, we embrace the first few snowfalls in December. But for many people, come January, the fun is over. The temperature keeps plummeting, the trees are still bare and the city is dirty.

But the first snow also means that winter activities can begin. What’s your fancy? Skiing? Snowboarding? Skating? Sledding? For me, it’s skiing. Stay tuned for what I’m sure will be many posts over the coming months about my skiing adventures.