Friday evening, the Amazing Flatmate threw a spectacular Christmas get-together for all our friends. There was lots and lots of food, and lots and lots of alcohol. It had been a fairly hectic week, so I was not feeling quite in the spirit of the party... until people started showing up. I know wonderful people, and they never fail to put me in a good mood.
The food was delicious, and the company was extraordinary. The Amazing Flatmate really outdid herself with this one!
Honestly, she worked so hard on this party - prepping for more than a week, and then spending two days cooking! I am in awe.
In lieu of gifts, we asked that anyone wanting to bring something do so for one or all of three charities:
I want to also extend a huge thank you to the Amazing Flatmate, who did all the organising, planning, shopping, cooking and cleaning for this event. I feel very badly that I couldn't help much at all. I sat at work feeling very guilty that while I was at the desk, the Amazing Flatmate was scurrying around the house doing productive things.
Guilt aside, it was a brilliant night. Thanks to everyone involved who made it so!
The following day was my family's Christmas get-together. This normally happens on Christmas day, but alas the party room had been booked already and there was no other option but to have it early. It was a marvellous time, as it always is with my family, despite the fact that I was nursing a slight hangover.
Like I said, there was plenty of alcohol Friday night.
My family is one of the warmest, funniest, most loving group of people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and I am so fortunate to belong to this gang of hilarious goofs. I love them so much!
I was told to bring my books to the event, as people wanted to buy. Alas, I was told too late to order in enough for everyone, so I just brought what I had left. It felt very weird to be selling books at the family gathering... I'm not a fan of it, but hey, it seemed to make them happy! I'm now officially out of stock of everything except a couple of copies of The Winter Wolf. Ordering new stock is going to cost an arm and a leg!
It was so lovely, and they're so lovely, I'm still smiling about that party.
Sunday gave me another reason to smile. I escaped prison!
Let me explain.
Ottawa now has a fair few puzzle rooms; rooms in which you must solve a series of puzzles in order to escape. I had, with friends, attempted one such room before. We did not escape, having had the buzzer go off just as we were inputting the final combination to get the key needed to escape. Damn everything! We were right there! I'm still salty about it!
This time, however, we managed to escape. This room, apparently, was the hardest room to escape from, having only a 9% escape rate. We managed it... with pure dumb luck.
We missed one piece of equipment, but still managed to escape the first section of the room. Then we missed a vital piece of equipment, and therefore a whole slew of puzzles (and thus answers), yet managed to get the combination necessary for a successful escape... by accident. Oh yes. You read that right. By accident.
I can't explain it in detail lest I spoil it for anyone thinking of attempting this room, but it was dumb luck that got us that last combination.
Most of the puzzles, though, we did solve. I have to say that my friend Jen was MVP this session, with her quick maths skills and her ability to see anagrams. Her husband Eric was instrumental in acquiring one piece of equipment we needed, and did a brilliant job of MacGyvering a workable solution to our equipment shortage (the equipment was needed to get the other equipment, which we got despite the lack of equipment. Easy enough to understand, right?). Thank heavens for tall people!
It was so much fun!
There are two rooms left at this particular location, and I want to try them both. I will organise another adventure soon. I adore puzzle rooms... and I adore puzzle games in general (the Myst series is one of my favourite game series of all time).
To top off a marvellous Sunday, I found out that my book Ethan Cadfael: the Battle Prince was mentioned alongside some very excellent books by very excellent authors (Robert J. Sawyer, Charles de Lint and Tanya Huff, for example) in a 2016 pick list! I'm thrilled and honoured, and still feeling like I shouldn't be mentioned amongst such brilliant people, but hey! I'll take it!
You can view the entire list here if you like. There are many fantastic books on it.
And last, but not least, Bundoran Press has now opened a short-story submission call for their up-coming anthology Lazarus Risen. The premise sounds amazing. I might attempt a story, but short stories are a skill that I don't quite have down. I might not submit... but I might. We'll see what I can come up with. I highly encourage everyone else to submit, though. You can find the submission details here.
And now I must go and do office things. It's our staff solstice party, and I'm in charge.