Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10's of 2010

Top 10 places

(it was a big year for travel for us)

1.       Disneyland (Happiest place on earth tops the list – I still wish I could live there)
2.       San Diego (Coronado / La Jolla / The Zoo / Homewood Suites Liberty Island)
3.       Tustin OC – good friends / patio dining
4.       Palm Desert – lucky not to have melted
5.       Joshua Tree National Park
6.       Beaches (Doheny / Huntington / San Clemente / Jericho )
7.       The Duffy Lake Road via Whistler (aka the Truck Adventure)
8.       Legoland, Carlsbad California
9.       Hollywood LA – a girls dream come true
10.     Dallas TX
11.     Grant’s Pass – It’s the Climate and the Cousins
12.     Seattle – never gets old for me
13.     Steveston  (especially the patio at the Blue Canoe)
14.     The Richmond Olympic Ozone - dancing to great music!
15.     Vancouver during the Olympics

(OK I can count – but it’s my list – get over it!)
Walk of Fame Hollywood

Huntington Beach

San Clemente


Joshua Tree National Park

San Diego

Happiest Place on Earth

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Just back from a winter wonderland... a few snowy pics for you!  The snow capped peaks against baby blue sky on the drive home today - spectacular!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The snow beckons

Its been wild and wet here for the last few days and as I sit here I can hear the rain beating down..... so we're out of here...... because when its raining here its snowing at Manning!  We are blessed to have a little cabin (and by "we" I mean my parents own a little cabin they generously share with us) at Sunshine Valley (Just beyond Hope!! Ha) and just 30 minutes from the ski runs at Manning Park Resort.  I will hunker down and write a couple of reports and prepare for the course that I start teaching January 5th (and maybe get some scrapbooking in) while Al and the kids head for the slopes.They are all so excited to get 2 days on the mountain.  We haven't started packing yet with Christmas and all so tomorrow will be busy! 

So blog world.... I will be gone for a few days ..... but .... I will be BACK!!! 

The Reading List - Christmas 2010

Here is the list of books given and received in our house today:
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle  - Barbara Kingsolver
Beer is proof God loves us - Charles W. Bamforth
American Cookery (A Novel) - Laura Kalpakian
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Lexie
Hardy Boys :The Tower Treasure" and "The House on the Cliff" - Franklin W. Dixon
Choosing to See - Mart Beth Chapman
In the Company of Others - Jan Karon
Minding Frankie - Maeve Binchy
Truce - Jim Murphy
The Time Quake - Linda Buckley-Archer
Everything Works - Mike McCardell
Travelers Tales of Paris - True stories by various authors
My Maasai Life - Robin Wiszowaty
The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barbery
One on One - Peter Mansbridge

Available to borrow - March 2011ish........

Seattle Photos

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Its the day before "The Day Before Christmas" and I have been checking things off my list since early this morning!  I started the season with an excel spreadsheet for all the people and all the gifts .....  it looked so great and I was so organised.  I updated it as each gift was bought and marked the row with an X when a "person" was all done!
And then I lost the plot.... the shopping outstripped the excelling....... so I was trying to mentally fill in the blanks as I was wrapping this afternoon (kids were out with my parents for some Christmas fun - Christmas music was on - kettle on the boil - ahhh).  Allan was helping me, trying not look alarmed as I kept pulling out bags and items ( we have WAY too many books ).  He retired to the Family room and declared on his FB status that the wrapping was done.  I popped upstairs with a feeling there was more and... BINGO I found another whole bag of stuff (and 4 more books).
This is somewhat of a "thing"...... however it usually happens just as everyone has opened their gifts on Christmas morning, my mind casts over the excel spreadsheet and I remember something I bought in October and stashed way back in the closet - I exclaim, run upstairs and reappear with said item.  You can actually see my family waiting in that moment after the tree is declared bare of all gifts for me to leap up and do my "thing". (secretly all hoping the forgotten item is for them!)
Well...... NOT this year - I am searching the nooks and crannies of the house now while everyone is out and I will find that hidden gem AND wrap it AND get it under the tree......!!! Lets see their faces on Christmas morning when I just sit there and smile (because no matter what I am not doing that "thing" - if there is a forgotten gift I will keep in until their birthdays - Ha!).
Noone is home tonight so I am having sugar cookies and Chardonnay for dinner - I earned the right after kicking my own butt at Jazzercise tonight!
Hope you and yours are feeling the joy tonight! (BTW - who are you? - 136 visits to this blog - OK... so 30 were me but who else is out there reading this?)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

From now on I will just post a photo from my vast archives (or something new) each Wednesday - just because!  Here's todays............. remember this highlight from 2010?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Know your stuff

As we head  north to the Canadian border madly tallying up receipts its always a tad alarming to be faced with how much money we spent. And then the justifying begins, "It was such a good deal, marked down from $129 to $29, I mean they were practically giving it away"....... "She really needed new jeans"...... "His PJ's were up to his knees"...... and on we go.  Much of this is true (although in truth Davids PJ's were just above his ankles) and the clothes will all be used and they were all good deals and we didn't stray too far off the list I made before we left (I find this helps stop too many impulsive buys).  But we did do more shopping for gifts...... the books are cheaper in the USA no question and we came back with several. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Being away

I was downtown Seattle for an hour on my own today and I was so enjoying walking around and going in and out of stores, and being part of the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping...... hang on a sec..... why do I love doing this here but at home it would seem like a chore?  I know Seattle pretty well - I think this is my 4th trip this year..... so while its different from home its not totally new to me.   I wish I could capture this "away" feeling at home in Richmond/ Vancouver... maybe I just need to try harder  - to see it through a new lens.
I do like the way being away makes my family a little tighter - no distractions of chores and other people (even ones we love). I am treasuring the time, trying to be in the moment and store it all up in my heart.

The US Economy

The Byres / Richardson Clan did our part to stimulate the US Economy yesterday enroute to Seattle!!  SUCH great bargains for everyone.  The outlets were fairly quiet but the Alderwood Mall was insane!  Arrived at our favourite Seattle hotel - Homewood Suites - lovely bay view from our suite BUT the best find was a little neighbourhood pub just up the hill in the Queen Ann district.  We had a great dinner and a couple of pints and strolled back to the hotel.  It was a glorious sunny crisp day and we had lots of fun.  Tomorrow my "POTter Heads" ( Allan, Lindsay and David) are off to the Pacific Science Centre to see the Harry Potter Exhibit on its last stop in the USA and boy are they excited!!  My parents and I are off to Pike Street and the downtown core to browse and sip coffee and people watch (the bank manager has slammed the vault shut after yesterdays damage;).  We love Seattle!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Family Saturday

This is supposedly the busiest shopping day of the year so NOTHING could induce me to go to the Mall. But a little stroll in our village Steveston  with my family was perfect!  I was up early and at Jazzercise for an hour and came home and had a lovely breakfast (yay bacon ;). We then headed into the village. First stop Library for holiday reading and then Lindsay and I sorted out her bank account while the boys went to Steveston Barbers for haircuts. Lindsay and I joined them there after the bank... the Barbers are so funny - its like stand up comedy!  I asked Barber Ryan why he hadn't got rid of the grey in Allans hair - he holds up his comb and says "This is a comb not a wand"  Ha ha.
Then we wandered around the village and made a few purchases at Nikaido and Pieces.  Had a coffee stop at the new coffee shop Rocannini (?) . Then more shopping at the Prickly Pear and the Spotted Frog - I decided on a snowflake theme for the Christmas dinner table and got some sweet stuff for that.  We hit the bakery, Herringers and the veggie store before outrunning the rain back to the car.
A totally happy morning with the family in one of our best places on the earth - I feel blessed!
And now to pack for our quick get-a-way to Seattle (can you say outlet shopping!!).

Friday, December 17, 2010

What have I done?????

I just created a blog...... I didn't mean to...... I am not sure I have time to........ YIKES!!!   I have been a blog-stalker for ages and I love the way people chronicle their lives, ordinary lives, and muse about things big and small.  My life is so full already with family and friends and work and 2 jobs other than my "real" job and stuff.... lots of stuff.  Could this be a way to find something for me in the middle of this? - could I let the frustrated writer within me out?..... will it become a monster?  OK so within the first paragraph you already know I over think just about everything.  So I'm diving in.... let's just see where this goes!!