Friday, January 31, 2014

New Years Eve

I know many of my Chinese friends will be quick to correct me that New Years Eve was yesterday!

And it was for you and Happy New Year to you today!

But for me.....

Today is my personal New Years Eve

And is often the case, one pauses on the eve of a new thing, and reflects.......

So 43..... how did we do?

When I look back to THIS POST a year ago in which I chose my "one little word" as CONNECT I think I would put a great big check mark next to most of the connections I was hoping for.

To be honest connections and connecting probably exceeded my expectations.

As I reach my mid-40's (and how the heck did THAT happen?) I do increasingly feel grounded within myself. My inner discourse is more mature and more balanced.  My 30's handed me some pretty rough seas and knocked much of myself, who I am, right off track.  But the last couple of years I feel my feet back under guardedness less oppressive and my heart more expansive.

Not to mislead you that I have found some zen-yoga-peacenik-hippy "thing" .... I am still an overplanning, catastrophic thinking, overly dramatic, somewhat driven woman moving at warp speed most of the time.

It's just a tad quieter and calmer in my head and heart....... and that's a good start yes?

I have continued to love the connection of writing and blogging and photography, especially instagram where I love my little community of Clickin Moms.  I have had my photos featured a few times and even requests to purchase.... crazy stuff but fun!

I love the quiet moments I have enjoyed while capturing the shot....they fill me up.

I had a record breaking attendance at Jazzercise last year - well record breaking for me.  I love my connection to the Jazzer crew and as I start my 4th year I still love going.  I did a foray into running with a great local coach and despite my huge misgivings I loved it....I got up to running 5kms in pretty short order and loved being out there on the road challenging myself.  A shoulder that had been bothersome became increasingly painful and eventually when diagnosed with frozen shoulder I stopped running.  I miss it.  Maybe when the frozen is finally out of the shoulder I will try again.

Generally 43 was a very healthy year for me.  My attendance at the ER was entirely due to my sons skill in breaking bones.

Our connections as a family and extended family bring much joy, some sadness and the odd bout of tension. The past year I carried much of the planning for our big trip but I also achieved my goal of engaging the rest of the family in researching and planning and dreaming with me.  We definitely came together as a unit of 4 as we prepared and anticipated and we had such a blast together in South Africa and Europe.

Such a huge, huge gift to my heart to be treasured for many years to come.

And of course we connected with family here and overseas..... what a joy to see cousins fall so quickly into each others reconnect with siblings and parents.... to be part of a large extended family even for so short a time.  Connections that will hold forever even over such vast distances.

My parents continue to be a huge part of our lives and such a help to us..... we had some fun adventures together and we always love cozying up at the Cabin with them for a weekend

This year has been such a contrast in friendships for me.  What a joy and a hoot to connect with old school friends after a lot of years and feel just so "at home"....conversations easy, shared history remembered and laughed about.....catching up with where life has taken each of us.

There is something deep and profound about friends who hold that history with you.

I have also come to cherish a few new friendships in the last year with some truly wonderful people.

People who see me now, this me.

It is refreshing to find friends in this phase of life who are also in this phase of walk the "now" journey together... such fun and blessing and adventure.

I so wanted to connect with community this year....and in this I may have fallen slightly short of my personal goals.

They were big goals.

I have been much more intentional in my connections at church and in my professional work and in my neighbourhood.  I still desire more in this regard but my life and schedule may leave this goal sidelined for this phase of my life......maybe the future holds more for community building and connecting?

I remain a big fan of social media and technology for the connections it does allow me.  I read my beloved and much missed Miss P a bedtime story on facetime the other day.... precious opportunity.

Work was hard this year.  Stressful and very, very busy and no end in sight to that trend.  If not for amazing colleagues to work with everyday I am not sure where I would be today.  We came together and dug deep and found our way forward.  And forward we keep on moving.....  Ever grateful that as busy and crazy as work is it still fulfills my core values....I still believe so deeply in the work and I know that is a gift in itself.

43 delivered some life time moments both good and challenging......a very full year with some very big goals.

My beloved Allan remained my touchstone through it all......listening, holding the fort at home many times, assembling child care furniture, training that monkey puppy of ours, driving on the wrong side of the road and kissing me goodnight every night and whispering "I love you" in my ear.
Same spot 22 years later - we said "I do" again
I love you too Sweetie.

So 43 - thanks for playing along, for another 365 days on this planet, for the growing and learning and joy and adventure and love and even for the crappy stuff....... it's all part of this thing we call LIFE.

For any part YOU played in my life I thank you - life is drudgery without connections and friendship and faith!

So 44..... what's up?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up

We are back in the groove of life.

So a busy week led into a busy weekend.  

On Friday night we had a lovely skype with the Hofs in Edmonton.....P2 kept trying to kiss the screen - too sweet..... I can't wait to go and visit them.

Then we walked through yet another foggy evening to the pub and had a meal and a beer with E and F.... so great to chill and chat and laugh (I think some planning about fishing trips may have occurred).....good friends are such a gift.

I taught all day Saturday - 34 students..... mostly happy and engaged and they enjoyed being at our newest centre and seeing what can be done.....I felt proud of the work our staff does.

But a long day on my feet left me feeling beat.  

I was driving home with my head resting on my arm propped on the my surprise the closer I got to home I could see it lay in a thick fog bank although I had been in the sunshine all day.  

I took my usual detour down to the river and I could see the whole sun through the fog, sinking into the was such an awesome sight.  Of course all I had was the trusty iPhone but I stopped a few times and took some mediocre shots but I also just sat for a few minutes and marveled at the unusual sight of fog shrouded sun...

I felt rejuvenated in just a few minutes.... a few minutes of beauty in nature, a gift from the Creator to a tired one.  Blessed.

Allan and David had been to soccer on the North Shore and done some shopping and had a lovely meal was underway.  Our friend DW joined us and it was good to catch up with him over rib eye and a cab sav and a spirited discussion on some foodie topics.  

Lindsay had been at an Asian Cooking Class for much of the day and casually made a starter of tea smoked quail with garlic and green onion and marinated diakon and carrot served on mini Asian pancakes...... incredible..... She is so assured and accomplished in the kitchen.  She can also now make Dad Dan noodles and ramen noodles (Jennifer C....did you hear that!!) which makes me VERY happy.  Thanks EV for being her person at cooking class.

David went off to a party....yes a party......just like that (insert snap of fingers) my children are in a new zone of social interactions.....and I think I am coping very well....thanks for asking!  They are being responsible and having a lot of fun and I am surviving on less sleep again... 

Off to church this morning in pea soup fog..... maybe the most dense its been since back in November.  

This afternoon David and I headed downtown to MissionsFest to help out at my Dad's booth and give my parents a break.  We saw several friends including an old friend of mine I haven't seen since I was here in 1988 - it was a hoot to catch up!

Once we were done David and I were off to find another Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival spot to sample another delectable offering.

We ended up at Leonidas as the sun attempted to break through the fog downtown making for some cool photos.  He had the #33 - "TIGER MILK"  White Belgian chocolate with cardamom, nutmeg and saffron.) and I had the #34 - "NOISETTE" Praline Belgian milk chocolate and they were both fantastic - David's especially so. We may have had a waffle.

I love dates with David - he is so easy to get along with and always up for an  adventure....he has a real zest for life and new experiences.

 We caught the train home where Allan had put the crock pot to good use making ham and split pea soup as well as two other meals for the week and an amazing dinner for tonight....WHAT a guy!  I am one lucky lady!

So now for a delicious meal of lamb and greek potatoes and salad followed by homemade Rustic Pear Pie.....

AND a four day week ahead....... yes.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Unsecured Passengers

The first time Lindsay noticed people in South Africa riding in the back of an open pick-up she shrieked and Allan nearly drove off the road.....

She was afraid for their lives.....she had literally never seen people on highways and busy urban street just sitting out in the open, some standing, some in the open trunk of the car.....we had forgotten just how common it was in SA.

It became a thing to spot them (not hard to do unfortunately) and although we got her to stop shrieking in alarm it never ceased to amaze and alarm both the kids (and us) the whole trip...... 

So of course I took a terrible series of shots from our moving car of unsecured passengers.......

When in Africa......of course our kids wanted a turn to ride in the boot (trunk) on a quiet mountain road they did.....turns out...not so comfy after all...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Whitewash

In the Western Cape of South Africa white buildings abound, often in the Cape Dutch Style but also sometimes whitewashed fishermen or farmers cottages..... so bright in the African lovely to photograph.....