Monday, June 29, 2015

Rhythm and Blues

Today was the first official day of the summer of 2015, if you ascribe to the school calendar, which 3/4 of my family do.

This is the day the rhythm changes.

The mornings are quieter, slower.  
The afternoons long (and at this moment also VERY hot).  
The evenings light and lovely.

People make plans, got to parties, BBQ, go camping, read in the backyard with their feet in the dogs new pool...and stuff, relaxing stuff.

My people do that.  

They are a chilling crew with adventures and naps ahead of them.  And fishing.  The boys off on a camping/fishing trip for 4 days tomorrow.

Their new rhythm = my blues

Because my rhythm is unchanging.  My alarm is still going off at 6am (and to be fair Allan is still teaching 3 days a week albeit with a later start and Lindsay has work too many days).  I came home today at 6pm after a meeting and no dinner even started...too hot, too lazy, too distracted by summer.

I love their new rhythm...I just wish it was mine too.

So on this hot evening after I did my fitbit steps I settled in to their rhythm and ate ice cream.

Because summer is here and so it #heatwave2015.

On August 19th our rhythm's will finally all be to the same beat, the beat of swaying Hawaiian palms,  as we board a plane to Maui for a week on this beach! 

Yes.  I am counting the sleeps.  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Dear Village. Thank You.

I have a love/hate relationship with June.  

The month of June.

It is always jam packed with school year end events as well as all the normal events for those of us not ending a school year. It is usually crazy busy.

But is also heralds the start of summer.  For my family is ends the school year and although summer is plenty full it marks a shift in schedules and routines.

This June was an exception.  I knew that Lindsay finishing Grade 12 would mean extra events. I was prepared for those.  Dress was purchased at Spring Break. Altered in plenty of time.  Valedictory tickets were purchased, delighted to secure enough so my parents could attend.

In other words, as per usual, I was pretty on top of things.

And as per usual I was so caught up in the logistics and arrangements that the emotions snuck up on me!  

It is sobering to see the cap and gown on your little girl.  To be part of the ceremony that both acknowledges their high school achievements and launches them onward.  

As we rose in the auditorium to sing O'Canada I was overcome with just how lucky our kids are, we all are, to live here and now, to have fantastic educators, good education, relative wealth and a community, a neighbourhood, of people we know and love, many of whom have been part of the village that helped us raise our kids.

As each of the 240 graduates crossed the stage they came to shake their Principal's hand.  Many flung their arms around him in genuine emotion.  He had a conversation with each one of them.  Each one.  As though there was no one else in the room.  We couldn't hear what he said but we could tell it was a heartfelt moment for both him and the student.  Each time I look at these photos of the moment he had with Lindsay (in which he turned her around to face us, knowing I would have the camera ready) it brings tears to my eyes.  I think every parent wants to know that someone noticed, knew their child.  That there were adults around high school that cared about not only what she was (or wasn't ) doing but about who she is and is becoming.  Neil Kamide showed he knew her and he cared about her and about us which is a true reflection of his character as a person and a leader of a huge school.  I am deeply grateful to him and to all the Educators who invested in Lindsay.

It was a long but thoroughly lovely evening that ended at 10:30pm with a McDonald's drive through for hungry Byres.  Desperate measures for desperate times!

And yesterday - Prom.  Another teary Mama day.  But how utterly lovely she looked, how poised and confident.   And what fun she had.  The photos, the red carpet at the school in hot sunshine. They then hopped aboard buses to a downtown Vancouver hotel for a dinner dance with speeches and toasts (no parents).  The buses bring them back to the school around 11pm where they stay and party until 5am.  It is called the Dry Grad event and was conceived to keep kids sober and safe on Grad night after a slew of drunk driving deaths many years ago.  Parents work all year on this event and spend 2 days decorating the school under top secrecy and then chaperone the party all night.  There are games, shows, food, photo booths, a DJ. It is quite a thing.  

You may have thought after this week, heck this month, I would have fallen in to bed and slept like the dead.  I did. Until 2:30am and I have been up since then.  I was up when Lindsay walked home at 5am and we had a cup of tea on the patio and I heard all the news of the night.  She is happily napping now.

It has been quite a week.  Our girl is finished high school and eagerly anticipating the adventures ahead of her.  I am so proud of her.

If you have been part of her journey through these many years of school, as a teacher, administrator, friend, coach, field trip driver, sideline whatever way....I am deeply grateful for you all.

Friday, June 19, 2015


The time has come.  

I must face the facts.

Right after I turned 45 someone pointed out my blog tagline was now incorrect.

Let's not dwell on the fact it was my therapist who pointed it out.

He was the first but not the last.

It's not that I was avoiding it... ok maybe I was avoiding it just a little bit. 

But not so much for the age part...for that is unavoidable and although my actual age actually catches me by surprise is more about how fast I went from 41-45.

I know it is no faster or slower than anyone else on the planet but I feel a bit of
panic in my belly at how much has happened in the few years since I inadvertently started to blog.  

Maybe it feels fast because I have taken the time to write some of it down? I have a record of when things actually happened, not just some vague idea that I may think was "recently" but is actually "years ago".  

And why does "years ago" sometimes feel like "yesterday"?

So as I now change the tagline to reflect my age more accurately I am beating down my alarm at the passing years and reading back over posts and feeling grateful for the fullness of the years, the joys, frustrations, trips, laughs, food, adventures, friendships that have made these years rich and satisfying.

Dear Second-Half-of-my-40's...Please slow the heck down.  Please.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A hike (and a highway) with a view (or two)

Some weekends are pretty wonderful.

Some are barely a break.

This weekend was the former.

From a delightful Farm to Table dinner at Terra Nova farm with friends on a perfect evening...

To a drive on the ever unpredictable but always magnificent Sea-To-Sky Highway listening to 15 year old boys chatter away about school and technology and the appropriate length of finger nails.

To a well used 2 hour wait for said boys to do the Britannia Mining Museum tour.  Lindsay and I did some more hill training by hiking up a mountain side road and were rewarded with views, magnificent views.  A stunning reminder of just how lucky we are to live here.  Having just seen a dreadful accident on the highway, also a reminder that we were lucky to be hiking, healthy and alive.  I have loved all our hikes so far but this one seemed really perfect to me as we crisscrossed the river, taking switchbacks up and up.  And then the speedy descent!

We saw this property for sale and stood and dreamed a little while about waking up to that view everyday...until we remembered the snow that will come, the highway that has to be travelled to get anywhere (not to mention the price tag of said view).

Onward to drop the boys at the campsite in the woods after driving through this magical tree tunnel.  This was a final hurrah for the Explorations program David has been in for the last 3 years and a great time was had by all thanks to 3 dedicated teachers! (and some dedicated parent drivers).

Lindsay braved the cold cold water of the river for a second or two...the color of the water caused by glacial run off is beautiful to see though.

Traffic was mad coming home and after a lunch stop and a shopping stop it was 5pm when we walked in the door to Allan who had been marking all day.  By 6pm we were showered and out the door to see a movie, for me, my annual trip to the movies, to see Spy.  A good laugh and then a bite to eat  before we retired to bed tired but oddly refreshed from a day completely and utterly recreational.

Sunday morning we did the whole drive again to collect the boys but Allan drove this time and I enjoyed the views from the passenger seat.

Lindsay had baked cinnamon rolls while we were gone and we had a little family catch up over coffee and fresh warm rolls in the sun before work and groceries and reports and marking and laundry demanded attention.

Looking forward to a BBQ dinner and a walk in the sunset with my peeps.

The next two weeks are a zoo as the last two weeks of June always are but with university course registration, Grad and Provincial exams thrown in to make it extra fun!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday - Seeing Trees

The more often we see the things around us - even the beautiful and wonderful things - the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds - even those we love. 
Because we see things so often, we see them less and less.                                                                                                                                                                                        Joseph B. Wirthlin

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Lake Loop

Week 2.  Hike 2. 

We inducted two new members of the Yo Yo Hiking Club and headed out to Buntzen Lake earlyish Saturday morning (50km from home).

In what is fast becoming a tradition, we grabbed a fresh croissant on the way...because...fuel..and the knowledge the butter would have no time to settle on our hips before we melted it on the hike...right?

We arrived early enough to be in the first row of parking which is also becoming a benchmark for how busy we might find the trail.

Allan and Spanner led the way and I have now assumed my place at the back of the pack.  Which is good for photography and doesn't slow everyone else down too much although the do keep looking back to make sure I haven't been eaten by a bear.

This easy 8km was a) not exactly easy and b) also not 8km.  My fitbit had logged 11km by the time the parking lot came into view after 2.5 hours of pretty non-stop hiking. And although the path started out wide and flat and lulled me into a false sense of easy...

There were soon some steep climbs that my legs had no problem with but my lungs tried jumping out of my chest.  The noise that sounded like a herd of elephants approaching on the trail was in fact the sound of blood pumping through my ears.  Each time I recovered pretty quickly only to be faced with another steep section.  I am calling this interval training which I think is pretty legit.  I am a big open mouth breather / panter when exerting...another good reason to be way back lest people think a Mastadon is chasing down the path behind them.

The trail was varied but mostly wooded with the occasional views of the lake that were beautiful with crystal clear water and wooded slopes. Coming to North Beach after 2/3 of the hike made me wish I had a bathing suit on!

Spanner did so well on his first hike and got better and better at leaving people and other dogs alone and walking on.  It is an on-leash area and it bugs me to no end that so many dog owners do not leash their dogs.  There is a huge sign saying it's a $115 fine and a ban from the park if you are caught but we seldom see any enforcement.  Seeing as most people were doing the loop in the reverse direction I took great pleasure in telling people there was a ranger ahead of them and seeing them scramble to leash their dogs.   Yup, I am that person.

It was a great hike, a very good work out, so my butt tells me this morning, and a reminder of just what a stunning place we live in.  By the time we got back the park was almost full and the sun was hot at 25 degrees.

I'd like to tell you we came home and had a productive afternoon but after lunch and a shower we kept the couches company for a while.  

Allan and I met friends for Sushi  (followed by gelato) on Commercial Drive (locals - Kishimoto - amazing!) on a perfect Summer night.

Another super Saturday!