Sunday, 30 December 2012

out and about, stuffer and travelers

1 It's time to get outside and do a bit of hiking. The park looked much bigger on the map but it's really a small little bit of land with lots of interwoven trails. Perfect for a quick dog walk or to get the feeling of nature in the city.

2 Stuffing his face with grapes he smiles this silly smile and pretends his mouth isn't full! He lifts an eyebrow in a question and I smile back. 

3 They make it to Hangzhou after many many hours of traveling and still take the time to send us voice messages to let us know they have arrived safely. She's factual and straightforward and probably extremely tired. He uses a Darth Vader voice and says, 'Hello Mother, I'm home." 

Saturday, 29 December 2012

dec 24 - 29 and we're home!

1 It's the night before Christmas eve and we have changed our alarms so we can be up nice and early for the ferry. After all it is Christmas eve and ferry traffic could be heavy. But as luck would have it, his clock was never reset after the power outage and mine, well let's just say the time was right but the alarm button didn't quite get selected. So we are late risers but oh so grateful for the couple of hours of extra sleep.

2 There is a warning sign on the freeway letting people know there may be dense fog sections on the road we are traveling on. I thought I knew what that was until we actually drove into a wall of fog.  It's so thick there is zero visibility and we slow to a crawl. The car in front of us has obviously been in this type of fog before because he put on his hazards and slowly kept moving and we followed. Just an aside: We had been politely snacking on potato chips but as we moved behind the fellow and were deep into the fog, suddenly we were stuffing it into our mouths like popcorn while watching a scary movie!!

3 We are treated to a family dinner of Classy Chicken and Caesar salad when we arrive. After dinner, it's apple and pumpkin pies. Good to break bread with our loved ones. So grateful they waited for us.

4 Christmas morning and we wake in a hotel. It's a first for me and it was kinda fun. The kind of moment when you realize, a holiday vacation might be really fun one of these years. 

5 Present opening is wild, fast and the little ones are overwhelmed. Kes stays with his momma but Izzy comes to me and we find a spot and play tea while the others make chaos. Grandpa is the picture taker today.

6 We take Nick, Sara and Izzy to the school hill for some sledding. I had planned to be an observer in the car but before I knew it there I was sledding with Izzy and pulling her in her sled all over the hill. As soon as the sled went down the steep parts she would let go and just barely hold onto my legs and scream with wild abandon. It was so much fun!

7 What's a Christmas day without fun in the pool and water slide. Well, that's what we did next. So fun to play with my little fishie! She swam to each of us and wouldn't come out until we saw blue lips... then it was a warm up in the hot tub and up to the room for some quick cuddles and chocolate.

8 Christmas dinner is a turkey extravaganza. They put a lot of effort into the whole meal, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, potato salad, gravy, and veggies. Delish! Thanks to Chris and Michie for the amazing dinner, and for hosting such a wonderful Christmas for us all. 

9 Izzy is very interested in Grandpa. She is constantly saying, hi Grandpa, Grandpa, what's going on Grandpa and he loves it. She helps him at his truck and wants to spend lots of time with him.

10 It's a relatively early morning and we are on the road by 11. It's a four hour drive but with snowy roads lasts a bit longer. We make lots of stops, eat lots of junk food and take turns napping along the way.

11 A visit with my sister and brother is perfect for this holiday. Nick and Sara are with us too and we have another present opening, dinner and this time we play hearts. Sara is just learning it but just like the adage goes, first time lucky and wow she's caught on darn quick. She and Nick win.

12 We visit Nelson and our good friends there. They put on an amazing dinner and we have the best of visits. Short but so very glad we had the opportunity to see them. Some people will always be in our lives.

13 Our ride back to the coast is fun fun fun. Sara gets her picture taken on the summit, jumping off of a snow bank, we have a snowball fight in the restaurant parking lot and we all nap except our driver thankfully! Russ did a great job of getting us through the mountain pass safely.

14 We meet our niece for dinner at the hotel in Vancouver. She is busy with her life and work and yet makes time for us. Grateful for family.

14a Heights are something that have been difficult for me in the past. It's been a goal to try to desensitize from the fear and so this is the time. Hotel one and our room is on the fourth floor and it feels surprisingly comfortable.  Hotel two and we are on the eighth floor. It has floor to ceiling windows and it's good too! On the ferry I look over the side of the boat...we are on the highest level and it's good. hmmm Feeling good about this success! 

15 Well, it's their last night in Canada so they want to play the board game Monopoly. Everyone is doing relatively well, but soon Nick is going bankrupt and he gets hilariously dramatic. He pulls out his imaginary violin, begins playing and says he's busking and passes around the box for donations. It felt so good to laugh that much and that hard.

16  Nick says to Russ, "I call you Russ but I always think of you as my dad" 

17 At the airport it's time for goodbyes. We take a few photos, hug and it's so hard to let go, knowing it will be another year before we see them again. I hold back the tears because I want it to be a happy moment. As they walk toward the gate Sara let's me know he is crying. He is tender sweet man. She's  a sweet girl. We can see them on the other side going through the metal detector and getting organized. We wave and wave and wave until they must walk down the hallway towards their gate. One last wave and they are out of sight. Time for us to leave. My tears come later. Grateful for the visit and blessed to have such a wonderful family. 

Sunday, 23 December 2012

the run, rims and dinner

1 We begin our day with what we think will be a quick 30 minute run but it turns out we meet a neighbour who's out for a run too and soon we are on a trail far from where we expected to end up. With wet feet and snow flurries mixed with rain coming down on us we decide it's time to head for home. We say good bye to the neighbour but less than five minutes later we hear him calling for us to wait for him. When he catches his breath he tells us he's called his lovely wife for a ride because he's too darn cold and wet to keep going. As soon as the car arrives we all pile into the car and zip home. Something to be grateful for, for sure.

2 He gets the rims he's been eyeing up online and gets them for a steal too. 

3 Pizza and chicken for dinner with enough leftovers to take with us on our trip to the interior tomorrow. Sometimes those are the best leftovers aren't they?

Saturday, 22 December 2012

twos, housing and winners

1 He goes to to see his trainer and I go for a run. Both are great ways to start a Saturday except that he is dry when he gets home and I am soaked to the skin. The rain changed to snow partway through the run so my attire was a lovely white colour instead of black.

2 The kitty has an official house now. He's created one out of Styrofoam panels and lined it with a soft cushion and a warm wool blanket, both of which she had in her old bed. We put some treats in it for her but so far she only goes in to get them and scoots right back out. Hopefully tonight she will enjoy her new digs.

3 A late lunch at an ocean side resort means we get a double win. First the menu is amazing and second our friend is the chef there. The three of us take time to eat, visit and catch up on all the wonderful things going on with them. 

Friday, 21 December 2012

long day, his turn and Emma Fillipoff

1 That was a very long and trying work day. It's a good thing there is someone to check the work that's been done. When you don't work so often it is a real challenge to do things quickly and when software is flaky the challenge escalates. Still I am grateful for the work when it's available.

2 Tonight it was his turn to make dinner. Chipolte burgers with tossed green salad with feta cheese. Later he brings me tea. It was nice to be waited on.

3 Emma Fillipoff is still missing. Still we never give up hope she will be found safe and sound. Here's a clip from a recent radio broadcast with Emma's mom.

To Emma: "Emma, if you're reading this, please just let someone know you're safe."

Thursday, 20 December 2012

luncheon, no stranger and i like this kind of normal

1 It was the perfect day to have lunch with a friend. We have soups and share a sandwich, exchange Christmas gifts and she even gave me a lovely scarf for my birthday. We have lots of things to chat about and decide that next time it will be a visit on her day off so we can stay longer.

2 Kosha has made herself right at home on his desk. She stretches out full length in front of his monitor and her chin hangs off the edge of the desk.

3 The house is back to normal. The guest room linens are sorted, washed and put away, the wrapping paper, tissues and bows returned to their respective drawers and the Christmas tree has been given some fresh water. We lounge in front of the fire chatting and snacking on ice cream covered with blackberries and strawberries while we watch the Christmas tree lights twinkle and sparkle as the ceiling fan brushes air softly on the branches.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Dec 16 -19 What a wonderful visit...xo

1 She's enamoured by the Christmas season. The lights and busyness is something that she is enjoying very much. She takes it all in and is constantly asking what things are or why and wanting to see it all.

2 She opens all my big Rubbermaid boxes and puts Christmas all over the house. It's rather amazing to watch her childlike excitement. Soon we have garlands over the door, pictures on the walls and lots of candles everywhere.

3 Our cat is officially spoiled!! Nick and Sara have lots of fun feeding her treats, wet food and more treats. Is it any wonder when she comes inside in the morning that she heads right for their room? 

4 We watch two movies. Skyfall which is the new James Bond movie and we are disappointed in it and Inside Man with Denzel Washington which was thoroughly enjoyable. 

5 She makes us an authentic Chinese dinner. Sweet and sour pork, stuffed peppers and prawns in garlic/soy sauce accompanied by a giant pot of rice. Excellent. Note to self: take notes.

6 The snow comes in like a lion and we are soon in a winter storm. The power goes out in our town and we are soon lighting candles and finding flashlights.

7 What do we do when is snows on an island in the Pacific? Hot tub of course and soon the two kids are challenging each other to make snow angels in the snow.

8 We don't find any board games but we did find lots of his boxes of things from when he lived at home. He has a lot of fun finding clothes, books, stuffies and computer games and music. He smiles from ear to ear when he finds the special ones.

9 Boy do they love to shop! They gather items that are difficult to find in China and soon the third and extra suitcase they've brought is full to the brim and they are taking the heavier things out. We get full refunds on it all and no extra fees will be charged at the airport for overweight baggage.

10 Nick and Sara are headed to the interior this morning but a winter storm has delayed seaplanes, ferries and flights from the island to the mainland. They finally go through security but  then spend another couple of hours waiting. Eventually, we hear from them and they are in Vancouver but now trying to make alternate plans to get them to their destination. 

11 She says they are in the 'customer shit on you line' at the airport. Too funny! They finally get on a plane at 8pm and are headed to see family in the interior. Yay for babies and brothers and sister in laws!

12 The truck now has a new white canopy, winter tires and new rims. Merry Christmas to the Mr.  Men really do love their trucks don't they?

Saturday, 15 December 2012

a little catching up to do dec 13, 14, 15

1 A trip to the airport yields us a wayward electrician. He is weary but his tired lines fade as he sees Nick and Sara. There are big hugs all around followed by lots of chatter, a good meal that culminates in naps for the three of them. 

2 The sushi restaurant brings him the biggest bowl of miso we've ever seen. It's hot steamy and full of goodness for his tender tummy.

3 The two of them spend ages in the hot tub talking about what's been going on with them both. There's a lot of catching up to do after a year and a half.

4 We tackle Costco and they are like kids in a candy store. They like to take enough of the harder to find things back to China with them. It appear they just might need to buy another duffel bag for all the treasures.

5 Our Christmas tree came from the woods this year. It seemed like a good idea to go out and do the real deal for Sara. She's never seen Christmas so it's all new to her. The tree they pick out is just the perfect size and shape. She even gets the honor of carrying it out of the can judge for yourselves how big the tree was if a wisp of a girl can carry it and lift it up shoulder height!

6 I had just gotten a pedicure so my toes/feet were in flip flops from the salon, so Nick carries me across the muddy road to check out the trees. They find one but I suggest they look further, so off they go but I can't follow. Good lord my feet are warm and now my flip flops are frozen to the ground. When I lift my foot they break and suddenly I am stranded to that very spot! Lucky for me Nick lifts me up and carries me back to the truck and deposits me right into the front seat. What an adventure!

7 There are horse pulled trolley rides through the center of the old part of town. It's  fund raiser and we thoroughly enjoy it, especially when the horses decided to make a run for it.

8 The two of them have decorated the tree for us. Lights, lights and balls of all kinds. The special touch is a red velvet garland my mom and dad purchase for my very first Christmas.

9 What a wonderful family I am blessed to be a part of. I love you all. Thank you for making this day special in every way. And to my beloved husband~ best love.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

home, hugging and masks

1 He sends a text message that asks, 'has the eagle landed?' Yes the kids have arrived from China. The trip was long and they are happy, fed and now in bed sleeping. I should do that too.

2 Oh but it feels so wonderful to hug him. 

3 Sara and I spend some time on our own because Nick is too sleepy so we have a hot tub and then do a Chinese facial. It's a moisturizing mask that is an actual paper cutout and feels cooling and soothing. I will let you know if a miracle happened and I look ten years younger tomorrow. So fun whatever the outcome!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

busy, grumpy for good reason and sharing

1 Today is a busy busy day. Lots of little things to take care of and prepare for. The house is smelling like peanut butter bars, fire is roaring and it's a night of present wrapping.

2 He is a bit grumpy but when he says it's because he just wants to come home how could I not feel for him.

3 The neighbours are using my gardener as well. Seems like he's gotten a few of us on his list and we are thankful, oh so thankful for Rudy. 

Monday, 10 December 2012

wednesday, thursday and get into it

1 It's Monday night. Wednesday N & S will arrive from China. Their room is ready, bed made, towels put out, little candies on the pillow. 

2 Thursday Russ is home, this time for three wonderful weeks. We have a little bit of everything lined up. Time at home with the kids, time with all of us at Christmas, time with my brother, sister and best friend in the interior, and time together, just the two of us.

3 It's time to get this house decorated, tree trimmed, baking baked and songs sung. Yup, time for the spirit of Christmas to invade us all. S has never experienced Christmas...this will be so much fun to share with her. Note to self: take lots of photos.

You won't see many photos here due to Google photo limitations. If anyone has an free alternative please let me know. I think it might be time for Flickr or Tumblr. 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

wrapper, big boy and lights

1 This year there is time for fancy wrapping of Christmas gifts. I love finding the perfect wrapping paper, ribbons and bows and adding my own special touches. 

2 Kes's birthday is December 12. He is turning one. He is a love bug and we are missing his big day but sending lots of love his way and a giraffe pillow for his sweet cheeks to rest when he's napping. 

3 I wonder what he will think of my unique way of putting up the Christmas lights on the back patio. It's dry and under cover so I use clear packing tape and darned if it didn't work! They're up and twinkling~ 

Saturday, 8 December 2012

cleaned, over and already all ready

1 The house is getting a cleaning makeover! Isn't it great how we can find the energy and enthusiasm to get these tasks done when company is coming?

2 Adventures at the Dollar Store. Actually it's the $1.25 Store but seriously. The woman in front of me in the check out line decided to have a hissy fit over her items today. It was rather shocking in its intensity and how it was directed to the cashier but he was the perfect gentleman, kept his cool, never raised his voice and it was over sooner than anyone expected. 

3 My Christmas shopping has been done for quite some time and it is great to not have the stress and pressure this year. It's not about presents it's about the people we love and being with them.  On that note, time to get back to my baking....

Friday, 7 December 2012

faces, advertising and in the sleep zone

1 Tonight despite the circumstances we had a chance to reconnect. People from the past joining forces to support each other and look for ideas and solutions.

2 After a long day of photocopying and being on my feet it's time to go home. For some strange reason this old commercial pops into my head. "Calgon take me away." 

3 The reclining, heated lazy boy chair and fuzzy throw conspire against me and soon I feel myself nodding off. 

Thursday, 6 December 2012

pruners, barkers and sleeper

1 The rest of the trees are pruned and waiting for the gardener to come clean up the mess. It's nice to know he'll be here to get the branches and blow off all the pine needles yet again. Winter storms seem to bring batches of pine needles.

2 The dogs bark and yowl when I run past. One little one races back and forth along his fence. Eventually he tuckers himself out and when I look back he's already forgotten me and is rolling around on the grass, on his back!

3 My body has a sleepy heavy feeling after soaking in hot healing water. Trying to stay awake is fruitless.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

laughter is the best medicine, laptop and I washed that gray right out of my hair

1 A catch up phone call with a friend lasts much longer than anticipated. We did however talk about everything and anything and she got to do a little venting on the side.  It's all good when us girls stick together and in the end we laughed til our sides hurt.

2 My laptop recently died a slow and painful death. Because I'm not working as much and didn't get the job it just didn't seem right to spend money on a new one so I told him I'd use the big PC. Meantime he'd gotten a second hand laptop (e series Sony VAIO) for himself from a fellow at camp and was pretty happy about switching from him little compact laptop. The little compact didn't work for me because the screen was just too small. Imagine my surprise when out of the blue he says the new laptop was for me! What a great guy! Thanks hon xo

3 A trip to the salon and the grays are history. Highlights and low lights and a nice trim and it's good for 4-6 months before the next colouring is required. Trims yes, colouring (the expensive part) no.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

he did it, busy place and we are family

1 I don't know quite how he did it all but the Mr managed to get everything done on his list this week. We seemed to find so many other things to do but he did it.

2 The airport terminal is busy and there are a lot of flyers today. He decided to go in early and get the check in over with so he can relax before his flight. He looks over his shoulder, sees me still there, gives a smile with a big wave and off he goes.

3 Emma is still missing in Victoria. Just seems to have disappeared into thin air. People are putting up posters all over the city and now we're putting some up island in some of the smaller towns. Please help our family find, Emma Fillipoff. 

Missing since the evening of Wednesday, November 28th
Emma Fillipoff - 26 year old woman, five-feet-five, slim build with
long brown-blond hair
Please contact Victoria Police at  250-995-7654 if you have any information.

Monday, 3 December 2012

lunch, phase one and noam

1 Lunch on Gabriola. Coconut curry soup and bun for me, and a corn tortilla with black beans, egg and spicy salsa for him. 

2 Phase One complete. We have started the change over to new faux wood blinds, 2 inch wide. Love them. Today we did the bay window and two others. Next  we will tackle the french doors and the kitchen followed by the two bedrooms. 

3 Noam Chomsky is a favourite of ours. He speaks on politics in a way that encourages critical thinking. It might be time to watch Manufacturing Consent again. 

Sunday, 2 December 2012

putterers, lights and deciding

1 Our day is spent puttering about. We are hoping to get to some of the items we have put on the white board but puttering is fun too.

2 The christmas lights are up and twinkling in the wind. Timers would be helpful so I'm not running about each day turning them on and off.

3 It's good to step back and use your eyes to really see if the results are what you really want. Yup, visuals always help decision making, well at least it helps me.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

menu items, Grandma Vicky and slow but steady

1 Freshly made chicken vegetable soup with gluten free buns. Tonight's fare is simple and yet so very satisfying. Perhaps it was just one of those rainy Saturdays where it just was the perfect meal.

2 It's time to get some fresh local eggs so we head to a farm up the road and I get to meet the owner. Grandma Vicky she calls herself. She tells us she used to have school tours through the farm and used the name for years. She is full of life and stories and we make an agreement to visit at her home in spring when the weather is warm and her flowers are blooming.

3 Our run was wet, wet, wet, but we did it. Today was almost 4km in 40 minutes. We aren't breaking any records but we had fun.