Sunday, September 28, 2008

Great Ending

We're home!! We left Whistler on Thursday morning . it was a last minute decision to leave rainy Whistler early and spend a couple days in rainy Vancouver.








We called Hotwire and scored a room at the Hilton...in Richmond. It was a little out of the way as we were planning on visiting fun cousins Kath and Court, and their wonderful family, who live in Coquitlam. We didn't really know if they'd be free, but as it turned out, they adjusted their schedule as soon as we called so we could get together. So after a beautiful walk through Stanley Park on Thursday afternoon, Daniel and I trusted our fate in Martha's hands and set off to find their new (to us) house.

What a great family. We don't often get to spend time one on one, and the kids hardly know us, because whenever they visit Alberta there are usually a hundred other relatives around. Kendra and Nolan are younger than Josh and Levi. The last time we visited their house was so long ago we have a picture of little Kendra, happily lying in her Daddy's guitar case! Now she is a confident and beautiful young lady with the most amazing smile. Nolan is helpful, warm and has the most delightful sense of humour. He made us laugh out loud many times with his fun personality. Forest is the eldest, about the same age as Levi. Forest and I have a lot in common. Food is a sure way to make us both happy! (Especially carbs and sweets. *sigh*) It was great to see them all!
We ended up ditching our hotel reservation on Thursday and staying overnight at Kath and Courts. They have a guest suite and assured us we were most welcome to it. It was a lot easier than trying to navigate through Vancouver in the dark, going somewhere totally unfamiliar to find a hotel room, especially as we stayed on into the evening.
Friday morning we had coffee and a nice visit with Kath after the kids were off to school, then Daniel and I went off for a day of exploring Granville Island. We had a lot of fun, and too many desserts! We looked at all the shops in the market, and all the booths and all the galleries. What a feast for the senses! We hadn't been there since about 1997, so it was all fresh and exciting, though I love it so much I think I could happily visit every week!


I picked up a fun book for myself. Keri Smith's Guerrilla Art. I found it in a little shop called Paper-Ya. I seriously could have stayed in that shop all day and spend a lot of money! I showed such restraint. Aren't you proud of me?

Friday evening we met Kath and Court at the Coal Harbour Marina, where their boat is moored, and we all took a cruise around the point, along Stanley Park and into False Creek and Granville Island.

The city looks totally different from the water.


It was beautiful, seeing the city lights come on as the sun went down. Court then cooked us a fantastic Italian dinner in his fully stocked galley kitchen there on the boat, which is not what I know as a boat. It's 50 feet long, and beautiful! It was such a fun evening!

Though they invited us to stay overnight with them there (Yes, there is a guest room on the boat) we headed to our hotel. It was a short night, as we were out of the room by 5 am and on the road. We stopped for lunch in Jasper and made it home in time to take the boys out to dinner. There was very little traffic, and the time flew by as Daniel and I listened to CD's on Thomas Jefferson Education all the way home, discussing the upcoming year and all the things we will be learning.

I'm glad to be home. I missed all my kids, (big and little), a lot.
Today the sun is shining and the day is absolutely splendid! I had a lovely time in BC, but I really missed the Alberta sunshine!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Journaling




So Dawn hasn't posted another Joy Journal page yet, and my supplies I brought along couldn't be left to languish in their bag. I did a spread on the week here at Whistler. I used maps and stuff from around town, a tea bag of my favorite herbal tea, and a little photo of the town in full autumn colour.

We're off to Vancouver tomorrow. We hope the weather is a bit better than it has been here in Whistler as we plan to do Granville Island and Stanley Park. Even in the rain, I know it will be a fun experience.
I am having so much fun hanging out with my best friend. We love to spend time together, and it hasn't been easy making a way to do that.


Two more days, and we head home. I am looking forward to that too. I miss the other men in my life!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Fine Day Out



All we need is some cheese Gromit!

We woke up this morning, and instead of the drizzle we were expecting, we saw the sun shining, lighting up the mountain in the most delightful way.




After a walk about the town, we headed out to Squamish for fish and chips. Fresh snapper and chips, delicious and piping hot, and a look around town.








We almost decided to head into Vancouver, but thought we'd save that for a full day. Besides, the sun was still shining so we turned around and headed back to Whistler and the Gondola.
What a view! We saw a bear below us at the 13th support. He was fat and unconcerned with all the mountain bikers swarming the mountain. There was snow at the summit; 7 1/2 inches of fresh powder overnight. The air was unbelievable crisp and fresh, and it was a chilly 1 degree C up there at 6000 feet .

Gorgeous! I want so badly to come back and ski this mountain with the boys! A year ago I didn't think I'd ever ski again, but as I feel better and better, it gives me hope that it can happen. I can do this!

I told you this was an inspiring place!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Possibility and Abundance


I got up this morning and looked out the window in awe. How inspiring is that?
The mountains are classics. They are a metaphor for life in so many ways. They are challenging, beautiful and unmovable, profound in their intensity, rugged and HUGE.


Daniel and I had a light breakfast and headed out the door. We decided to walk over to the base of the mountain where the gondolas take off. From there, we could see the base of Blackcomb, and the chairlifts there, and walked along the river to that area of town, which we had not yet explored.

There are two mountains here at the resort, and they are of an unbelievable scale. They are currently connecting the peaks of these mountains with a new gondola, with the longest unsupported span in the world, traversing the distance over 500 meters above the ground. Two of the cars will have glass bottom. We had to have a look. From the ground.

We headed out for a stroll in the general direction of Lost Lake. There are miles and miles of trails that cover the valley and the town.

We chose an easy route, about 3 or four miles in all, that takes a loop around a small green lake just out of town. It was a perfect distance, and we worked up a good appetite by the time we got back to civilization.

We had Greek food for lunch, and then came back to our room. I had a sauna, Daniel had a soak in the Jacuzzi and now he's having a little catnap before we head out and do it all over again.


I'm reading Diane Jeppson's A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion, taking copious notes, and scribbling like crazy all through the book. It is a classic, and very practical. I'll be full of inspiration by the time I get home. I love the fall. It feels like a brand new year is starting, and that anything is possible! The colours and the crisp scents in the air just seem to confirm this.

I hope your days are full of abundance too. Remember to enjoy the beautiful colours in your life, no matter where you are.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Who does this??



We made it!



The drive up to Whistler from Kamloops was crazy! It was just like driving the Baja, except there isn't desert to die of thirst in (excuse me...in which to die of thirst...my grammer goes out the window in times of extreme stress) if the plunge off the side of the steep cliffs doesn't kill you.
It's just raging water in the bottom of the chasms! People who go off the road here aren't burned out shells at the bottom of the cliffs like in Baja...here I'm sure they are just never found!










Perhaps I exaggerate a bit, but not much. Highway (and I use that term loosely) 99 is narrow, twisty, steep, and punctuated with one lane, (yield to oncoming traffic) WOODEN bridges with switchbacks (top speed 20 km/hr) and 15% grades!!!




White knuckle praying all the way people. Daniel thinks Prozac would be a good idea. For me of course. He was fine.

If you plan on driving to Whistler and have a tough constitution and no control issues, then perhaps the scenic route is your cup of tea. (I should never trust that word...scenic. It should be spelled t-e-r-r-i-f-y-i-n-g!)
If that doesn't appeal to you, take the Coquihalla. It's fast and furious, but much tamer.

Misto and Mountains





Whistler is even more beautiful than I expected. It's location is perfect...mountains, wilderness and development...the perfect balance. The tourist area is all pedestrian friendly, cobbled streets with no motor traffic, shops and restaurants, not too many people at this time of the year. I love it.
Our rooms are right in the heart of it all. We look out over the mountains, facing west. Our entrance is on the Village Stroll, a ped only street with great little shops.
Our unit is huge, three levels for the two of us. We arrived and looked around with a bit of dismay...so much room! We could have brought everyone...Josh, Levi, Nialle, Ness, Liam and Ada, and we could have split up and each had our own level and lots of privacy. Next time. This time the name of the game is R-E-L-A-X. We have two balconies, and the lower level balcony has a private outdoor room with a 6 person hot tub. The master suite has a 6 person shower...well, two shower heads, but it's HUGE, and is also a sauna, with seating and everything. That's where I've been hanging out for rehab. Aaaaah. Heat!

It's very cool and misty here, it rained all day yesterday. We dug out an umbrealla and saw the town. And the Starbucks. We've found four so far. We also went to a time share presentation at a beautiful resort. Why? They gave us a choice of $150.00 cash or $50.00 cash and an official Olymic jacket. The presentation was an hour and a half and it WAS pouring out, so we did it. The timeshare is RCI, one we are members of already, and we told them up-front we are owners, and they still thought we "might be interested". We are..in booking at that resort next time! Heated sidewalks in the pool and water slide area which is outdoor and open year round.
In Whistler.
I know!
How cool is that?

So ya, I got a great jacket. It will come in handy this week. People here are expecting snow.

I am curled up by the fireplace doing journaling and reading, Daniel is in the jacuzi, I have a potof Earl Grey by my side and hot milk and vanilla on the side.

My favorite hot drink from Starbucks is the Misto...or London Fog. It is Earl Grey-double strong, steamed milk and a shot of vanilla. Perfect for this weather.






We are enjoying ourselves heartily. The boys are doing wonderfully at home keeping Pat company and getting their studies done. We are not stressing about the weather, and what we can or can't "DO". We are just being together, reading, planning, recharging.


And looking out the window at the invisible mountains. They are out there somewhere. Just like our future. Big and mysterious and exciting. And once in a while we get a peek.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Joy Journaling




Dawn from Art of Humungous Proportions is hosting a Joy Journal, with different prompts offered up occasionally. She posted the first prompt well over a week ago...maybe even two weeks. I finally got the pages done. It was a fun exercise! If you want to join us, drop Dawn a line.


You must check out Dawn's newest Faux Gogh. If you've been reading my blog you've seen the amazing chair she did for me. Now she's working on one for herself. It's just stunning!!



Now I'm off to the mountains for a romantic holiday with my sweetie. Hopefully they have high speed at our hotel. If so, you can expect some updates from the wilds of British Columbia.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sunshine


The weather here has been fabulous the last week or so. I wake up to sunlight streaming in my east facing windows in the living room. No one enjoys it as much as Zoot. He melts into a puddle of goo till the sun moves around the south side of the house, out of his reach. Then he goes out in the yard in search of a sunbeam. Oh, to be a cat.


Afternoons, after Math, reading and housework are done, I make my way out to my "barn" studio to play. At this time of the year, the sun pours in through the south window late in the afternoon. The sun is much lower on the horizon now. I love the way it warms the room, turning everything to gold. With the doors thrown open and Zoot wandering in and out and the leaves floating gently down off the trees, it seems there's nowhere I'd rather be. Peace reigns in the early autumn light, no matter what else is going on in my life.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Littlest Sweetie Pie




Isn't she adorable? Red hair! And the sweetest smile!
Ada Grace turned two months old on September 9th. Her mommy has her hands full. If you want a laugh, especially if you've ever been a mom to a two year old, read Nessa's blog post here.
Liam NEVER pulls that stuff with me...he's a perfect little angel! (Have I mentioned how much I love being a Grandma?) Love 'em, wear 'em out, send 'em home!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Fun with Liam: Nutrional Nightmare

Monday was a holiday, and as the boys were gone to the lake in Saskatchewan, Daniel and I had the day to ourselves. We had no huge plans, so when Nialle called to see if we wanted a boy for the afternoon we jumped at the chance. It's not every day we get Liam all to ourselves with no uncles around to distract him!

Liam loves to play with trucks and diggers..in the "dirty dirt".
Except when he says it, it sounds like "dooor-dy doort". He loves to have Grandpa play with him. There are lots of sound effects! Loud, doorty sound effects. And holes in the lawn, such as it is. Fortunately he also likes to drive them on the garage pad. I don't think he'll be doing any damage there!


Well, doing demolition, or construction, or whatever...works up an appetite, so we went off (in "Grandma's car"...the van, which Liam LOVES!) to Wendy's for chicken.
Grandpa had the Baconater. Ya.
He hasn't got the results back from last weeks cholesterol test. So of course it follows that the bacon grease doesn't count, right?
We also ordered french fries, because as Liam well knows, they are not really bad for you, being just a vehicle for ketchup consumption. A very efficient vehicle. So the french fries don't count either. We won't talk about the ketchup.

We were too full for ice cream, and we had bigger and better plans. Grandpa went to Timmy's and bought me the biggest Ice Cap. But it was just the old original at a mere 500 calories, not that bad new Supreme at 640 calories. So I feel very virtuous. And pure. And I didn't drink it all! I only had a few sips. I couldn't pry it out of...uh...(Nessa? Are you reading this? Because if you are you might like to remain in a state of ignorant bliss about who exactly is the Ice Cap fiend in the family. But I threw it away when it was still over 1/2 full, OK? See. I am a responsible adult. You can trust me with your first born.)

Now we wanted to surprise Uncle Josh with a new bed while he was off in Saskatchewan, because I happened to go into his room the other day and his 5' almost 10 " frame was crammed into his bed and his neck was like this...."7". I swear, it was like a number seven! Kinked over because he's just too big for his old bed. Sleep Country was calling us.
Grandpa and Liam tried out every mattress in Sleep Country...and we were still out of there in about a half hour tops! We were a lean, mean, bed buying machine! They gave us a deal! They threw in free delivery and a new pair of pajamas and Mr Bean's Teddie! (Well, they would have if we hadn't accepted their surrender and left the store immediately, toddler in tow.)

Were we hungry yet? Did we need more sustenance? Of course not! So we went to the Marble Slab ice cream place. Have you ever seen a two year old get brain freeze from eating strawberry ice cream at Mach 1? It's really funny. Because they don't know what hit them, and they just pucker up and push away the rest of the ice cream and say "no, fank you", over and over while making a funny face...it's great!

In fact being a Grandma is great. I love everything about it. Don't let any one tell you it's depressing, or that it makes you feel old. It keeps me young!


Although a sensible diet helps too.

*Note to self: Exercise common sense when dining with grand-babies...and grandpa's.



This is Liam on the drive home. He was what my Mom would call..."all in but his shoe laces."

Exactly!




video

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Post with no Pictures...Because I was Locked in a Barn

What a weekend! Have you ever been locked in a barn? I have. Sort of.
But there was a silver lining...I was in THE Art Barn, (not a smelly barn full of cows), and I had at my disposal all of my supplies to create and play, a comfy chair, and books and magazines to read for inspiration and entertainment.
I did OK.

It all began when my seester was here visiting and practicing the art of living the creative life. Last week was all about getting to spend time together and do what we both love to do, what our whole family has always loved to do...be creative. One afternoon however, duty called and I had to go off to volunteer for Friends of the Library, like I do every week. Holly went to visit her sister-in-law, and when she arrived back at the Art Barn before me, she let herself in with the key hidden in the secret fairy spot in the tree. (I feel confident telling you this...don't misuse this information). We arrived home just minutes after her, and off we went on a visit to see the grand babies, leaving the key on my kitchen table. Do you see where this is going? Uh-huh.


Holly went home Thursday evening, the boys left Saturday for a weekend with friends at the lake, Mr Wonderful went to work on Sunday and I had the day to myself. Oh, the plans I had! Visits and fun that involved doing some Art, then going places with people. I was in my work clothes, covered in paint and looking pretty ...uh...productive. I walked out my back door, hands full of supplies, headed to the Barn. I pulled the door closed behind me with my toe. As it swung shut I had that moment of illumination, that maybe this wasn't a wise thing to do, because, you know, was the door locked?
But I shrugged off the feeling, after all I always had the key in the tree, right? *ahem*

A while later I needed something in the house and as I turned the doorknob my suspicion was confirmed. It was locked. With foolish confidence I skipped out to the secret spot, which will always and forever remain a secret, (except to all of us here on the internets...but I trust you) and Lo! With great surprise and indignation realized...the key! The key is not here! The key is in fact sitting on the kitchen table where we left it!
And no one is around, and I have no car keys and no phone and no food (!!!) and it is approximately twelve noon and the Mr will not be home for another seven and a half hours.

I did what any calm, rational person would do. I jumped up and down cursing and performing a maneuver I like to call "The Modified Stationary Panic" after the brilliant and hilarious writing of my late Dad's favorite author, Patrick McManus. But I wasn't feeling brilliant and it was anything but hilarious. At that point. But I digress.

I spent an afternoon wishing I had given a set of keys to a neighbour. Not the pot smoking, wild party neighbours, but the kind family next door. Except it wouldn't have helped, it was the long weekend and everyone in my neighbourhood was gone. Except for the pot smokers. And truth be told, they were looking pretty appealing.
But not as appealing as the realization that I could get a LOT of Art done in 7 1/2 hours with no distractions. (Like food).
It was like I was all alone in the world just like Will Smith in that Zombie movie that my kids say isn't really a zombie movie. They also say it didn't even really scare them except as soon as they finished watching it with their Uncle, they all had to immediately watch Mr Bean's Holiday through twice just to get those images out of their heads so they could finally go to sleep, still with all the lights on.
Ya.
I haven't even seen that movie, but it was just like that. Except without the crazed zombie people trying to eat me, and without a dog for companionship.
Man, I wish I could be friends with the wild-party-pot-smoking neighbours.
Except I don't think it's just pot.
They're way too not mellow enough.

So...when was the last time you had no contact with the outside world for 7 1/2 hours? No one with you, no land line, no cell phone, no internet, no vehicle, no TV, no CLOCK for heavens sake!? And no camera!!!!

Which explains the lack of photos. Blah.

I did OK.
I finished a lot of projects.
I started a lot of projects.
I read about projects I thought I might like to do and then I did them.

That was cool. It was sensory deprivation in a totally inspiring space, if that makes any sense. So, though I could go take pics of the space, and the projects I did, and the spot I curled up in to read, and the books I bound, I think I'll leave it like this. And if you actually read this whole, long, boring post I believe you deserve a cookie or something. (Which I had to do without that whole afternoon!)

It made me think...how many of us have a place we can go where it is even possible to be without technology, and people, and the distractions of the outside world? I think I'll try it again soon. It cleared my mind a little. And that's always a good thing.