Friday, 31 December 2010

Rear view

Well, it's that time of year again when it's the done thing to look back at what's been and reflect on it. Far be it for me to disappoint, so here goes...

Actually this year's reflective post has been made all the easier thanks to my best (so far) Christmas present of the year - a complete print out of my 2010 blog courtesy of my fabulous big sis. Reading through the last 12 months worth of my rambling has been an interesting experience - of which more in a moment.

But first I can't resist a short diversion into late Christmases - one of the added benefits of my Canadian Christmas visits is an extended festive season. I hoof it across to Canada, celebrate the joyous day with my sister and her family and then head back to Scotland after New Year to repeat the experience with my mum and dad. Et voila, a 3-4 week Christmas; second only to my birthday month festivities induced entirely by my lack of annual real birthdays.

But I digress. You wanted to hear about 2010. And if you didn't, you should have stopped reading by now because that's what you're about to get.

Looking back, 2010 has been a year of mixed emotions for me (again). I've had lots of fun - with great holidays in Canada, Wales and Spain as well as some great days out in and around home. I've also had some not so good days, although far less than last year mercifully. As regular readers will know, I'm still struggling at times to come to terms with being on my own.

In amongst the angst, however, I've still had time to make some new discoveries, have some fresh experiences and achieve some great things. I've:
I've also reconnected with old friends, re-learned lost skills and remembered good memories. I've also found time to focus on what is good about life, blog about some amazing people and generally be glad to be alive.

Looking back at things I commented on this time last year, I still haven't found a new feline companion or a permanent home. But on the plus side, I do still have my job - which, on the whole, isn't bad -  amazing friends, supportive family and (for the most part) my health.

For 2010 I resolved to have a quieter, less eventful time and to be less high maintenance. The former is undoubtedly true, but I'm not so sure about the latter. I think I've learned to live and laugh a bit more, to take a few more risks and to act my shoe size rather than my age just that bit more often. In short, I think I might just be picking more daisies these days!

And 2011? Well, you'll need to wait until tomorrow to find out my plans for that...

All that remains to say for 2010 is, thanks for reading my ramblings. Keep up the good work, you're all doing very well.


There's a bloke down there with no strides on!

Today's adventure was a trip to the ballet in Vancouver. We saw the Nutcracker Suite and both boys behaved themselves impeccably - although Mr Ebb did have to be consoled when we got to the end of the show and they still hadn't performed the Time Warp. Not even the Cadbury Fruit & Nut Dance would console him!

Actually it was really good fun, some amazing dancers and all in all a lovely post Christmas, pre New Year treat - all rounded off with a visit to Granville Island for dinner in the Market, yum. Much more refined than our (enjoyable if chilly) afternoon stomp round Swamp Lake at Belcarra yesterday (for more pictures of which, check out my Flickr page).

Oh, and we finally finished the turkey today too.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

I get by...

... with a lot of help from my friends.

If you've been reading my blog over the last few days, you'll know I'm back in Canada for Christmas. And having a lovely time with my big sister and her family. And it's been made extra special by the addition of a friend from elsewhere in the Pacific North West to the PoMo madhouse that is home for this couple of weeks. Sadly she had to go home today but we had a great time while she was here and it got me to thinking about all the amazing friends (of all shapes, sizes and types) I am lucky enough to have.

I have 'real-life' friends that I see regularly (and sadly not so regularly) - both new and old. I have rediscovered friends that I thought I'd lost touch but with but am slowly reconnecting with. I have work friends and play friends. I have virtual friends that I've never met but feel like I've known forever. I have family who are friends. I have many many friends.

And what they all have in common is that they're there for me - in reality, virtually, at the end of a phone, electronically - whenever I need them, sometimes when I don't even realise yet that I need them. Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I am truly grateful for the friends I have, for the support they give me and for the joy they bring. Hopefully they don't feel it's all a one-way street. I sometimes worry that it might feel like that, but then again, I guess they wouldn't still be hanging around if they thought it was, would they?

So, thank you Frances for a fantastic addition to my already special holiday. Thank you big sis for inviting her to join us. Thank you all my friends for always being there for me. I really hope you don't find yourselves in the position where I need to return the favour, but if you do, I only hope I can be there for you as much and as well as you've been here for me. I love you guys.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

And now for something completely different...

Guess what? It snowed overnight here and, even though I'd already had about a month of it before I left the UK, I was (am) still so excited!! There's not a huge amount and it's melting fast, but it was snow and that's what counts.

There was even more snow yesterday evening when we visited Cypress Mountain for the Jackrabbit's annual Lantern Ski night - cross country skiing on the night time trails with some additional ones lit by candle lanterns. Very beautiful if the conditions are right, but also very icy and hard work if they're not. Last year was the latter but this year was almost perfect. There'd been fresh snow and the trails were newly groomed, the night was clear and dry and while there were quite a few people out, it wasn't too busy.

And even better, I only fell over once and managed to get down (in one place and upright) the Roller Coaster slope that completely flummoxed me last year!

Earlier in the day we introduced our house guest (I consider myself a regular enough visitor to claim partial ownership of the houseguests by now!) another couple of the obligatory PoMo traditions - bottling wine and a quick walk on the Inlet Trail.

Of such things are relaxing family holidays made - and I love it. Thanks big sis xxx

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Wild horses

Yesterday saw the first visit Outside since arriving in Canada - and it feels almost like the first outing since catching flu at the start of December. Apart from the brief walk from the terminal to the car park at Vancouver Airport and then a very brief stomp outdoors on Boxing Day to help Frances carry her luggage in from the car, today was the first day of breathing fresh air since Friday morning! And we did it in style.

Having been coming to PoMo for a few years now, the trips out now have a lovely comforting routine to them. Vancouver Aquarium, Fort Langley, (trendy) Newport Village, Metropolis and yesterday's destination, Burnaby Village Heritage Museum. (Today are another couple of old faithfuls - Cypress Mountain for cross country skiing and wine bottling at the Wine Shop!) Don't get me wrong, I'm not bored with any of them - far from it. There is something very homely and relaxing about visiting familiar sites.

The company always makes it special too. Yesterday, as well as the little person we were joined by Frances, our visitor for the week. I think she enjoyed it as much as we did and it was great to see it through new eyes.

The other difference with this visit was the holiday theme. I've been at Halloween before when they do all sorts of ghostie things, but never at Christmas. So yesterday, in the seasonal Pacific Wet Coast rain, we did the Christmas Scavenger Hunt, marvelled at the 1920s Christmas decorations and huddled inside the various houses marvelling at how warm the stoves could make the place!

And to finish off the trip in proper style, we all had a ride on the carousel. Great fun.

I even had time to nip into the chemist while I was there and pick up some potions to help us with our Turkey Challenge for the rest of December.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Christmas Canadian style

Having finally got round to downloading some photos from my camera, I can now share with you some images of Christmas Canadian style.

Like most families around the globe it was spent opening presents:




Spending quality time together as a family:

And sleeping:

All great fun. Thanks big sis xxx

Sunday, 26 December 2010

And a merry Christmas, one and all

Ok, I confess. It's not the Christmas tree we celebrated the great present ripping open festival in front of yesterday but since I haven't managed to upload any of yesterday's photos yet, this one will need to do for now. Check my Flickr page in due course for the pics. 
But even without the visuals, picture the scene. Small boy, mound of presents - 5 minutes later, small boy, mound of wrapping paper. A great time was had by all!

To be fair, the little person was actually very self disciplined - he waited until after we had eaten ourselves to a stand still, Christmas lunch before the great present opening could begin, and with only a very limited amount of grousing. The wrapping paper was deposited in the recycling box as presents were unwrapped and there was even a cursory glance at the unwrapped goodie before moving on to the next offering. And that was just my brother in law! (Heh, heh!)

So, if present opening was the highlight for the boy, what did the day mean for the rest of us? From my now somewhat fuzzy memory of the day, it seemed to involve lots of food and a modicum shed load of alcohol. If I ever see turkey again it will be too soon. Darn, my sister has just informed me that we have enough to do until I head back to the UK - turkey breakfast waffle anyone? 

Other than trying to avoid food then, what does today hold in store for your intrepid correspondent? Well, the festivities continue apace with our latest visitor due to arrive at lunchtime. Apparently she's going to text when she makes it across the border - running from the law, or is it the turducken? Little does she know that more (much more!) awaits her here!!

Anyway, hope everyone had a great day yesterday and is having a fun day today. Judging by the Facebook updates it seems like it. Let the merriment continue. 

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Travelling hopefully

Well, they do say it's better to travel hopefully than to arrive, but for once I was much more interested in arriving. After the weather related travel problems the UK has been having for the past few weeks, I wasn't at all sure I would get away for my Christmas break in Canada. But I did - and in a relatively hassle free style too! Apart from the slight (?!) tension of a 90 minute delay leaving Edinburgh, resulting in a very finely cut connection at Heathrow, my journey to Vancouver went without a hitch. Even arriving at Vancouver airport 3 minutes early, sailing through Immigration with no queue and being reunited with my bags at the luggage carousel. Truly amazing.

A short stroll brought me to arrivals, to be reunited with my sister and her family. The sheer joy of being greeted by a half pint sized hug was only slightly diminshed when my sister informed me that my nephew's comment on being hoisted over the barrier for the traditional Welcome to Canada hug was "Why is it always me that has to do this?". I don't know, seven and a half going on 13 - I thought I had a couple more years at least before the teenage angst set in. Oh well, time flies I guess.

The other sheer joy about being away (apart of course from seeing my big sister) is the novelty of running water. Having endured, freezing temperatures, snow, ice, flu and a horrible cold/cough so far this month, to end it all on Thursday my mains water supply decided to freeze up, leaving me with no water supply at all to the flat. Fortunately I have great friends, who gave me coffee first thing, and very tolerant neighbours who let me have a shower at their house and gave me buckets of water to re-fill the toilet cistern. Fortunately I also still have my car so I was able to make an emergency visit to the supermarket for bottled water. I must have been the only person in the entire shop not buying turkey, vegetables or chocolates.

So anyway, I survived and I've made it to my Pacific Coast retreat. All that's left to do now is relax, recover from jet lag, eat lots and watch the little person enjoy Christmas. Bliss!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Must be that time of year again!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

On being ill

"The Land of Counterpane"

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

Sadly being ill as an adult isn't anywhere near as much fun, particularly when you have to get all your own treats, meals, necessities etc. 
But you'll be pleased to hear I'm feeling much better now. I even managed to get outside today - and see the Ice Palace that I'm living in at the moment!! A little bit more progress everyday, by the weekend I might even be able to make it up town for a coffee and some gentle Christmas shopping. 

Finally, a big thanks to all my family and friends for rallying round while I was ill - both virtual and real rallying equally appreciated and cherished!!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Normal(ish) service will be resumed shortly

I apologise to my readers for the lack of posts recently. This hasn't, in fact, been due to heavy snowfall - although it has been heavy and persistent for Scotland at this time of year.

No, I've had flu and today is the first day since Wednesday I've managed to stay vertical for more than 10 minutes at a time. I kid you not. This was the real deal, knock you to the ground and punch you in the stomach flu. And stomp on you with big tackety boots while you're there flu!

So for the time being, here's a pretty flower to look at.