Happy 2014! – Snow Olympics, Goals

It’s 2014. How did that happen so fast?? I feel like 2013 went by in a blur but I know I enjoyed most of it – so I was at least present in the blur. It was fun, it was emotional, it was hard. But it was a great year and I am a better person for my experiences.

We are in Alberta again this year to spend time with friends and family. New Year’s Eve is a big deal with this group: lots of food and beverage and lots of fun. We start out the evening all together for dinner and to ring in the New Year; and then the youngest kids go to bed, and the wives, girlfriends, mothers, and sisters settle in with red wine and our cameras to watch our male contingent run around and be silly (as most males of all ages like to do) for the annual Snow Olympics.

The food with a photobomb from Diana
The silly

(The Snow Olympics are a New Year’s tradition since before I came along. It involves running around in the snow on dares, with each contestant trying to outdo the other. In their swim trunks. (Did I mention this is at 1:00am and it’s -?? degrees outside?) While one or two are off in the snow, the rest keep warm in the hot tub and the cycle continues until they decide they’ve had enough of the cold and have given out the “medals”. (Sean won gold. 😉 )

It’s an activity fueled by beverages of a certain strength – though not for the 11 year old (for obvious reasons), who is fueled by sugar, pure adrenaline and the sheer joy of getting to participate in in the sheer craziness with all the “adult” males in his family that he looks up to (but would never admit it).

His sister and her friend may break ground as the first female participants next year – and will likely kick the boys’ butts.)

The insane
The sane
The baffled and intrigued

Last year, I made New Year’s goals and I am beyond proud to say that I have achieved some and started some. More than I could have hoped.

Of my bold items from last year…

  • Yoga Teacher Training – I chose to do the Fall 2013 session instead of the Spring session and I am so glad I did. A couple more checks in the graduation requirements list and I am officially a certified yoga teacher. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, and I am so grateful.
  • Driver’s License/Road Test – I wrote a bit about this throughout the year, but while I did take my road test in July, I failed. And was completely devastated, particularly because it was because I went in a complete bundle of nerves. But I took my road test again at the beginning of December, and this time, I passed – much to my and Sean’s delight. Yahoo!
  • Reducing Debt – On my way. Slowly, but surely.
  • 30th Birthday Vacation – My yoga teacher training fell around the time of my birthday, so my special trip has been postponed for now. But my teacher training was certainly a journey, and obviously the one I needed to be on during my milestone year.

Of the rest… I am better at getting up with my alarm (Sean is thrilled); I brought my lunch/dinner to work/school about 75% of the time; and I decided that some things were more important than others – so my teeth can wait and patience with myself will always be something I strive for more of.

For 2014, I’m going to focus on being patient with myself and getting more comfortable with driving now that I’m allowed to do it on my own. I also have a specific and very big goal, and it’s one I’ve been working on since early last year. I really hope I achieve this goal because it means big change and an adventure. No, we aren’t trying to have a baby (yet) but it will  be almost as big as that. So here’s hoping.

Image courtesy of the lovely and talented Terra Varey
Image courtesy of the lovely and talented Terra Varey

Happy New Year!

Thankful Birthday Weekend – Part 2

It’s raining outside. Yup, it’s raining, it’s cold, and it’s officially autumn (or the less elegant sounding “fall”) in Vancouver. I sound a bit whiny about the weather because up until Tuesday, it was sunny and warm; and up until today, there was no need for a super warm coat and a pair of my Hunter boots. That being said, the cold, damp weather has made me even more thankful for the fabulous weather we had, especially over the Thanksgiving long weekend.

After an evening of birthday fun and turkey goodness, we slept in and woke up to a fridge full of leftovers. A LOT. (First world problems.)

I did a workout video and off we went for our second turkey dinner being hosted by Sean’s parents. We picked my mom up on the way and I was mesmerized by all the beautiful red, orange, and yellow leaves on the trees in her neighbourhood. There is nothing like a sunny fall day.

Dinner at Chez Hardcastle was delicious, as always, and I remembered to take a picture of my plate, unlike the night before. Sean’s parent’s recently moved into a condo and that involved furniture shopping – they now have the most beautiful dining room table that looks like it’s a slab of marble. It was the perfect canvas for dinner.

As the fridge was already full at home, the leftovers were declined. I don’t know that we could have fit a toothpick in the fridge up until a couple days ago.

On holiday Monday, we worked off our turkey dinners with a hike up to First Peak at Mount Seymour. Sean’s friend, Geoff, joined us, and I discovered that he has also bought the Five Finger shoes that Sean has. They look a bit odd but the more I see them, the more I want a pair… But I digress.

My Merrill trail runners flanked by my Five Finger shoe companions

Geoff was not able to make my birthday dinner as he was working – he is a pilot. I was telling him about the dinner and was corrected by Sean when I said it was the first time that we had made Thanksgiving dinner. I was reminded that we made a January turkey dinner during the cleanse last year. (Oh yeah… The cleanse. That was a great dinner considering we had to be very creative…)

Anyhow, it was a beautiful day for a hike with more of the beautiful autumn colour palette, and even the appearance of a black bear(!). I actually got a bit of a tan. In October. But now it’s raining and my skin is counting down to the beginning of November when I am oceanside in Mexico.

Top of the peak
There’s a black bear eating berries in those bushes. We accidentally interrupted his meal, but he didn’t mind. Phew! 

Alberta Bound (and Arrived)

I am sitting in a beautiful house watching the Canucks kick the Oilers to the ground. I’m just outside Edmonton sitting my with Canucks jersey clad hubby and his Oilers jersey clad cousin Ward. And I’m feeling rather smug.

Why, you ask, are we in Alberta? Purpose: Operation Surprise Ward. Sean’s cousin and one of his best friends. He was best man at our wedding and his birthday is on Tuesday. We coordinated with his wife and he was so surprised and happy to see us. As were his adorable children. And the pets are thrilled to have new people to mooch food and affection from. There are few people in the world that I would brave the Alberta cold for and they are so worth it.

We hopped in the new VW last night to drive to St. Albert, AB. (Sean recently traded in his VW City Golf for a diesel Golf. It’s (for me) pretty and blue but is still a standard, so when I finally get my license, it won’t that be fun to learn how to drive. One step at a time I suppose…) We left at 10:30pm and Sean drove us through the Rockies and a couple of snow storms (that I am so happy I slept through). He slept the evening before and has been high on coffee since we left.

During my awake hours, the scenery was beautiful and Sean woke me up so I could see the sunrise. It was slightly cloudy, but it’s hard not to be impressed when you are surrounded by such majestic landscape. The Rockies (or Rocky Mountains) are gorgeous. Neither my camera phone nor my Canon did them any justice from inside the car. But I tried.






We stopped in Jasper for breakfast on the way to St. Albert. Sean has made the drive to and from Edmonton quite a few times and there is a bakery that he loves called The Bear’s Paw (4 Cedar Ave, Jasper, AB). It is apparently world famous and has been featured in Oprah’s magazine. The baked goods are well worth the hype and the wait in line. Sean had a raspberry white chocolate scone and I had a fruit filled bran muffin.

Jasper is not quite a resort town. It’s a tourist town. It’s a ski town. But it’s not Whistler. Oh my gosh, I’m a West Coast snob…






Upon walking back to the car, it was no longer beautiful and blue. The highway was not friendly – full of mud and slush. It had to happen sometime.



Back on the road, we continued through Jasper National Park. And we saw a pack of moose on the side of the road. And then a deer. And then a mountain goat. They were beautiful. and I was beyond thrilled. Sean kept pointing them out and I could barely get my camera going fast enough. And then we got out of the park and all of a sudden, everything was flat. We were officially in the Prairies.

I’ve been watching the Canucks game and he ref just called no goal for what could have made the game 3-0 for Vancouver, but I’m not worried. Time for a soak in the hot tub and another glass of red. I’m willing to brave the cold for 10 seconds for a chance to soak my travel weary muscles.

Drifter = love