Saturday, September 23, 2017

Paint Palette Panic!

I have made most of my major decisions concerning our current major renovations. I got my cupboards all selected, chosen the countertop, bought the flooring, got lights, ordered a new window.

I will need to get some new furniture as well but I'm not too worried about that right now. I don't want to store new furniture in my dusty renovation space, and besides, we will probably be sitting on tree stumps and using boxes for tables by the time I spend all my money travelling and getting new shoes.

But paint. I am going to need paint.

I have bits of creative thought rambling around in my brain but I know we are a ways away from painting so I haven't been feeling too stressed. I know I want to use Dulux Diamond paint. I'm not an expert by any means when it comes to painting and decorating. But I used this paint when I did the basement a few years ago - simply because I got a BOGO-free coupon in the mail. It was the best paint I have ever used, it rolled on nicely, covered amazingly and washes wonderfully. It was also $78 a gallon. Acceptable when it's buy one get one free.

I had a thought the other day that I should start periodically checking the Dulux website for sales. Which I promptly did. And low and behold if the BOGO sale didn't start that day.

What!!??! Crap.

Well, not crap that the sale is happening. But crap, it's happening now. Which means I have to make some decisions.

Bizarrely enough, this is the decision I am stressing the most about in the entire renovation. Which is so silly. It's only paint. And for $78 you can change your mind twice a year if you don't like it. The cupboards, flooring, lighting, appliances are all major purchases that I will live with for a long time - some of them probably the rest of my life.

I have quite literally lost many hours sleep this week and I completely change my palette vision every 12 hours or so. I am in a complete tizzy over somewhat temporary colour while I'm pretty chill with the things that are most permanent.

Sadly, such is life many times. We get all freaked out over little things in the here and now, and casually brush off the things that affect the more permanent big picture.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Object of my Disdain

 It's all a matter of perspective.

I've hated the laminate flooring that was in our house when we bought it twelve years ago. Well, hate might be a strong word, but I knew it would bring my heart great pleasure when the time came to dispose of it. And with the great renovation project now underway, that time was last week.

We have a dumpster sitting in our driveway, and much of what was my home is now piled inside. Layers of multi-papered wall, ceiling tiles and fire engine red cabinets have all been dismantled and tossed into the bin. However, the despised flooring got neatly stacked into the back of the truck and hauled off to the cabin. It didn't make much sense to send it off to the landfill when we were living on pieced together peeling plywood at the lake.

What a surprise when I arrived at the cabin at 10:30pm after facilitating an art party the other night, to find that my man-slave had already gotten it installed. It looks truly amazing. It has completely transformed the cabin, and it makes me happy. How fun to slide across the floor in sock feet rather than walking gingerly half expecting a giant splinter to jump out and stab you in the foot.

The object of my disdain now brings me pleasure.

It makes me wonder how many other things/people/situations in my life that bring me angst and frustration could actually become a source of joy if I'd only change my perspective.

Goodbye lovely peeling teal plywood floor

The 'rag rug' I made with 40 pieces of Mama's good quilting fabric looks amazing on it's new background. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

$635.76 Spending money left over

I print stuff. A lot. I simply cannot go without a printer and have used a colour laser printer for about 15 years. The toner does last for more than a year but it's always painful to replace. The low level indicators are starting to alert me, so it's that painful time again. A quick peruse of the Dell website and inquiry with the online chat window dude, informed me that a set of CMYK toner will set me back a mere $1061.76 including tax. Shipping is free.

Yes, that is over ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS! For ink. That is almost twice what I pay for fuel in my Grannymobile in a year. And the fuel costs I can dole out in  forty dollar shots every 3 weeks or so.

Like most things in life that shock the shit out of you, a Facebook rant resulted. And I received much sympathy and suggestions from friends and acquaintances. Many encouraged me to find knock-off recycled and/or refilled cartridges. I did price this out and can find cartridges for about half the price of the genuine article. But I am hesitant to do this.

I did get some refilled toner from China through Ebay about 10 years ago for an HP printer I had at the time. After a couple of months the printer started putting random strips of colour on pages I printed. One look inside the printer showed me why. Apparently every time I used the printer, it was farting out little puffs of dry toner powder everywhere. And my $200 savings resulted in a $700 purchase of a new printer.

I know many people think I'm a bit of an exhibitionist when it comes to Facebook and blogging, and I can't really argue their point. However, sometimes it pays off.

As a result of my Facebook rant, I was offered a set of genuine Dell toner for my exact model of printer for free. Yes, FREE. Let me remind you, this is over a thousand dollar value. The toner is free, but shipping isn't. And it's located in Texas.

Conveniently, Air Canada was celebrating it's 80th anniversary this week. Round trip flights from Prince George to Dallas, Texas, with one short stop in Vancouver were $426 in Canadian funds, including all taxes and fees. So, long story short, I am flying to Texas to pick up my free toner, hanging out with my baby sister for 13 days, and have $635.76 spending money left over. Problem solved.

Yay for Facebook rants!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Stuff to say. Don't wanna talk.

So, we are 12 years into the 5-year renovation plan we had for this old house when we bought it. Granted, many projects came up in the meantime and kinda changed the plan along the way.

I'm super stoked to be getting a new open concept living space and fabulous kitchen, complete with real flooring. This will finalize the renovation of the entire main floor since we moved in. And by finalize, I don't mean we are done. I simply mean every room will have been renovated. I already have plans for a bedroom makeover swirling in my head. After all, it has been 12 years since it was done.

Currently I sit here in my little office corner viewing the open space with wires hanging out the walls where plugs and switches used to be and plumbing parts poking out, waiting to be rerouted to their new locations.

Removing the walls and flooring has exposed a half dozen different patterns of flooring and a variety of wallpapers, some of which have been painted right over top of. Twice. I think I will actually gain a few square feet of living space by the time the walls are peeled back to the 2x4 studs - layers of wallpaper, 2 layers of wall panelling on top of drywall, on top of at least one layer of donnacona fibreboard. (I had to google 'donnacona' because the word sounds sort of stupid to me. There's a city in Quebec by this name, so I can only assume production of this fibreboard originated there. But that's only an assumption.)

I can't help but imagine the transformations this place has seen over the years. Opening the walls exposed previous window frames in the wall between the master bedroom and living room - further confirming what we had observed in a previous renovation - the back half of the house is actually an addition. There are various fill-ins in the floor and framed-in doors and windows in the walls that indicate there have been many substantial changes. There is even an old electrical panel box, highly illegally buried in the end wall. And yes it has live wires running into and out of it. So glad I sleep with an electrician who can deal with issues like this.

One of those changes is our reno from nearly two years ago - turning the large bathroom with a lot of wasted space into a smaller nicer one, giving space to create a fabulous walk-in pantry off the kitchen.

I am so in love with my pantry, but it has always felt a bit temporary to me with its unfinished floor and collection of items that don't belong in a pantry - the mop and pail, a shelf of cleaners and bug sprays, a box of empty wine bottles and pop cans awaiting recycling etc. Things that will have their own special cupboards and closets in my new kitchen. Meanwhile there were a couple of cupboards full of food items in the kitchen waiting for the mop and Raid to move out of the pantry so they could move into their rightful space.

As I was emptying out the food and spice cupboards I was refreshed in my admiration of people who keep well-stocked cupboards. My sister, for example, always has at least 2 extra bottles of ketchup on hand, 6 boxes of cereal and enough soup to last through a famine. I've never been like that. I'm just way to disorganized to keep stuff cycled and fresh on the shelves. And emptying out my kitchen has shown me just how bad it is.

The expired food I threw into black trash bags is mind boggling. Popcorn from 2013. Seriously. We just aren't popcorn eaters. Boxes of Breton crackers. Whatever possessed me to buy a 6-pack of crackers from Costco for Christmas 2015? One box tends to go stale before it gets eaten.

I have enough dry pasta to open a soup kitchen. Most of it is in sealed plastic packaging. I don't think it goes bad. We will eventually eat it. I think. Many of these plastic packages of pasta were still inside plastic grocery bags sitting in the cupboard, where you couldn't easily see what was in them. Probably exactly why I kept buying more. Upon emptying the grocery bags, among the packs of linguine and spaghettini I found two new eyeliner pencils I had purchased a couple of months ago at Superstore, then spent a ridiculous amount of time searching for when I got home. I gave them up for lost - assuming someone else got free eyeliner that I left on the grocery counter while packing my noodles into 5cent bags. Score!

My intention was to make a Facebook status update indicating I found the missing eyeliner. Somehow a blog oozed out. Sometimes I just have stuff to say but don't wanna talk.

There was even an electrical panel box hidden in the wall

Layers and layers of wall

It won't be recognizable when we are finished.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Bits and Bites of Goodness

I'm well into my second decade of this annual tradition I have created of exposing the inner workings and events that made up the past year in my personal sphere of reality. While it probably seems like an act of senseless voyeurism to many, the point to doing this is mostly for my own benefit – sort of a scheduled taking stock and counting of blessings. Because, God knows, it’s fairly easy to plod along through life deflecting flying crap and living wrapped up in the moment without really realizing where you are and what you have.

I spend a quiet evening alone with a glass or five of wine, scrolling through my Facebook account, scanning the 3471 photos in the current year’s album on iCloud, and taxing my aging memory.  Without fail, each year I am forced to conclude that we live a truly blessed life. And for this reason, I usually look forward to this annual event of gathering noteworthy tidbits of info.

However, this year I’m dragging my feet and facing it like it’s a regurgitation of the year where I am looking for morsels of recognizable goodness in a pile of vomit.

And as vomit is unpleasant, so are some tasks. But the honest truth is, everything that goes into the creation of vomit was in fact originally an enjoyable bite of tasty goodness. And such is my life. It is filled with tasty goodness which I shall attempt to recall.

So let’s just get on with it then…

One thing about a January anniversary, Albert and I always start off the year celebrating our togetherness. Thirty-four years this year – that means I’ve been married twice as long as I ever was single. Yay us. We bought a new truck to celebrate. It’s black.

His name is Bruce

The first few months of the year Brandi and I were still deeply involved in our roles as executrixes (female form of the word executor that makes us sound like vacuum cleaners or something) for my Dad’s estate and trying to get his house sold, which eventually happened in March. This was bittersweet. Nice to get it over with, but hard to know that you will never be in your parent’s home again.

My initial feelings were “They damn well better do a good job of maintaining my Dad’s gardens.” However, God always knows best. And within a short time the new owners had turned the front lawn into a new driveway, paved the gardens and parked their RV and boat there, and built solid fencing around the property. And I must admit, this has actually made things a bit easier as it no longer looks and feels like Dad’s house – Ted, Dan and Brandi all live where you drive by it every time you come or go anywhere. Oh. And they painted the concrete bird bath a hideous canary yellow.

We had a mild winter, and spring came early. While there was still some snow at the lake in mid-March, we spent our first night in the cabin on March 26 – two months early. In total I think we spent just over 50 nights at the lake this year.

The resort sold in September and while we anticipate lots of changes out there, so far the plan is to continue on occupying our site at Vivian Lake. It has truly been a blessing for many friends and family for the last few years.

Sometimes I do things just because I can. And this spring I took the online boater’s course and passed my boater’s license exam. Yes folks, I am licensed to operate a yacht on the ocean.

We spent just over 50 nights in this little corner of the world in 2016

I had some tests done in the spring to investigate some ongoing pain and symptoms that go beyond your average GERD and heartburn associated with overweight old people.  I was diagnosed with a hiatus hernia and Barretts Esophagus – which is where your esophagus basically morphs into stomach lining.  This in itself isn’t cause for alarm but it does lead to a much higher risk of stomach cancer, so I will get annual scopes to monitor this. They also reinforced my husband’s recommendation that I have sleep testing done to confirm sleep apnea – apparently it freaks him out when I frequently stop breathing in the night. I am currently undergoing the drill for this and anticipate I will be plugging myself in each night come February. It should be interesting to experience actually falling into a deep sleep and waking up feeling rested. I’m kind of looking forward to the experience.

In May, Barbee and I did our final Survivor’s Lap together at Relay for Life. Barbee was the one who got us started on our crazy Pink Panter journey and I’m not sure I will be able to continue it without her – perhaps I’ll book a vacay and be busy the second weekend in May. We’ll see what happens when the time comes.

Rockin' the yellow shirts and pink accessories! 

Losing Barbee this year is a devastating blow to our lives. Our hearts break for JimE, and for ourselves, and I’d imagine we will fumble along for quite some time until we learn to adjust to life without her.

The doors to “The Upper Jam,” Albert’s music room, were finally opened this year and I encourage anyone with any musical inclination to come and hang out with him for an evening or two. The fridge is always stocked.

At some point in the summer my “Art Class with a Wine Glass” venture got exposed on the “Hell Yeah Prince George” website and has sort of taken off from there. While I enjoyed three years of ‘retirement’ I have pretty much returned to the work force as an owner-operator-artist-facilitator and some weeks have done as many as four art parties.

Wine and paint nights are new to Prince George and I’m sure they will eventually become less of a novelty, but for now I will ride the wave while I can. I really love doing it and I have hooked up with a great event planner and a fundraising promoter so it’s not a hard sell to get parties booked. And I love the freedom and flexibility of working when it suits me. Making money is kinda ok too.

About once a month Bailey's Brides and Event Planning hosts an Art Party at the Twisted Cork with about 30  participants 

In September we spent some time with Jack and Barb at their cabin at Keefers. It was so great to reconnect with them after many years. We did some ATVing and scouting around old buildings and areas from my early childhood which was really cool. And oh my goodness, I hold my mother in even higher regard after getting a look, through adult eyes, at some of the ‘houses’ she raised five toddlers in. Shocking actually.

We lived here when I was 4 - Dad, Mom and 4 kids before Jenn was born. 

I spent a few stints in Kamloops as nanny for Beatrice. It’s so fun to spend time with her and watch her achievements. She is a beautiful little potty-trained two-year-old who is about the size of your average nearly four-year-old. She is developing a great sense of humour and she loves to sing – probably why she just adores her Papa. She loves me, but when he’s around I might as well be chopped liver. She also asked for a guitar for Christmas, so I don’t see her changing her opinion any time soon.

Beatrice 2 years old 

Maeve entertained us all at her dance recital in the spring and returned to her Jazz-hiphop class in the fall but has decided to discontinue that and begin with Speech Arts like her brother in the New Year. She also has a great little sense of humour and is a bit of a social butterfly. She loves preschool and is looking forward to starting kindergarten next fall.

Maeve 4 yrs
Xander transferred to grade two at Spruceland Traditional School this year which is not too far from their new home. He continues to excel academically especially in reading and math, however he struggles socially and is a seeing a pediatrician regularly trying to assess if he fits somewhere on the autism scale.

Xander 7 yrs 
Ken and Jade have settled into their new house and put their own touches on it with some renovations. They are loving the extra room they have. They are about an 8-minute drive from us now, which seems so far away – I have to remind myself that I’d be thrilled if Bea was that close.

Jade hosted Christmas dinner for the family this year, so I have to say I’m loving the extra room and nice big kitchen in their new house as well. I’ll gladly let them have the turkey leftovers if it means they get the mess and mayhem too.  :) 

It will be two years in April since Jed moved into Devin’s house. We are just so thankful for Devin and Shayne in his life and all the patience and understanding they manage to muster. The three of them had a little excursion to Vegas just before Christmas, which was a highlight of the year for him.  Of course daily life will never be without its struggles but we are pleased and thankful for his living situation.  And somehow, by the grace of God, my youngest baby turned 30 this year. Does that make us old? Or just mean that our kids have caught up to us now?

He was asking for a bike trailer for years and finally got one for his 30th birthday. 

We are so excited that Brandi and Kore have created another grandchild for us. The wee one is due June 1st which is B’s birthday and we are looking forward to a gender reveal sometime around the end of January.

A little boy would be nice to round out their family. However, I’m going out on a limb here and putting it in writing that I think it’s going to be a girl. Either way, the child will be loved beyond measure, and this Granny is really 
looking forward to a little injection of new life.

So c’mon 2017, I’m ready for ya! - now that I’ve slogged through the past year and once again exposed all the bits and bites of goodness and blessing that form the foundation of our lives.

If you’ve managed to slog through these 1700 words with me, then yay you, and please know that it is our family and friends who are our greatest blessings and reason I can confidently, if somewhat reluctantly, regurgitate a year and find bits and bites of blessings that far outnumber any pain and heartache.

Peace and love…

The entire fam-damily 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Count your blessings, name them one by one...

It’s New Year’s Eve. That means 365 days have gone by since I last sat with a glass of wine and plate of munchies and blogged the incidents and accidents that weave together to create intricate picture that is the lives of Albert and Liana. I present to you now the 2015 thumbnail of the masterpiece still in production.

 As I often do on December 31st, I reread my annual review letters that I have posted since 2007. One can’t help but conclude that we are truly blessed beyond measure. And it’s good to be reminded of these blessings before launching into a review of a year in which one is blindsided once again with loss.

January had us celebrating our 33rd anniversary apart as I was in Kamloops and then Portland for a 2-week period playing the role of granny nanny for Beatrice. What a great way to initiate my shiny new first-ever passport.

Amazing how fast they grow. 

We had a remarkably mild winter last year which caused some initial concern for the Canada Winter Games. But with the exception of the speed skating tracks being relocated to Ft St John, Prince George did a fantastic job of hosting the nation. And if you don’t count Jed getting arrested one evening and spending his first night in jail, I was pretty proud to call PG home during this period.

Jed had full passes to the sporting events and took in a lot of the action. Albert and I participated in the festivities, concerts and food trucks. We enjoyed fireworks shows which were clearly visible from our back deck. I could even stand in the hall and watch out the back window.

Indulging at the poutine food truck during Canada Winter Games
They had the most amazing photo booths at the Winter Games. 

At the beginning of March, Jed and I headed off on a Texas adventure, taking Aunty Connie and Aunty Barbee with us. It had been 20 years, just about to the day, since Connie and I last visited Jennifer at her home. Sad but true. I blame it on the passport requirements.

All buckled up for our first lift off

We had a great time in Texas and I even managed to put on my big girl panties and do a couple of firsts. I ate alligator. Yes, alligator. And yes, I voluntarily ordered it from the menu. And you guessed it, it tastes like chicken –but rubberier in texture. I also tried zip lining. Zipping the lines at Whistler is still on my bucket list, but I am one step closer to being brave enough to attempt it.

That is a grimace of terror. The girl behind is laughing cuz she may have just heard an f-bomb with a Canadian accent. 

At the end of March, Brandi brought Beatrice and my Dad to Prince George and I babysat Bea while she took some training at a denture clinic here. It was great to celebrate Dad’s upcoming 75th birthday with all his great grandchildren. Before arriving he specifically requested that we make sure and get a photo of him with all the greats. This was slightly out of character for him, but we were starting to get used to him doing out of character things in the two years since we lost Mom.

Landon, Jesslynne, Xander, Maeve, Great Grandpa, Beatrice, Joseph

Jed moved into a homeshare program at the beginning of April. He is living with Devin, a single dad, and his 7-year-old daughter, Shayne. While there have been a few issues, as life with Jed will always include, we really couldn’t have hoped or asked for a better situation for him. We are so thankful to God for Devin and his patience and acceptance and it is our continued prayer that things will only continue to get better.

After putting very few kilometers on Betty, the Goldwing, over the last couple of years, we decided she and we would be better served if we found a new home for her. In April we delivered her to Coquitlam and picked up Felix, our new-to-us side-by-side in Kamloops on the way home. (Doesn’t everyone name their vehicles?)

While in Kamloops we stayed with Dad and celebrated his 75th birthday on April 11 with him.

Goodbye Betty

Hello Felix

In May, Barbee, Jed and I once again walked the survivor lap at Relay for Life. While I still donned my head-to-toe pinkness, this was the first year we did not participate as our Pink Panter relay team.

We are so thankful to be counted among the survivors of this terrible disease. This year marks seven-year survivorship for me and five years for Jed. Barbee is still battling hard and I am so proud to call her my bff. 

Doing laps with Elvis

Victory lapping. 

Right after Relay I  headed down to Kamloops with my good friend Darlene to spend a few days just hanging out with Beatrice, Brandi and my Dad.

One of Bea's final photos with Great Grandpa. They had an almost daily relationship. He was so good to her and she renewed his zest for life and brought joy to his days. 

At the end of May, Albert and I headed to Vancouver Island to spend some time nannying Beatrice in Parksville and then hanging out in a vacation house in Tofino. We celebrated Brandi’s birthday in style with a week of seafood, sand and sights.  

One of several magazine-worthy meals prepared by chefs Kore and Jason. 

Hanging out on Long Beach

Cruisin'' on the ferry

On the way to the island, we also got to spend some time with Jack and Barb for this first time in years. It was great to catch up and it’s amazing how it was as if 30 years hadn’t passed.

While on the island we also got to spend a day and a half with our dear friends Maureen & Darryl. This was a bittersweet time as we knew it would be our last visit with Darryl, who lost his heroic 7-year battle with cancer in September.

It was our intention to stop in to spend the night with Dad on the way home from the island on June 3rd but we were making good time and we had been gone from home for nearly two weeks. Because I had just been to Kamloops the week before our Island vacation and Dad was going to spend a week in Prince George with Jennifer and Andy at the end of June, we opted to just carry on home. We will never know the answers to “shoulda, woulda, coulda” but a part of me will always regret that decision.

Because Albert was still on vacation time, we spent one day and night at home before picking up Jed and heading out to the cabin at Vivian Lake, where 2015 was shaping up to be a banner year. The ice was off the lake a month early, and camping season had started by the middle of April.

Friday afternoon, June 5th, Albert got a phone call that would bring my world crashing down to lay in splinters at my feet. Within the hour we were headed to Kamloops where Brandi and Kore had found my Dad on the floor after a major stroke. Time is the greatest enemy for stroke victims and we will never know what the outcome might have been had we diverted to Kamloops that fateful night of June 3.

Connie also arrived in Kamloops that night and Jennifer bumped her flight up a couple of weeks and arrived the next day. The boys both live in Kamloops, and we all spent the next 5 days saying goodbye to our father and releasing him to enter eternity with Mama and Jesus. On June 11th their union was complete. We laid him to rest, together with Mama, on June 19, the day before Father’s Day. And yet again I found myself public speaking as I had the privilege of honouring my Dad by delivering the eulogy.  

The 5 Little Orphans. Okay, not so little orphans. 

As co-executor with Brandi, I spent the rest of June and a good part of July in Kamloops while Albert held down the fort here in PG. There were a lot of A&W mozza burgers on the menu over the summer for the poor guy.

I missed Xander’s kindergarten graduation while Dad was in the hospital. I’m so thankful for technology that allowed me to witness from afar.

Proud of his Kindergarten Grad certificate

Jennifer and Andy came, as originally planned, to Vivian Lake for the week surrounding Canada Day. It was a nice break from dealing with the estate, however I found it difficult because Dad was supposed to be there with us.

We spent more time in Kamloops during August celebrating Beatrice’s first birthday and continuing to work through the affairs of the estate. Through all the comings and goings and travel back and forth, we spent as much time as possible at the lake enjoying a summer of super fabulous weather. If it wasn’t for the boarder living in our suite, our poor home probably would have looked completely abandoned all summer. But as it was my flower gardens looked better than they ever have and they bloomed well in to November. Yes, November. Here in PG. Unheard of, I know.

As great as it was to have a live-in gardener and care taker, she gave notice and moved out of town by the end of August. We had a few people inquire about taking over the suite but we have opted for now to keep the space for ourselves. And while that extra little chunk of change was nice at the beginning of each month, it has been really great having the extra room in our little house that still stores most of the contents of Jed’s apartment (which we are slowly weeding through) as well as the truckloads of inheritance I managed to haul home with each trip from Kamloops over the summer.

The resort at Vivian Lake was host to Woofstock Music Festival in late August. The event got off to a late start for advertising and met with some mishandled management as well as being held on the only rainy weekend we had all summer long. This is unfortunate, as the music line up was fantastic, but the event was very poorly attended. As seasonally permanent residents out there we had weekend passes and, despite the weather, had a really good time. 

A quiet moment on the dock listening to the music in the distance

Hangin' out with my friend Patti and the band Chilliwack

In September our little Maeve Liliana started at Cedars Preschool and Xander entered grade one, although he leaves the classroom for Math which I believe is gr 2-3. His reading and comprehension were recently tested and he comes in at a solid grade 5 level, and his teacher suspects it’s more like grade 6. Socially he is actually a bit young for his age so there is a bit of a disconnect there that keeps the teachers challenged. 
Our smart little 3-yr-old already shows signs of being a good reader, loves drawing, is very social and quite opinionated about fashion. 

Probate was granted in September, and from all reports from others, this was extraordinarily quick. For this we thank God (and Chris, our lawyer who just may have shown us a bit of favouritism). We got Dad’s house listed and signed a 6-month contract with an agent we are slightly less than pleased with. As of now the house is still listed and sitting empty with 6 weeks left on our contract with the agent. Here’s to a sale soon or a better relationship with a new agent come February.

We joined the ranks of the new generation and cancelled our landline in September – mostly due to my lack of patience and tolerance for political lobbyists who seemed to think they needed to contact us daily to ask how we were voting.

We had another quick trip to Van Isle in September to celebrate our friend Darryl who left behind a legacy of life and example of how to do relationships; how to repair them and how to sustain them.

At the end of October, I took a 3-week job nannying for Ray and Jesse as she recovered from surgery. It was great to get to know their sweetest little girls, aged 3 and 5. And I even survived the 7am-get-dressed-and-leave-the-house mornings.

November 5th my grass was still green and my flowers were blooming. This is really an incredible feat for us here in the north.

Yes, this is November in Prince George.

Sometime during November, Ken and Jade had a developer knock on their door and ask if he could buy their house. He agreed to pay more than the house was worth and it was really a great opportunity to get into a bigger house that they couldn’t refuse.

They found a house with a quick possession available and spent their first night in it on Dec 23. They handed over the keys this afternoon and so ends the era of the wee shack down the street. While I am certainly going to miss having them just 6 doors down, I cannot begrudge them the chance to move on up, and will have to accept the 10-minute drive. At least they are not up the Hart. Or way off in Kamloops. 

On November 24 Connie and I headed to Vernon to visit with Grandpa Cutting who was in the hospital and not doing well. The next day, November 25th, he left his weary 93-year-old body behind and took his quick wit and sharp mind with him as he entered the gates of heaven. Our hearts break for Grandma, yet we rejoice with him as he receives his eternal reward for a life well lived. Once again I found myself in front of a grieving crowd, public speaking on behalf of all the Cutting Cousins. Oi. This is so not my cup of tea, and I stumbled my way through reading my notes only to realize a couple of hours later that I had forgotten to put my glasses on.  

By the middle of December our grass was still green, although the flowers had become frost bitten, and I began to dream in earnest of a green Christmas along with a nicely finished new main bathroom and pantry that Albert had been working diligently on for weeks. The green did not happen. But the bathroom and pantry did so it’s all good. We currently sit under about 12 inches of snow. It’s pretty but it’s still snow.
The bathroom is small but completely functional and allows for a large pantry. 

This room brings a smile to my face and joy to my heart. I love it! It even fits an upright freezer. 

It was so awesome to have Brandi, Kore and Beatrice come stay for a week over Christmas. And it was great having the extra space in the empty suite to fit everyone in. It was my intention to have Jed come and stay here for the holidays but he opted to stay at his home with Devin and just day-trip to our house. I cannot express how much this blessed my heart. Not only for the extra peace :) but it really shows how settled he is at Devin’s and that it really is ‘home’ for him. 

So very blessed by these three little wonders of delight whose personalities are so varied and unique.

We had so much to be thankful for in 2015. Even in a year of great loss, the blessings always always always far outnumber the heartache, and we are expecting the same for 2016.

Peace and love to you all – each of whom we count among the blessings.  

Paint Palette Panic!

I have made most of my major decisions concerning our current major renovations. I got my cupboards all selected, chosen the countertop...