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 

Consider Yourself Reminded.

Ten years. It's been 10 years today since I was branded with that title that no-one ever wants to wear. That is until you receive it. ...