If you don’t like where you are, then move. You aren’t a tree.

 

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I saw a quote written in grafitti on a building as I commuted to work one morning. It seemed to resonate with me although I’ve likely looked at it before but perhaps I had never really paid it much attention. I wondered as I walked from the train station to my office building if seeing it on that particular morning was some divine source poking me on the shoulder with yet another reminder that where I am in life really is my choice and not just forces of nature working against what I think I really want. That was the key; what I think I want as opposed to what I know I want.

This week I am on what I believe is a much-needed break. I searched for what I thought was a dream vacation to somewhere with a beach, warm weather and someone to cook my meals, clean my room and serve me drinks, but ended up deciding on was 9 days with my parents at their vacation home in Arizona. For a moment I admit I felt remorse as I booked the flight because what ran through my head was ‘I guess it will do’.

As I sit on the patio with a coffee in my hand looking at the pool I remind myself I am truly fortunate. It is easy to forget the stresses of work I endured late last year. It is easy to forget I have an amazing home in the Canadian Rockies and not think about what needs to be done to keep it as fabulous as I’ve become accustomed. It is easy to forget many people never have the opportunity to escape every day life to a few days of true relaxation with not a worry in sight. It is too easy to forget I am lucky enough to not be a tree and can move whenever I need.

I am not a tree. If I don’t like where I am, I simply stand up and walk away. But sometimes I need to be a tree and just stay put to remind myself things aren’t so bad where I’m rooted.

 

My soul sister city – I heart you.

imageThis isn’t something new; It is something I’ve known for a very long time. It is something I’ve known for so long I had the chance twice and ran away scared. I ran but always found a way to return year after year after year. I had family here. I found a friend who lived here, I found a reason to come back every September long weekend for 13 years. I found a different reason  to come back when the previous reason ran out of lives. I found a best friend who grew up here. I found a (not so) distant relative who spent a better part of his life here. I started running to make an excuse to return for a few years although it was a half marathon and I’d be in pain for days. I found a reason.

At what point are the reasons and excuses going to run out? I’m a “Western Canadian” girl and always will be but my heart feels best when I’m on the West Coast. I’m not going to sleep tonight*. Not because I can’t, but because I don’t want to. I want to take in the city as much as I can because I refuse to take it for granted. I refuse to not appreciate why I am here and what is outside my window. I am trying so hard to not have regrets but every time I’m here I hate to leave. It isn’t that feeling of never wanting to end a vacation. It is a feeling of not wanting to be a tourist but a resident with a career, a life, a home… I want people who do live here to understand what they have and what they aren’t missing.

It don’t want to cry, to waste energy wondering why not. I want to spend every moment breathing in the salty air, the West Coast vibe, to appreciate salty hair and a feeling of comfort and to understand the hustle and bustle of a city that is vibrant and full of energy. I won’t regret what could have been but enjoy what is and know it will be here when I need it.

Perhaps if I lived here I wouldn’t appreciate what I do now. It isn’t that far away and possibly only being here once a year makes me understand how amazing it is. There is a reason it is my home county and not some exotic location. I have to remember how close it is peeking at me just over the mountains and the feeling I get when I’m here. I need to put those feelings in a jar to open when I’m forgetting how amazing the feelings can be. It might be just a city and many people have told me it isn’t where you are, but who you are, however there are times when location is everything. I need to cherish what this moment is and close my eyes to take a mental snapshot so when I’m feeling blue I will remember what it feels like to be in Vancouver.

My heart is and always will be yours. XO

t.g.2015

*written about a month ago while in Vancouver after I completed my 3rd half marathon.

I found a few grains of sand in my summer pail.

As I sat on my deck on one of the last great-weather days in 2014 I started to think back to the post I wrote in July about my hopes for the summer. I set out a list of things I wanted to accomplish so I didn’t waste a moment of what I knew to be an amazing Rocky Mountain season. I am grateful to report I’ve crossed off quite a few things but knew I would have some that were just too stubborn to clean out of the bottom of the pail. I haven’t given up on my list, but as the summer season inevitably turns into fall it may be time to start my snow pail list.

1. Enjoy coffee on my deck as often as possible. 
Mission accomplished! I even enjoyed coffee every morning for a week on the patio at a friends’ house while on vacation. Nothing beats the early morning rays of warmth and the excitement of the day to come.

2. Go on a picnic. (complete with blankets on the grass, sandwiches, fancy finger foods and maybe even a bottle of wine.)
This didn’t quite happen as I envisioned. Does having a beer in a travel mug and a bag of chips on the beach count?

3. Get Geeky at the Science Centre with my daughter.
I am really terrible at getting out and exploring my own city. I always take it for granted and procrastinate going places as I get distracted thinking about far away destinations or think I need to clean my house first, or hey, I better watch my PVR before hubby deletes something. I can go explore my own city anytime right? Or should that be phrased as follows; I should go explore my own city right now!

4. Walk Chili every day.
This didn’t quite happen every day but I am happy to say Chili has started to whine in the evenings after dinner so we walk often enough that he has come to expect his nightly outing.

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There’s nothing better than a slushie and a walk!

5. Try Stand Up Paddleboarding.
Not only did I try it, I fell in love with it. Now if only I lived in a community with a lake…

6. Practice yoga on the deck.
I let my ego get in the way of this one. While I do practice yoga at home (as well as at a studio) I didn’t muster up the courage to take it to the deck. We are on a corner lot, quite exposed to houses around us and although I know the likelihood of there being nosy neighbours is slim, I didn’t want to take the chance.
I did some yoga poses on a paddle board in the middle of Lake Osoyoos for all to see so maybe my ego wasn’t paying attention in that moment. Silly of me considering on my deck I would be in comfy yoga pants and a tank, rather than a skimpy bathing suit. Sigh.

7. Visit a local museum.
Sigh… see #3. Can I stretch the intentions of this one and say I visited an art gallery while getting local in Osoyoos BC?

8. Unplug for more than just a few hours.
This wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had thought. Not having wifi for 8 days while on vacation definitely helped! I love my technology but I didn’t miss it nearly as much as I anticipated. Even after a bit of a tantrum the first day A realized she wouldn’t have social media for a week, there was the realization that face-to-face with her friends was much more rewarding than posting and waiting for those “likes” to come flooding in.

9. Visit a friend I haven’t seen in a long time.
I think this one almost deserves a separate blog entry as I saw more than one friend I haven’t seen in forever. I don’t know how many people can say they have friends that are in their lives for a reason and although you may not see them for a very long period of time, once you do it is like you saw them yesterday. I am fortunate enough to have a few.

10. Attend a yoga class in a different city.
I often attend different classes with different teachers in my own city, but it is always fabulous to explore yoga in a completely different environment, especially when that yoga class is not only outdoors overlooking the Pacific ocean, but has 3,000 other yogis right there with me. I only regret not joining the street yoga party on Robson. Definite must-do next summer!

11. Enjoy lunch at an outdoor cafe and not worry about the time.
This one was accomplished more than once. I think this goes hand in hand with #8 as I use my phone for a watch. Having lunch with a great friend and being so absorbed in conversation that time isn’t even a consideration is amazing. It is time to “unplug” and enjoy being in a wonderful place with amazing friends.

12. Share some of my time by volunteering.
Although I constantly set this as a personal goal I am ashamed to say I don’t spend the time volunteering that I would like. Balancing being a dance mom, having a career and being a wife is tough. I do work for an incredible company who is at the forefront of the community so I do take the opportunities to volunteer with their support (this year our team painted the house, deck, fence and garage of a very deserving senior). A also loves to volunteer as well but isn’t able to do the things that are important to her because she is too young. In a year, we will be able to do things together to volunteer around the city and I can’t wait.

13. Hike in the mountains.
You would think this would be a no-brainer as I live at the foot of the Canadian Rocky Mountains but along with #3 and #7 I tend to take these majestic wonders for granted. I did hike this year in early September and it was amazing. I hiked for a few hours and the entire time I just kept thinking to myself how fortunate I was as this is my backyard and people from around the world come here, just to see this once in their lives. I can see views like this anytime I want.

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14. Run the Seawall in Vancouver (unlike last year when I just walked. This year I want to run.)
Well, this didn’t quite happen the way I’d hoped but I did run more of the seawall than last year. I won’t complain as just being able to complete a half marathon was an accomplishment in itself in my books.

15. Eat local and support our economy by shopping at the Farmers’ Market.
I was able to support local growers and ranchers in three different cities this summer. We enjoyed Silver Sage beef from the local market in Calgary, amazing candied salmon in Granville Island Market and fresh fruit in the Okanagan Valley. If visiting wineries counts then I supported the local grape growers as well.

16. Take advantage of the amazing weekend sunrises and run on the ridge rather than sleeping through them.
During the week when I’m not on vacation I’m up at 5am already so there is no way I’m about to get up any earlier to run. I did manage to get up a few mornings during vacation and on a few weekends to run by 6am and it was amazing. It is so calm, quiet and the air is crisp. I truly wish I could do it more often as it put me in the most amazing mood for the rest of the day.

17. Enjoy great company under our pergola on the warm summer evenings.
This is always an easy thing to do as wouldn’t you want to join me here? 😉

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18. On a rainy day have a picnic inside. (see #2)
Well if appetizers and a bottle of wine standing at the kitchen island is considered a picnic then mission accomplished.

19. Window shop in Mission and enjoy a latte at Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters while people watching.
This now seems to be a common theme with me as again, my city has so many amazing things to offer and I just never seem to make it a priority. My husband and I had dinner at a fabulous Italian restaurant in Mission and wandered a bit to discover Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters. This was in June so I decided it should be on my list as we just didn’t have enough time to truly explore this amazing district. I never got back even despite the fact I work a very short walking-distance away.

20. Visit a vineyard and taste a regional wine.
I am very happy to say we visited several vineyards in the Okanagan Valley BC. My birthday was spent going to six and continued to visit several more in the following days. We found it so much fun we even found a tasting room in a mall of all places in Spokane Washington. We now have several favourites and have branched out from our ‘go-to’ California wines. We discovered new varieties we hadn’t heard of and I found a new appreciation for Pino Noir. I knew I was a wine snob but now I have some education to back it up! I know what I like and now know why.

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21. Make real sun tea.
Well let’s just say this never happened.

22. Camp in my backyard.
I will be the first one to admit when given the choice of my comfy king size bed and sleeping in a tent on the ground, I will always crawl under the covers in my master bedroom. My hopes had been to “camp” with A in the backyard as she’s never had the experience, but my high-maintenance A-type personality always found a reason to not tackle this goal. I love the great outdoors, but I just prefer not to sleep there.

23. Who knows? After all, one never knows what summer may have in store.
It was an amazing summer full of new experiences and fabulous friends. We didn’t waste a moment and am happy to know although I may not have crossed everything off my list, I added a few things that I didn’t anticipate and sometimes that makes for the best memories.

~t.g.2014 

A year I won’t soon forget.

In a few short hours, 2013 will be a memory. A lot happened during the past 12 months and many of the events were big firsts for myself and for my family. We had amazing adventures, a few dents, watched a city pull together to prove Mother Nature is no match for us and celebrated milestone birthdays. As I look forward to  2014 I can’t help but hope the future holds as much excitement as the year past. I hope you enjoy a look back at our 2013.

C and I escaped the January snow for some Vegas time!

C and I escaped the January snow for some Vegas time!

We had an unseasonably warm February (Chili enjoyed every moment he could.)

We had an unseasonably warm February (Chili enjoyed every moment he could.)

After record snowfalls in March, my truck received a new nickname - "denty".

After record snowfalls in March, my truck received a new nickname – “denty”.

My birthday girl made us proud in April with her amazing dance performances!

My birthday girl made us proud in April with her amazing dance performances!

A & I took a quick May long weekend break to Arizona to visit my parents (and do some shopping ;) )

A & I took a quick May long weekend break to Arizona to visit my parents (and do some shopping 😉 )

June was a month that shook our city to the core. The flooding was devastating.

June was a month that shook our city to the core. The flooding was devastating.

July took us to California for a much needed break!

July took us to California for a much-needed break!

Our Dancing Girl in the California Adventure Pixar Parade :)

Our Dancing Girl in the California Adventure Pixar Parade 🙂

Surfing in Huntington Beach was a must!

Surfing in Huntington Beach was a must!

August long weekend I turned 40 and ran my first half marathon a week later!  Yay me!

August long weekend I turned 40 and ran my first half marathon a week later! Yay me!

Chillaxing in our outdoor living room. Best September ever!

Chillaxing in our outdoor living room. Best September ever!

My running path is finally looking back to its scenic self in October.

My running path is finally looking back to its scenic self in October.

My Halloween "Fashion Disaster"

Our Halloween “Fashion Disaster”

I surprised my Dad by flying to Arizona for his 70th birthday.

I surprised my Dad by flying to Arizona for his 70th birthday in November.

December is always full of zoolights, eggnog, family, and friends!

December is always full of zoolights, eggnog, family, and friends!

Here's to an amazing year to come!  (photo - bechaini.com)

Here’s to an amazing year to come!
(photo – bechaini.com)

t.g. 2013

My favourite Eve of the year

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With the usual craziness of the holiday season, I haven’t had much time to write. I decided to take a small moment to enjoy seeing the words fill the blank white page as I gaze out across the snow-covered city. It is Christmas Eve and I am more than ready (and excited) for what is to come in the next few days.

Gifts are wrapped and under the tree, Eggnog is chilling in the fridge, ingredients are waiting to come together for an evening of appetizers with family, and A and I are off to see the Nutcracker Ballet this afternoon. Christmas Eve is here and it is my favourite day of the holiday season.

Norad is ready to go on the computer and A has already spotted Santa making his way across Asia. She is planning to go to bed once Santa reaches Toronto so she has enough time to fall asleep. 🙂

The anticipation of the past few months is at its height. All that is left is laughter, eating, drinking and enjoying time with family and friends.

I wish nothing but warm hearts, warm hugs and sugar-plum dreams coming true tonight.

From my family to yours… Merry Christmas!

t.g. 2013