Sunday, 12 June 2016

My Life

I just came back from a power walk to the beach.  On that walk, I realized something and many somethings.  First; I am hanging up my jogging shoes for walking shoes.  A metaphor.  My shoes are still the same: They have evolved, as I have evolved.  Throughout my life I have been running. Running and perfecting.  We as humans are not perfect no matter how hard we try.  These expectations steal your soul.  It steals your life

I have realized on this walk tonight that I have not lived.  Over the past few months, I feel alive.  Yes, I was extremely happy over the last years, but I did not live life.  I strived to be the best of the best.  When I failed, I was ashamed and embarrassed.  For those who were and are close to me know exactly what I am talking about. 

Over the last few months, I healed my heart, I found my soul, I cried so hard I couldn’t breathe.  I laughed so hard I snorted.  I loved so hard my heart began to beat again.  I realized who I am. I am loved and I can love.

My home is now messy and some days I do nothing productive, but I feel complete.  My lists seem to go missing and it doesn’t matter if they do anymore.  My lists are now shorter these days as the precious things in life don’t need to be written on a list.  They are embedded in my heart and in my mind. I sleep at night.  Not like I used to.  I would wake and wonder what if. Worry about tomorrow.  Now I sleep and dream, I dream about life, I dream about yesterday, Never tomorrow as I now realize there is no control of tomorrows. Every day is a new life.  All I need to do is make one decision.  My decision for the day is to wake up feeling alive, feeling loved, feeling happy.  Serene, as my days evolve now, not planned.

 I have become forgetful because the thoughts I remember are the most important thoughts at the moment.  Everything else is nonexistent as I am living in the moment and not in the future of what ifs and what could be.

In the last few months, I have realized I crave life, not existence.  I crave love, not hate or anger.  I have a glow about me now as I have been told.  My eyes sparkle; my lips smile…energy from within has been born.

I feel pretty these last few months, even if I do not put on makeup, style my hair or shave my legs. My wrinkles are a testimony of my past; my smile will be my legacy towards my future.

In the last few months, I can hear, but not hear as I have in the past.  I can hear the song birds in the morning, I hear the lyrics of songs that I have listened to for over 50 years, but did not know the words or the story.

I can see clearly now.  My eyes have become the open window to the world, my world and existence. I see like I have never seen before.  I see the petals of flowers, the buds on the trees, the clouds in the sky. Like a child laying on the sand looking towards the sky.  The stars now sparkle.  On a moonlight paddle, I gazed at the stars in the sky only to realize the bats were dancing to the light of the moon.  We were dancing on the calm waters, my eyes absorbed the dark sky, the light of the moon and the sense of sight flowed through my body as never before.

My skin, the largest organ of the human body, a sense of touch, the air on your neck, the feel of the radiant heat, the cool breeze, goose bumps on my leg, the hair on the back of your neck, peach fuzz on my cheeks. I have learned over the last few months and I can feel it all for the first time.  

Take nothing for granted…

Over the last few months, I taste.   Not just food, water or beer.  I can taste.  I taste the energy within.  The thought of an animal forfeiting their life to give us nourishment. A sacrifice we must respect. Michael Pollen’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma says it all.  The plants, fruits, vegetables, and grains we prepare and consume. The simplicity of enjoying a meal, every bite, the energy you need, the energy created, the energy spent. The savory, the sweetness, the bitters, the salt.

 Imagine the miracle of the 5 senses.

Yes, I have evolved.  I am me and I am alive.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Happy Anniversary

Fifteen years ago today, Bob and I were married.  A candle light wedding on a Friday evening.  All of our daughters dressed at our place, sharing stories and having a blast trying to style our hair and makeup, while Heather was creating cocktails before the big event.
Mom, Bob and Myself

Retro days & our Pink Mustang
During the female invasion at our home, Bob was having his last beer as a bachelor.  "When are you getting married?" quoted a friend.  "The wedding is @ 7 p.m." replied Bob.  " You only have 40 minutes to get to the church"   A quick shower (we only had one bathroom at the time and it was occupied by 6 women!)

Fifteen years later, a few bumps in the road, some harder than others.

Today, we kayaked Whitesand Lake and danced to our wedding song.......
15 fabulous years

Bob & his Pink Kayak

First dip in the Lake with Drysuits

And my lucky 13 orange

Nothing is going to stop us now!!!! as the song goes, by Jefferson Starship.

Bob & Roland 2nd Depot Lake 2008

Lookin' in your eyes
This world that I found
Is too good to be true

Standin' here beside you
 Want so much to give you
This love in my heart
That I'm feelin' for you
BobCat Wine Tour

Let 'em say we're crazy
I don't care 'bout that
Put your hand in my hand, baby
Don't ever look back

Panorama 2010

Let the world around us
Just fall apart
Baby, we can make it
If we're heart to heart
Christmas 2013

And we can build this dream together
Standing strong forever
Nothing's gonna stop us now

Cat's 50th Birthday

And if this world runs out of lovers
We'll still have each other
Nothing's gonna stop us
Nothing's gonna stop us now

Oh, whoa
Cycling the Cabot Trail 2006
I'm so glad I found you
I'm not gonna lose you
Whatever it takes
I will stay here with you

Take it to the good times
See it through the bad times
Whatever it takes
Is what I'm gonna do

Our Spanish Daughter, Ines

Let 'em say we're crazy
What do they know?
Put your arms around me, baby
Don't ever let go

My Mom' 95th Birthday and Daniel 

Let the world around us
Just fall apart
Baby, we can make it
If we're heart to heart

Christine, Callie, & Tammy
And we can build this dream together
Standing strong forever
Nothing's gonna stop us now

Caledonia Cycling

And if this world runs out of lovers
We'll still have each other
Nothing's gonna stop us
Nothing's gonna stop us

Spain, 2011
Ooh, all that I need is you
All that I ever need
And all that I want to do
Is hold you forever ever and ever, hey
Our trip to Spain
Mom Meharg

And we can build this dream together
Standing strong forever
Nothing's gonna stop us now

And if this world runs out of lovers
We'll still have each other
Nothing's gonna stop us
Our Caledonia Grape vines
Nothing's gonna stop us

We can build this dream together
Standing strong forever
Nothing's gonna stop us now
Nothing's gonna stop us
Hiking the Bruce Trail

And if this world runs out of lovers
We'll still have each other
B B Q on Niagara on the Lake
Nothing's gonna stop us now
We can build this dream together
Standing strong forever
Nothing's gonna stop us now

World runs out of lovers
Nothing's gonna stop us
We'll still have each other

We can build this dream together
Standing strong forever
Nothing's gonna stop us now

Monday, 28 April 2014

Happiness is.....

Mount Nelson, B.C.
A very special friend stated " If Skiing is a good substitute for happiness, then Skiing with friends IS happiness."  Thanks for the philosophy Lev.

Bob and Lev on the Sunbird chair
Bob & Mike at the Mile One Hut enjoying a Happy Hour

Now that the sun is beginning to warm our souls, it is time to head towards the
land of the Big Lake to await a late arrival of spring.  Our home, buried in snow for most of winter, is slowly making an appearance once again. A short visit with Stan and Liz in Calgary once again before we travel east.  A beautiful and gracious couple indeed.


Total Ski Days:
Bob: 50 days
Cat: 35 days

Total Injured/too Tired to Ski Days:
Bob: 8 days: man cold
Cat: 5 weeks (fractured ankle)
3 days: bronchitis

Top Downhill Speed:
Bob & Cat:  66 kilometers per hour- whoa!!!!

Average  Daily Vertical:
10,000 feet

All in a days' work
Most Interesting Chair Ride: Sorry, Bob.  I couldn't resist taking a few pics that morning!  First run of the day, a warm up on Outrider and back down to the chair. Except the seats were flipped up the night before and have not yet returned to the proper position.  Well, the chair scooped us both up and GOOD MORNING!  No seat.  For whatever reason, survival instinct....I jumped.  Yes, don't ask why, but I jumped.  Even to my surprise, I landed on my feet.  Ski and ankle intact.  However, Bob was left swinging above in a very compomised position.  Nice Bum!  ha ha.
A slight inconvenience: The seat is missing

A little help from our friends


Best Apres' Event:
Boris & Boris Jr. At Scrabble night
Scrabble and Wing night with Walter, Margaret and of course our 2014 mascot, Boris the Bear and his sidekick, Boris Jr.

Total Snow Depth:
505 cm total snowfall
140 cm total depth

Best side trip:
Nelson, B.C.
Nelson waterfront
Bob & Barry....Playtime in the park

And, let us not forget our annual nomination:
OUR FAVOURITE LIFTIE: (or shall we say: Ticket Validator) of 2014...
Jo O.
Thanks for all your smiles and kind words each and every day you scanned our pass.  Jo is from Nelson, B.C. and is working at Panno for the season.  Jo informed us of all the great nifty secrets to see, eat and explore in one of the Funkiest towns in North America:  Nelson, B.C.

We spent our last ski day hanging out with Mike cruising on spring kissed snow under sunshine, tranquil blue sky and moderate temperatures teasing us wanting to abandon our winter cloaks. (thanks Mike for the loan of your jacket, as Bob left his back at the house)

Yes, we did see shorts and flip flops wandering around the village that day.

The Bat & The Cat

A toast at the end of another glorious season with a glass of wine and traditional hot chocolate and Amaretto for myself.

How true!  we have both been blessed with wonderful friends, at home and abroad.  We are so very grateful for each and every one of them.  Our ski season is now over, but our memories will last a lifetime.  Yes, a few bumps in the road this season, but still a great year.
Bob & Walter
Many thanks to our gracious friends (too many to mention names) for the western hospitality and companionship of fellow ski bums.
Thanks for all the dinners, scrabble games, ski buddies, and rescue of a fellow injured skier for Sushi.  And not to forget, the cold beer and wine at happy hour (Beer O'clock)

And now that we are done for the season.  It is time to pack up to begin our trek back to Northwestern Ontario.  But first a visit to our dear friends, Stan and Liz in Calgary.  Quality time with fellow skiers.

We left Calgary under warm temps and blue skies to arrive at Swift Current Saskatchewan for the night.  The hotel is beside Living Sky Casino (our night's stay included a discount voucher for dinner and ticket toward the slot machines)  We do not gamble, but what the $%$$##.  There is not a great selection of dining establishment, so we defaulted and visited the casino.  Totally ignorant on operating  slots, we sheepishly asked for assistance.  Fumbling over the lights and noise, we did manage to win enough earnings to pay for our dinner and cocktails.  A win win situation!
A fun evening at its best.  Thank goodness we left before we began to look like some of the hard core players with glazed eyeballs and worriesome expressions as they jump from machine to machine.
An early bedtime and a good night sleep is in order before heading to Moose Jaw to visit the tunnels and caves.  A hideout for Al Capone.

Moose Jaw, 1930's

Next stop on our 2014 bucket list is Moose Jaw to visit the tunnels. We stayed in Swift Current, Saskatchewan for a night (we needed to use up our Holiday in night's stay) Us ski bums need to save our nickels & dimes (pennies are now extinct) as they add up quickly so we can purchase more lift tickets next year!  Ha Ha   We arrive now thirsty, so we Google Beer Store.  We faithfully followed the directions as Happy Hour approaches quickly.  Where do we land?  Chappel Street should have been a good indication of 'an ERROR in communication'  "You have arrived at your destination" WELL...our destination was The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints.  We didn't think they supplemented their donations by selling beer. Plan "B". We asked a very lovely woman walking down the street for directions.  She laughed and agreed that we were not standing in front of the Beer Store.  She happily redirected us to our proper destination.
Wall Murals, depicting life in town

Once in Moose Jaw, a distinctive city.  The name originated from the Cree word "Moose Gaw" meaning "warm Breezes.

The Railway came in 1882 & quickly transformed Moose Jaw from a lonely trading post into a bustling prairie town.  And it is just that as we walked the streets that day.
By 1903, Moose Jaw had all the basic essentials of a growing community and was incorporated as a city.  Along with the boom came economic prosperity, electricity, paved streets and a vision for the city reflected in its grand architecture.

Al Capone
 Tourism in Moose Jaw has promoted "The Chicago Connection" the nickname for this town.
 Al Capone and his gang, Public enemy # 1. His goons, his guns, his gals....His secret world in the Tunnels of Moose Jaw.  The fast pace tour offers a taste of the high life and the cost of laying low. Al Capone has captured the interest as prohibition created a new kind of "underground business" in this tiny community. We, of course did the tour and "went underground"

Of more interest, as Bob and I were ignorant of the fact that Chinese immigrants played a major role of the growth and prosperity of Moose Jaw.
A Chinese Family 
We, as Canadians had done a great injustice to the proud and strong people who immigrated to Canada as they risked, family, life and pride for a better life.  Stephen Harper after many years made a public apology of the mistreatment of these people in Canada.
 With the completion of the C.P.R. in the late 1880's, Chinese migration moved eastward. Moose Jaw had the largest community reaching 162 in 1911. By 1921 there were more than 188 Chinese residing.  Only 11 were female.
In honour of these immigrants, I have enclosed the "Address by the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper on the Chinese Head Tax Redress"

Notes for an Address by
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to formally turn the page on an unfortunate period in Canada’s past. 
One during which a group of people - who only sought to build a better life - was repeatedly and deliberately singled out for unjust treatment. 
I speak, of course, of the head tax that was imposed on Chinese immigrants to this country, as well as the other restrictive measures that followed.
The Canada we know today would not exist were it not for the efforts of the Chinese labourers who began to arrive in the mid-nineteenth century. 
Almost exclusively young men, these immigrants made the difficult decision to leave their families behind in order to pursue opportunities in a country halfway around the world they called “gold mountain.” 
Beginning in 1881, over 15,000 of these Chinese pioneers became involved in the most important nation-building enterprise in Canadian history – the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. 

From the shores of the St. Lawrence, across the seemingly endless expanses of shield and prairie, climbing the majestic Rockies, and cutting through the rugged terrain of British Columbia,
– This transcontinental link was the ribbon of steel that bound our fledgling country together. 
It was an engineering feat –one for which the back-breaking toil of Chinese labourers was largely responsible-
– That was instrumental to the settlement of the West and the subsequent development of the Canadian economy. 

The conditions under which these men worked were at best harsh, and at times impossible:  tragically, some one thousand Chinese labourers died building the CPR. 
But in spite of it all, these Chinese immigrants persevered, and in doing so, helped to ensure the future of Canada. 
But from the moment that the railway was completed, Canada turned its back on these men. 
Beginning with the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885, a head tax of $50 was imposed on Chinese newcomers in an attempt to deter immigration. 
Not content with the tax’s effect, the government subsequently raised the amount to $100 in 1900, and then to $500 – the equivalent of two years’ wages – in 1903. 

This tax remained in place until 1923, when the government amended the Chinese Immigration Act and effectively banned most Chinese immigrants until 1947. 
Similar legislation existed in the Dominion of Newfoundland, which also imposed a head tax between 1906 and 1949, when Newfoundland joined Confederation. 
The Government of Canada recognizes the stigma and exclusion experienced by the Chinese as a result.
We acknowledge the high cost of the head tax meant many family members were left behind in China, never to be reunited, or that families lived apart and, in some cases, in poverty, for many years. 

We also recognize that our failure to truly acknowledge these historical injustices has led many in the community from seeing themselves as fully Canadian.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all Canadians and the Government of Canada, we offer a full apology to Chinese Canadians for the head tax and express our deepest sorrow for the subsequent exclusion of Chinese immigrants. 

Gar nar dai doe heem.

This apology is not about liability today:  it is about reconciliation with those who endured such hardship, and the broader Chinese-Canadian community,
– One that continues to make such an invaluable contribution to our great country. 

And while Canadian courts have ruled that the head tax, and immigration prohibition, were legally authorized, we fully accept the moral responsibility to acknowledge these shameful polices of our past. 

For over six decades, these race-based financial measures, aimed solely at the Chinese, were implemented with deliberation by the Canadian state. 
This was a grave injustice, and one we are morally obligated to acknowledge.   
To give substantial meaning to today’s apology, the Government of Canada will offer symbolic payments to living head tax payers and living spouses of deceased payers.

In addition, we will establish funds to help finance community projects aimed at acknowledging the impact of past wartime measures and immigration restrictions on ethno-cultural communities.

No country is perfect.  Like all countries, Canada has made mistakes in its past, and we realize that. 
Canadians, however, are a good and just people, acting when we’ve committed wrong.
And even though the head tax – a product of a profoundly different time -- lies far in our past, we feel compelled to right this historic wrong for the simple reason that it is the decent thing to do, a characteristic to be found at the core of the Canadian soul.
Mr. Speaker, in closing, let me assure the House that this government will continually strive to ensure that similar unjust practices are never allowed to happen again. 
We have the collective responsibility to build a country based firmly on the notion of equality of opportunity, regardless of one’s race or ethnic origin. 

Our deep sorrow over the racist actions of our past will nourish our unwavering commitment to build a better future for all Canadians.   

Thank you.

Back home, Our man, Geoff has been working on clearing the driveway and digging a tunnel to our front door prior to our arrival in a few days.

White Swan Provincial Park
A good night to all as we end another chapter of our lives in the west.

Back to the Great White North!!!!!
I just had to do this!

Paju Mountain, Red Rock

Mike (Epic Adventures) & Bob

Paju Mountain, Red Rock with friends