Friday, June 3, 2011

Going Big

I have a birthday coming up on Sunday, and a rule about birthdays: never spend them alone at home. Especially birthdays that are divisible by 5, and even more so for the decade markers, which I may or may not be celebrating this year. :)

With hubby away in Afghanistan, there was only one option for this year: go big. Very big. This big.

Tallin, Estonia (82)

11 days on the ship in the Baltic Sea, with 7 ports of call, not including the embarkation in Copenhagen. This is a big of a life-long dream being fulfilled, as I am partially of Finnish ancestry, and that area of the world has always fascinated me. Icing on the cake: meeting some of my Finnish relatives in Helsinki on the 12th.

Or is the icing on the cake the fact that the girlfriend I'm travelling with got us upgraded to Executive First class on the Toronto-Copenhagen flight? Champagne and beds on a plane... now *that's* travelling.

Somehow, with all this excitement, 40 doesn't seem so bad. Who can be depressed about another decade when one's in Oslo, Norway? Not me! :)

Follow me here on the ship's bridge-cam, and I'll try to post when I have time.

Monday, May 23, 2011

May Two-Four

Mummy Linda came for a visit from Lacombe, Alberta. There was frolicking with kitties...

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There was a spa day at Le Nordik...

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There was a wonderful overnight jaunt to the Wakefield Inn...

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More glorious food than you could shake a stick at...

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And gardening. Finally.

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There were also giggles with friends, visits with stepchildren and so much more. It was a wonderful visit and I miss you already, mummy.

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Sunday, May 8, 2011


The harsh winter did my garden no favours. Half of my perennials won't be coming back, both floral and herbal. Even the mint died, and that stuff is more tenacious than many a weed. About 20% of my garlic was winter-killed, soft and rotting in the ground, and another 20% of the bulbs were thrown out of the soil by frost-heaves, despite my careful mulching in the fall.

Spring Garlic

Between that, the f^*%@ing miserable "spring" weather, my discovery of Bryson Farm's lovely organic, heritage veggies delivered right to my door, and the outdoor water ban imposed on my community until August (!)... my gardening craving is just simply non-existent. Two weeks until the last frost date, and I have no seeds started and no plans.

Spring Poppies
The few wild-sewn poppies in my front garden are about a week away from blooming... if you go back to last year, they were at this point in early April. The season is almost a full month off last year (which, admittedly, was early.)

I know that come summer and warm weather I may regret this decision but I can only think of three things I want to plant this year aside from my poor garlic: rosemary, more mint (may it rest in peace), and basil. Oh, and maybe cherry tomatoes. Hey, maybe some sugar-snap peas, too...

Kinda sounds like I do have plans for the garden after all, doesn't it?

Sunday, April 10, 2011


When I was in high school, I was a part of a very close and vibrant church family. My mum required me to go to church but she didn't specify which one, so I chose one where several of my high-school friends were members. I found a wonderful family there; I felt valued and included, rare commodities for a teen-aged girl. That church and its youth group formed a safety net for me and became the whole of my social life.

I moved away from that sleepy city after graduation from high school, moved away from Christianity a few years later, and more recently moved away from organized religion altogether. I have too many issues with specific theological points to swallow the pretty fairy-tales, not to mention the rampant hubris and blatant arrogance of religions when they invariably make the claim that they are the ONLY one way to God, and everyone else is wrong. Only frail, weak, stupid humans could make up a story like that.

I don't miss my faith. I am fine with the framework of beliefs I have created through the destructive process of testing every belief and tearing it down if it did not hold weight. I am left with a rather minimalist view of God, and He and I are okay with that.

What I do miss, though, is the sense of belonging that comes with attending a church. A community of people who all hold the same beliefs is a powerful force, and I have effectively painted myself out of that warm glow. I have a neighbor across the street who is quite active in the JW community, and every Saturday when nicely-dressed people pull up in their cars and come into his house for post-church coffee and fellowship, I am envious and lonely for that type of interaction.

My mum feels this, too. She, like me, is post-religion yet longing for community. We discussed going to church anyhow, but in order to be truly accepted into a church family, they need to get to know us... and our lack of belief would eventually betray us.

In an era where families are geographically peppered throughout the globe, organized religion has failed so many of us, and technology seems to isolate us even further, where does one turn to find a sense of community?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Crisis of Self

I met someone a few days ago who challenged my sense of satisfaction with my accomplishments. At roughly my age, this person has obtained a doctorate in a challenging field, published papers, taught at a university, and is an active and acknowledged contributor in a related field. When, I wonder, do they sleep?

Up until I read their bio, I felt pretty good about myself with my service to country, honours in college and shiny new career. For a short time after, though, I felt that it was a pretty pitiful pile of accomplishments. Their acts are writ large on the stage of the world, and mine are far more humble. I yearned for the kind of greatness I saw in the deeds of this person.

This little crisis of self lasted a whole day or two until I realized that although my doings were far less public and attributable, they were no less important; by participating in peacekeeping missions, I have in a small way contributed to the stability of the world in general. By serving my country, Queen and government, I have protected and defended Canada's interests in a rather direct way.

We have both made our contributions to the world, and neither is less valid than the other. Having realized this, though, I also came to the realization that academic success is still something I crave; college is by no means the end of my scholastic journey.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Welcome Back to the Real World

When I told my husband I intended to take three months off after graduation, he looked at me incredulously and asked what on earth I would do with myself for all that time. I listed it all off: the quilting, knitting, cross-stitch, the books I wanted to read, the games I wanted to play, the yoga classes I wanted to attend, the weight-lifting routine I intended to take up. There was no lack of things to fill my time with, and I was looking forward to building the life I wanted to.

Now, three months later, having had that precious gift of unstructured time, I've learned some things about myself. It was surprising for me to learn that without any sort of structure, I am not half as efficient as I usually am. I didn't get half as much done as I thought I would (but I sure did a lot of gaming...) Apparently, I just do better with deadlines.

Another thing that surprised me was my thirst for the company of others. I've never considered myself a terribly social creature but without work or school colleagues I found myself looking forward to having to go to the grocery store, just for the simple human contact.

I'm not saying I didn't enjoy my time off, 'cause I totally did, but it was a revelation. I look forward to starting my new job tomorrow, to having a reason to get up in the morning, to meeting new colleagues and perhaps new friends, to learning a new trade, and to rejoining the real world, already in progress.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Five Months Later...?

It's been months since I last posted. The fourth and last semester of school ate me alive, but in a good way, I think. In the New Year, after the last exams and graduation, my husband and I ran away to the Adriatic (Croatia and Montenegro) for three weeks, taking a much needed time-out from the work/school/family stresses that had accumulated over the last couple of years. Now we're back and I am enjoying a brief hiatus; I begin my new career in mid-March and am being determinedly unemployed for the duration. Time enough to read, knit, quilt, sew, sleep, game and remember the pleasures aside from writing just the right piece of code.

I've fallen out of the habit of seeing everything in third person, perfectly formatted for sharing in this venue. Whether this habit will return as my new life coalesces around me remains to be seen. I miss you, my global sounding board, strangers and friends alike; I trust our dance is not yet done.