CLIMB EVERY (snow-covered) MOUNTAIN….

1 (1)My bloggy friend, Clare, over at Goat & Kids recently relocated to Edmonton, Canada from the UK. She was going through her relocation about the same time we were going through ours – both of us going from places that have winters to PLACES THAT HAVE WINTERS! It’s actually been quite funny how many experiences we’ve had that have mirrored the other’s and I know I’ve been grateful for her posts just to know I’m not alone in some of the things we’re going through right now in trying to adapt.

Clare’s family seemed to be a bit more up for the whole idea of upending their life than we were. Recently, her family actually created a bucket list of all things Canadian they want to do in the time they’ll be living in Edmonton. One of the things on their bucket list is learning to ski. As soon as I saw that, I knew we’d again be having a parallel experience because one of the things my son has signed on for this year is the SKI TEAM.

Our family has done an annual ski trip since our youngest son was small…

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First ski lesson….how sweet is this?

He’s no stranger to skiing but he’s not an accomplished skier by any means. But when we moved here and he heard ‘SKI TEAM’ he signed right up. Being the overprotective, annoying, loving mother that I am…I was absolutely aghast a bit nervous about having my unexperienced ‘skier’ hop on a bus after school with the rest of the team, spending 6-7 hours once a week at a ski resort on his own without me nearby. Not that I wanted to follow him around, mind you (okay, I’m lying).  I only wanted to be there to scope things out and of course be there just in case. So I voiced these concerns to the chaperone that handles the ski team outings and he invited husband and I to be chaperones with him.  This was actually great.  In addition to supposedly keeping an eye on my boy (which, by the way, turned out to be impossible anyway) it also allows us to become a bit more involved in our new area and meet some new people. So now, we all ride the ski bus to the resort each week.

The nice thing about being chaperones is that you ski for free. My husband has been enjoying that perk immensely. Me, on the other hand, even when we went on our annual ski trips, I didn’t ski. I’ve always opted out knowing I’d need a lot more than one weekend a year before I could get myself to the point of being able to hold my own out there on the slopes after two kids and the toll they took on my body. So, I sat on the sidelines and enjoyed taking photographs and joined in during the evening swims or snow tubing once the day’s skiing was done. Hence, on these weekly outings now, (at my ripe old age of 47 and even less agile than when we used to go on our annual jaunts) I’ve been basically prowling the grounds taking photos for the hour I have before the sun goes down and then sitting in the lodge reading my Nook and waiting to catch a glimpse of either of my men to reassure my mind.

But you knew it had to happen. Surrounded by beautiful scenery like this….

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And sitting for 6 hours in a ski lodge full of dozens of busloads of obnoxious excited school kids on a weekend night can only be done for so long before you figure out that injury and age be darned…..you’re a lot better off outside than in! 

It actually looks quite empty and calm in this shot, but trust me, it’s actually a teenage madhouse – VERY noisy, VERY chaotic, and VERY COLD!

And so…..I put on the boots, I put on the skis, and out I went!

I even sort of took my first selfie!

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Yes, jeans. I wasn’t exactly prepared with ski gear….it was an impromptu happening…..Luckily, it was not a freezing cold day that day!

And a selfie with my best friend! (Husband who stood at the bottom of the monstrous slight grade and caught me when I actually went down something of a teeny, tiny slope!)

Married with skis!

I never made it out of the beginning area where it’s almost totally flat and they give people lessons. I’ve not even made a complete stop on my own yet, but I am getting something back in the way of turning, I can get back up a slight grade without help while wearing skis, and I am able to slow down to, if not a stop, at least to the I’M-NOT-GOING-TO-DIE-BY-HITTING-A-TREE point.

So Clare, I wanted to say you’re behind now but I know you’re still laid up with that broken wrist from your own recapturing-youth experience, so perhaps by the time you get to your ski lessons I’ll be able to say I’m able to stop by myself or even just getting anywhere at all. But don’t worry that I’ll be too far ahead…… there’s always the issue of ski lifts (since I’m deathly afraid of heights)!

Credit to Google Image Search

Credit to Google Image Search

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AN HONOUR FROM ILLUSTRATED MOMENT!

illustrated moment award

Well, even though I’ve gone “award free” it seems I’m the recipient of such a nice honour I’m unable to refuse. Many thanks to Illustrated Moment for presenting me with the first-ever Illustrated Moment Award. If you haven’t checked out this blog, you absolutely must! Its author is so full of talent you won’t even believe it.  Illustrated Moment covers subjects of all kinds and the accompanying illustrations are always perky and lots of fun!  Here’s one of my favourites on 10 steps to becoming an awesome writer!

Lately, the blog author has begun a second blog titledIllustrated Healthand has been focusing on a much more reasonable…indeed enjoyable, approach in educating people about various health conditions. Sounds dead boring, doesn’t it? And truly, when the first video was posted, I saw it and cringed thinking, “OMG, I really don’t want to watch a video about health issues.” But ever the dutiful follower….I clicked on it anyway. Thought I’d watch just enough to leave a clever comment and be done with it. But I was totally sucked right in! Immediately, I had an interest in a health issue and even came to understand how conditions like this happen!

So impressed was I that I even encouraged Illustrated Moment to get these videos into real production and make some major bucks with it. But no…..Illustrated Moment wasn’t interested. Illustrated Moment apparently chooses to educate others with no ulterior motive! Amazing. Anyway, if you haven’t already, you really do need to check out this unique and informative blog!

Along with this award comes 5 questions, of course. I’ll do my best.

1. Why did you first start blogging?
This is covered in my About Page, but basically I never heard of blogging until I was encouraged by my writing group to set up a blog. I was actually astounded to find all you wonderful people on here in this world I had no idea of!

2. Which post did you have most fun writing?
Post I had the most fun with definitely has to be The Shepherd and the Assassin. It wasn’t much fun to live, but actually writing it out to share on here was quite amusing.

3. Everyone has a favourite memory – which ONE word would you choose to describe your favourite lifetime moment?
Really? Everyone has a favourite memory? I don’t know that I can say that I have a favourite memory….There are so many good memories in my mind. But in thinking of them collectively, I think the one descriptor that holds through all of them has to be laughter. My best memories are all of my best people and remembering shared joys along the way.

4. Do you have a blogger in mind to nominate for The Illustrated Moment Award?  introduce them to us!
It seems the Illustrated Moment Award is awarded to “those among us who brighten the blogosphere by making the effort to build a supportive and wonderful community.” How nice to be appreciated! And yes, I definitely have a few people that actually read my blog and make wonderful comments because they want to and not because I read one of their posts (another amazing thought!). It is with my great pleasure that I introduce to this award, Marissa Bergen over at Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth. Marissa has been my #1 commenter since I’ve come to WP and she most definitely fulfills the requirements of creating a supportive blogosphere.   Always, she is one person I can count on to give me feedback on a post (and generally, it’s very positive feedback which I consider a lot from someone with creativity like hers). Her blog is definitely a highlight in anyone’s day. Marissa doesn’t jump on board with these awards and chain posts like I have in the past, so I’m not even asking her to answer any questions. But I do just want to recognize her as the awesome member of WP that she is!

5. What’s your spirit animal?
Okay, I’m going to admit now that I had never heard of a “spirit animal” before this question. However, after a quick Google search and an even quicker online test, I can now report that my spirit animal is a deer. I was a little put off by this at first I can tell you. I had hoped to have something really cool like a tiger or even a cute bear or something, but in reading the description of the deer totem, I have to say I can see traits in me that match this. I don’t know that I agree with the whole idea of this spirit animal thing (based on the fact that mine is a deer), but certainly some areas are there.

Traits of the deer totem include: Gentleness, ability to move through life and obstacles with grace, being in touch with inner child, innocence, being sensitive and intuitive, vigilance, ability to change directions quickly, magical ability to regenerate and being in touch with life’s mysteries.

Gentleness? Not generally a word I would associate with me. I do have the capacity to be gentle and certainly there are times I am gentle, but my gentleness is not the most obvious of my traits.

Moving through life/obstacles with grace? Um, again, not so much. At this point, it’s more of a lumbering gait.

Being in touch with the inner child? Now this one is a definite! This is me. I definitely prefer my small side to being the adult all the time. I’m very approachable to children and enjoy their company immensely probably because I still approach things myself with such a childlike innocence. I’m shocked to the core when I see horrible things in the news and I mostly enjoy movies that have a happy ending without a lot of tension.

Innocence? Definitely. My husband is still surprised by this. Oh, I try to be cagey and suspicious, but really, I don’t generally look for motives in other people and I’m shocked when I find out things aren’t as they seem sometimes.

Being sensitive and intuitive? Again, spot on. Definitely sensitive and easily hurt and I’ve had quite a few experiences that go well beyond intuitive. So yes, this one is true for me.

Vigilance? Yes. If I need to be aware of something (and being a control-freak I always need to be aware of what’s going on) then I’m on top of it 24/7. No question on this one.

Ability to change direction quickly? Yep, it’s definitely there. Though I do absolutely abhor change, if need be, I can be quick-changing to get done what needs done.

Magical ability to regenerate? Um, not sure if this means limbs or not, in which case I would have to say no. But if we’re talking emotional stuff, then it’s there. I’m not quick to heal after a hurt, but I do somehow find a way to keep on going…….

Being in touch with life’s mysteries? I don’t know about “in touch” with them, but I’m always pondering life’s mysteries and trying to make sense of them. I am very open to new ideas and love discussing things we don’t yet understand. So yes, this one I guess holds true too.

So there you go….award questions answered and my thanks again to Illustrated Moment for the recognition but indeed the honour has been all mine!

HAPPY PLACES

9Chelsi over at catching crawfish “prompted” me with the HAPPY PLACES exchange. Chelsi has an amazing blog filled with lots of fun and chaos. She chronicles life with her husband and three little crawfish (a.k.a. sons) as she tries to keep traditional family values at the core in a very modern world as the only female in the house! One of her posts talked about starting her own family traditions, another post (which really shouldn’t be missed) was her Grinchy-Mom’s Week Before Christmas, and the post that “prompted” me on board to this “tour” talked about her own HAPPY PLACES.

My HAPPY PLACES aren’t usually concrete places, but more abstract “places” in my mind where I take comfort and find joy.

PROGRESS. Seeing progress in my world is the thing that really spurs me on. Having a new house right now and painting everything in sight, the daily progress is easy to chart. But progress comes in many forms….one of my HAPPY PLACEs would be the times my husband and I look back over the past 30 years at the path we’ve traveled and seeing how far we’ve come.

Another “progress” HAPPY PLACE would be when I can see my sons’ growth as human beings. It’s been an amazing journey from the babies they were to the young men they are now. Seeing my older son falling in love was definitely a HAPPY PLACE and was all the happier after the wedding when I got a “free” daughter out of the deal….no weight gain, no morning sickness – yep, that’s definitely a great way to get a new “kid”!

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Seeing my now teenage son in the midst of puberty and taking pride in his developing muscles, his clothes, and his world is definitely becoming more and more of a HAPPY PLACE for me.

1 (4)1HELPING OTHER PEOPLE. One of my greatest joys and a truly HAPPY PLACE in my mind is one I actually have a skill or knowledge to contribute to someone else for their own journey. It’s always a lift to feel needed.

NATURE. New HAPPY PLACEs in my new world here include the times when I can just stand on the beach and take in the magnificence of a sunset.7

And currently, as winter has arrived, I’m enjoying just standing outside and experiencing the quietness of snow falling. 56Both of these remind me of how small I am in the scope of things and also remind me how simple life’s pleasures can actually be.

PHOTOS. Just snapping a pic that captures a mood or a moment. This fills me with a sense of accomplishment and is most definitely a HAPPY PLACE.5 (2)5 (1)

WRITING. Generally, this blog of mine is a very HAPPY PLACE for me. I haven’t had much time of late to be on here doing my own writing, but it has been missed. There is something almost therapeutic about writing down my stories. However, even just keeping up with everyone else’s posts and the interactions that come from that makes here one of my very best HAPPY PLACES.

I do have a couple “concrete” places that I consider HAPPY PLACES.

First would be simply HOME. Four letters that mean so much. I probably never knew just how much until I lived the last year of my life but for me home is a very important HAPPY PLACE. Home is the base that begins my family and where we bring everything to at the end of the day. It’s been a long, long road to get back to “home.”

And inside HOME, is this…4

My place to curl up with a good book. Definitely one of my happy places for a little ME time. What could be better?

Lastly….like probably everyone else in the world, the one place I’m always guaranteed to consider a HAPPY PLACE is Disney World. You can never go wrong with Disney World!5 (3)

Part of taking up this challenge/tour/experience, I guess, is to pass it on to see that it continues.   I actually do have a few people I’d love to hear from on this if they have the time and inclination to contribute!   I pass this tour onto Dorreen at Mother Hen Diaries, Juls over at the Indecisive Eejit, and our Gluestick Mum.   If any of these people have time to participate, I think we’re all in for a treat!

The Arrival of GODZILLA

The boy that I married only had eyes for me-
I really don’t know how this now could come to be.

I just never thought that this could happen –
I always thought I was his passion.

But now he is a man with a man’s cravings –
And perhaps he was sick of all my ravings.

After looking high and low, he began to conspire-
A young and attractive model did he desire.

To make you his own, there was no stone left unturned-
Eventually, it took us to a point of no return.

He took the time to learn all about you, each of your talents and prides-
And now recites them grandly to all – those near and far and wide.

Whereas I’ve gradually declined and let him take on more-
You’re there each day helping him wage war.

Filled with purrs and with hums that enticed him right away-
You’re so smart to show such zest for his tasks of the day.

Sleek curves and sharp looks-
Those quickly had him hooked.

Your insatiable appetite and never-changing waistline-
They beat me by far.

I’m afraid, looking back-
That I’ve gotten much too slack.

Each day I can see his affection has grown-
He even rented a truck just to bring you home.

He eagerly asked for pictures beside you-
A most willing partner in this new pas de deux.

And though I’m not so sure I’d relish it myself-
He calls you Godzilla, a name he chose himself.

I know you’re counting on winter to propel this affair-
And so far, I admit, it has done so with flair.

Not a complaint can I make when in mornings he runs to you first thing-
And of course loyally you greet him making his heart sing.

Home from work he comes and again to you he goes-
This happens each and every single time it snows.

A long winter this is supposed to be –
I sit here and wonder if he’ll ever come back to me.

However, I know in the thaw of spring-
To the shed you will go and new hope this will bring.

Perhaps then he’ll remember-
This whole marriage thing!

I was only going to post a picture, but in this case, I think this little video clip from his first night with “her” gives the full effect of the romance going on……wait for the enamoured smile toward the end.