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Archive for August, 2010

Birthday at the baseball game. What could be better?

So, I turned 35 on Friday. I feel okay about it, although it is a rather strange thought to know that I am technically not young anymore. You just think you’re always going to be young, you know?

As you can see, I celebrated by inviting my nearest and dearest to one of my favourite summer pastimes – a good ol’ fashioned baseball game at the beautiful Nat Bailey stadium. It was such good times – good friends, good cider, good French fries, many hands to hold little Keaton. It was a spectacular game, too – triple play, huge home run and other excitement. Our team (Vancouver Canadians – where not a single actual Canadian plays!) won 11 – 4. This was especially exciting because quite often they get totally creamed. But not on Friday night. They totally pulled out all the stops, especially for my birthday.

After this exhilarating game we went back to my and Joshua’s place for birthday cake, so kindly supplied by my mum. Black Forest, my favourite! And then there were gifts – such thoughtful, sweet gifts: Lush stuff from my sisters; a glass owl wine stopper; jewelry; a new CD by the band Mumford & Sons (I was a little taken aback – wow, people still buy CDs?); wine journals; glass ladybug straws (glass straws – how decadent!); Alicia Paulson’s Embroidery Companion, soon to come in the mail from Heather (soooo excited!), and more fun stuff. On Sunday my dad and stepmum came for a visit, and then the dreamy, exhilarating fun of the birthday weekend was over.

This morning, or maybe it started setting in last night, a wave of melancholy washed over me. I guess it’s also the end-of-summer melancholy that affects many, but for me it’s always been wrapped up with my birthday, too. Having my birthday fall in late August, as it does, is always a herald of change and transition for me. (It also means that people are always away, and as a kid, my mum would let me wait to have my birthday parties in September. Thanks, Mum!) Knowing that my birthday is coming up always meant that those blissful, carefree days of summer were ending, and soon a new school year would start. The birthday itself I like(d), but the time of year not so much. Bittersweet, I guess you’d call it. I usually loved school; that wasn’t really the issue. I think it all comes down to the fact that I’ve always had a hard time with change. Transition. Anything involving things no longer being as they were, I have a tough time with. I’ve gotten a bit better with it over the years, but not much. I’m a sentimental, nostalgic sap, that’s why!

Case in point: In Grade 1 I had a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad teacher named Mrs. Downs. She was mean, and dastardly, and cruel. She had Desk Cleaning-Out Days, where she would dump over all the desks that she deemed untidy. Once she even dumped over a desk with a kid still sitting in it. (They were those old fashioned metal ones with the desk part and the chair part attached.) She yelled and swore on a daily basis. She made fun of me for having a pencil box that was actually a shoebox wrapped in wrapping paper (my mum did it, so beautifully), and not a store-bought one like the other kids. So you may get the picture – she was a total biotch. But when the school year ended, despite the fact that I has hated Mrs. Downs the entire school year, I cried myself to sleep for several nights because I would miss Mrs. Downs. I don’t think it was that horrible teacher I was going to miss, it was the change part of the whole thing.

But getting back to the birthdays and transitions thing. That’s happening again with this birthday, and this time of year. Unlike the Mrs. Downs thing, however, this is a good change. But it’s still hard, and I still have that sense of melancholy at the change of pace. My year of maternity leave has ended, and now it’s time for a major transition – getting into the swing of things with a brand new job and getting Keaton used to his new babysitter (while I’m teaching). I feel excited though, to start this whole new career as a university instructor. It’ll be interesting to see where it takes me.

And, before we know it, my little man will turn 1, on September 3rd. It’s been an amazing year, Mr. Keats.

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A slightly goofy photo of me and my sisters on my wedding day – there’s moi in the middle, with Chay (left) and my other sister, Tara (right). (Another very inspiring peep who will be getting her very own “Inspiring Peeps” post very soon!)

Chay is my youngest sister (we’re a family of three girls – I’m the oldest). And what a fabulous sister she is. In carefully chosen adjectives, Chay is hilarious, smart, witty, talented, creative, adventurous, engaging, charming, loyal, sweet, sassy, kind, generous and so much fun to be around. Oh, and did I mention that she’s absolutely drop-dead, radiantly gorgeous? Yes indeed, she certainly is.

Hanging out with Chay often gives me that wonderfully exhilarated feeling, like on the first day of a camping trip, when you’re in the car with your fresh, steaming Tim Horton’s coffees and some Sublime or Cake playing on the car stereo.

Hanging out with Chay can also involve deep, soulful chats about life, the universe and everything. She’s an incredibly good listener, with lots of great ideas – I’ve called her many a time with a problem, and she always responds in a respectful, insightful way. Chay is an amazing friend indeed.

I think I have laughed my head off with Chay more than with any other person in the world. (The exception being Tara – actually, we’ve all done an awful lot of laughing our heads off together!) These laughing fits usually come from ridiculous inside jokes, of course – what else would it be with sisters involved?

Chay has a fabulous sense of style and a wonderfully attuned aesthetic. She could easily be an interior designer or personal stylist. And she makes the most amazing cakes. She made the cake for my wedding, and Tara’s wedding, and check out this awesome hamster cake she made for my birthday a few years back! (As anyone who knows me well is aware, I have a serious love of hamsters. I’ve been the mama to dozens of beloved little hammies in my life – mainly as a kid.) She’s got plans in the works to become a pastry chef – how cool is that?!

In addition to being brilliant in many other ways, Chay has a great physical intelligence. As someone who’s generally uncoordinated and pretty klutzy, this is something I’ve always admired about Chay. She bikes, she hikes, she runs, she can do it all and she’s like a beautiful gazelle.

Chay has an amazing gift with animals. As a little girl she championed the rights of snails and made little Kleenex beds for ailing leatherjackets, and since then she has befriended rats, volunteered with animal shelters, owned and loved several horses, and has been a loving mum to her crazy little Jack Russell, Georgia, for nine years. (Georgie, you’re nutty and we love you.)

Chay is a seriously wonderful auntie. Since Keaton came into our lives almost a year ago (!), she’s made us dinners, babysat, and helped us out in so many ways. Keaton loves her and she loves him. She may not want to admit it, but she’s a natural with babies. (You are so, Chay!)

So yeah, what I’m basically saying is that Chay totally rules. I’ve often said that Chay is the light of my life, and it’s true. You are my joy, Chay. Love you, my sis!

And I mentioned she’s really fun to party with, right? (Halloween shot – awesome!)

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Back from Yonder

You gotta do what you gotta do to keep your young one comfy during long car rides (i.e. new use for Mama’s underwear!)

Back from a whirlwind trip visting three sets of Keaton’s grandparents, in Chilliwack, Vernon and Nelson. Keaton had the time of his life, I do believe. He was a real rough & tumble Kootenay kid during our time in Nelson, where he got dirty, and bug bitten, and romped in the grass, and played with battery-operated plastic toys with many buttons, so that now he thinks everything should have a button that makes it do something exciting. Much fun was had by the grown-ups, too – copious amounts of Settlers of Catan playing, wine-drinking, delicious food-eating, lake swimming, and hanging out.

Ahhhhhhhhh. Gotta love a good vacation.

And now it’s time to pull up my boot straps and hit the books, ’cause in three weeks I’ll be teaching a classroom full of first years how to use computer applications in arts and entertainment workplaces. As Strong Bad would say, “Holy, holy, holy, holy, holy. Crap.”

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