Archive for December 2004

the first snowshoe trip

The first trip of the season is always fantastic (last year) and 60 cm of new snow over Christmas day didn’t hurt either. We went up to Grouse Mountain with Jason, arriving right when the mountain opened and running around like little kids for the next few hours.

We have the pictures of Jason falling, but he has all the ones of us looking like idiots. I have a sinking feeling that there might be a pic of me waving my arms in the air like a lunatic (it’s for balance, really, I promise it is!) as I tumbled down the hill.

How much better than playing in snowdrifts and sliding down hills can life get? I’d love to go back up tomorrow morning, but I suspect we’ll all be limping around, we covered about 600-800 m of elevation gain today and none of us are used to the exercise. Maybe by Tuesday though…

p.s. Cory did the turkey last night and it was fabulous. I made the side dishes and port wine gravy and Tim brought pie. Relaxed, we then proceeded to stuff ourselves with three meals worth of food in one sitting. There’s a reason we had to go get exercise this morning…

(27.12.04, 9am update: we just heard the news, and realize how lucky we are.)
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joy to the earth!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays. May your holidays be full of love as well as presents! We’re planning to spend time together; watching It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve, finally finishing our Christmas cards, and planning our adventures for the coming year. 2004 has been a tough year, but if I’ve gained anything, it’s the realization that love and family are stronger than whatever life can throw at us. Since Christmas is all about love and hope leading to joy …
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every mountain and hill made low

Christmas season tradition, a dinner with friends goes too late and we’re exhausted at work the next day, even though most people are already off for the season. I’m working, mainly because I said I would, rather than because there’s tons to do at the moment. The melt paper is in the hands of my coauthors, and other smaller projects require input from others, input not likely three days before Christmas.

Because this is our second Christmas just the two of us and the first was the disaster known as “Christmas in an expensive & overly hot hotel with rich stuck up horribly dull people[1]”, this is the first Christmas that I’ll be cooking a turkey. We actually had to order the turkey in advance from the butcher (or walk the eight blocks to the grocery store), and I’m actually a bit excited to see if I can pull off a full traditional meal on my own. Minus turnips. Apparently no one other than me actually likes them.

[1] the one that convinced us we don’t want to holiday like the rich but had no choice that time because all the friendly B&Bs were closed for the holidays

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that glorious song of old

Old Aberdeen, the district around the university, is a fabulous old city now swallowed up by Aberdeen itself. We walked through the tiny cobbled streets and looked up narrow alleys and couldn’t help but think “wow, it’d be lovely to live here”. Then a bus went by, and the noise on the cobbles made us rethink that statement.

Aberdeen was a suprisingly beautiful city. Everyone fusses about Edinburgh (okay, for good reason) and Glasgow is the big center, but Aberdeen, off to the North-East doesn’t seem to have suffered too much from overdevelopment and is full of quiet streets and suprising architecture. We had a great time just walking around and enjoying the city.

Christmas preparations around here are almost done, we ordered a turkey yesterday and presents are 95% bought and ready to go. (I still need a few stocking stuffers for Cory and I’m still piecing together the quilt top for my grandfather, but then I never expected that one to be finished on time). The weather here isn’t exactly helping us get into the season though (and we’re not complaining). We went on a bike ride yesterday in glorious sunshine and it felt like May.
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all is calm

Sometimes pictures lie. This gorgeous scene was accompanied by the background noise of the local RAF base, making us laugh at the complete opposites fed to our eyes and ears.

Being back at home is calming though, we wake up at 4 am every morning and have a quiet coffee curled up on the couch, enjoying the fact that everyone else is still sleeping. At 4:30 this morning I was sitting at the sewing machine working on a quilt and I felt like I was in heaven. It’s hard travelling to Europe, because mornings are so painful, but it’s lovely coming back the other way. I’m tempted to try to stay on this schedule indefinately, although Cory’s got a late volleyball game on Friday night which will undoubtably force us back into regular hours.
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while shepherds watched their flocks

Although a one week is simply not long enough to overcome the jet lag between Vancouver and Scotland, we had a fabulous vacation. Everywhere we went the colours of the earth and sky were as fabulous, the low angle of the northern sun making everything more beautiful than it could otherwise be.

We went for a hike just south of where this picture was taken, although hike is an ambitious word for the leisurely stroll along a valley floor where we spent more time marvelling at what we saw than actually moving. This trip was definately blessed with good weather.

We spent three days in Aberdeen, then three in Elgin, Craigellachie, and Ballater, before flying to Amsterdam for a whirlwind one night trip. It was here that we lucked out, as the fabulous Lynn not only found us a lovely hotel room but took us out for drinks where we laughed and chatted and felt inspired by her stories.

There is a lot of inspiration going on here in our lives right now too. We’re planning to make 2005 a year of adventure and experience. It seems like it’s time. More details will come in the new year.
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’twas in the moon of wintertime

We’re off to Scotland for a week, just up the road from this lovely place, and once again it’s the month of December. See you after the 12th!
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