Sunday, December 30, 2018

One Post in December? A new record.

The other day Clint asked if I had a particular photo handy; could I message it to him? Hmmm. I knew which pic he was referring to, but had no idea which hard drive I would've saved it on. However, I did remember posting it to this blog, for his birthday a few years ago.  So how hard could it be to go through All the April entries for the past 13 years?

For the record, it wasn't hard at all. In fact it was enjoyable activity; a lovely walk down Memory Lane. I have had a busy life, full of changes and challenges and children. (And church. And choices. And chastity. Haha. Chuckles. SO many Ch words.)

Also? Some months? In the past? I'd post a blog entry up to 50 times IN ONE MONTH. So much to say? So much time to say it? Not as many friends to talk to? No other social media options? I didn't sit/work in front of a computer for 8 hours a day? Life was more interesting back then? Combination of all of the above?

Which brings me to today. My first (and likely only) blog post for December 2018. Which is a little bit sad, because, truth be told, I do love going back and reading through the archives. I need to make more of an effort in 2019.

Haha. More of an effort in not just blogging. As this year rolls to a close, there are SO many things I know I need to try harder at. Oy. Looking forward to the day when I can just coast through life.

So. I ended my last blog entry mentioning that I was waiting for the results of my blood and boob tests; hoping for "A's". Well. THAT didn't happen. I failed both, miserably. So, a few changes needed to be made, immediately. More of this. Less of that. And more waiting. A new batch of tests are scheduled for the Spring. I'm doing what I can, and the rest is in God's hands.

While I was processing that ^, I spent the weekend with Chris and Stacey as they got married. It was a surprise wedding, to take place on Sat Dec 1 at 7 pm. Friends were invited to drop in and take part in The Great Christmas House Lighting. (Chris is a Christmas Guy, and his house is the one with 250,000 mini-lights and a dozen inflatables in the front yard.) 

When guests arrived, it was "Surprise! We're getting married!" Fun, right?

Yes, fun for everyone. Except maybe the photographer (me) who was commissioned to take photos in the dark with only twinkle lights to illuminate the event. Biggest photographic challenge to date.

I went over on Friday night to see what the layout was going to be like, and to take a few rehearsal pics:

There was a tent in the driveway, connected to the garage. ^
The garage walls were hidden behind a faux wall of pallets, burlap and cedar boughs and set up for the rehearsal turkey dinner.

And the tent, was, well a tent. With plastic walls.

Bride and her mom:

Bride and her love:

MOB and MOH:

Practicing walking down the aisle:

Bride, groom and officiant, practicing:

When they all sat down to dinner, I left.
Maxine had invited me over for eats with her and Brian. Then her and I did some Christmas shopping, where we both bought absolutely nothing. But talked about absolutely everything.
And then she prayed for me, in my truck on her driveway, and I got all choked up. Oy. Tears come so easy this time of year, especially when I'm the recipient of kindness and compassion.

Saturday was the Wedding Day and I was going to head over early. I had zero confidence that I'd be able to capture any decent wedding pics (lack of light, abundance of people blocking my view) so my hope was to capture some kick-ass before pics... and maybe a few poignant after shots.

I stopped in at the 7-11 at the corner of 272 and Fraser Hwy in Aldergrove to get batteries for my flash. (Coincidentally, Dec 1 was also Community Day for Pokemon Go players, so I was keeping an eye on my phone as I made my way back to my truck.) Yes, I tripped/fell in slow motion off the curb and crashed to the pavement, smashing my knees first, then my wrists, ending the spectacular event by banging my head on the car parked next to my truck. I lay there, between the vehicles, facedown in the parking lot, in my fancy wedding-going finery, positive I'd broken both knee caps, convinced I'd never walk again.

Pep-talking myself to turn over, I ended up in the sitting position with my legs straight out in front of me, my knees on fire. FIRE. I was nauseous. And wondered how I was ever going to take photos with broken knees. (The owner of the car came by at this moment and gave me a dirty look. I guess I looked like I was sitting off a corker of a weekend. At 2 pm. On a Saturday.) I pulled myself into my truck and prayed. "Ok, God. PLEASE let this little spill not be me ushering arthritis into my body. Please protect and heal my knees. Please help me with this afternoon's project. Please help me look after myself better. Please take over my photography this afternoon and help me capture good memories for Chris and Stacey. Amen and amen and amen.

And then I hobbled around the wedding and took a thousand pics of beautiful, happy people.

I woke up the next morning feeling like I'd been hit by a Mac truck. But it was SUNNY. And I had PLANS. So I took some Advil and went for a walk along the river with Heather.

Catching Pokemon. And catching up.

When I think of things I can do to 'fill up my tank' when I need to refuel for the upcoming busy season, THIS is at the top of my list. Walking, in the sun, with a friend, talking about life stuff, catching friendly, imaginary creatures (Pokemon = pocket monster).

My knees felt like they were stuffed with cotton batting and my body was achy on Monday morning, but I was surprised it wasn't worse. I hit the ground hard, yo.

After work, Terry and I took our cameras for a walk. Around Lafarge lake. (Admittedly, it does look more magical with snow on the ground, but all things considered, it was still a real pretty walk.)

So pretty, we walked around twice.

Then went to the local Chapters.
Where I let the friendly knowledgeable clerk sell me her favorite book:

I love nights like this. Photo walks and book shops. Kinda perfect.

The next night, after work, Andrea and I drove into Vancouver, to look at/take pictures of/be amazed by The Big Christmas Tree at Robson Square. (My expectations were up there with The New York Tree in Rockefeller Centre.)

Not even. It was just a cone-shaped frame with mini lights. No love on this tree. Kinda underwhelming. So we took our obligatory photos and then I said, "Now what?" SHE? The Queen of Good Ideas, especially when it comes to Christmas activities, had a plan. And it was a good one.

Armed with a list and a reliable GPS, we wandered through hotel lobbies, looking at trees and gingerbread houses and various seasonal displays. Ahhhh. So awesome.

Know what?
Vancouver is a very pretty city.

This tree? Was covered in baubles. And it looked amazing. Like love had decorated it.

I love creativity so hard.
From how a tree is decorated to how gingerbread is iced. So grateful for evenings like this, where there is just so much evidence of people who have, use and share their artistic skills so generously.

The next night? It was STILL clear. So, I dragged an unsuspecting Kim on a walk around False Creek, not following my usual route. Which resulted in us being, first under, then on the wrong side of the Cambie Street bridge. So glad she was up for the adventure.

You can't tell from this photo, but this was my most exciting moment of the week. They were filming a movie under the bridge. We walked RIGHT THROUGH THE ACTION. It was cool and amazing and if I hadn't gotten us lost, I would've parked myself right there until the evening's shoot was wrapped.

It is not lost on me on how lucky we are to live in/near a city, where it's (relatively) safe to walk around after dark with a friend.

It was STILL beautiful (not raining) on Thursday night, but I'd made a commitment to attend a 10 week Bible study so I (begrudgingly) spent the evening in a classroom at a local church. My attitude definitely needed an adjustment. I've been so used to unlimited freedom with my non-working hours, that I found myself resentful that I couldn't just spend the evening walking around enjoying the last of the good weather. What am I? A spoilt ten year old?

In the end, it was a great evening. It was our final wrap up. The topic for the Study was Covenant and it really was fascinating. At some point when I get back into the habit of blogging deeper thoughts, I'll post some of the truths I learned. Despite my attitude, I hope to take another class of some sort in January.

Friday was my team's Christmas Lunch. I brought in pizza, decorated the boardroom with my (and my mom's) collection of Christmas trees and had a personalized sugar cookie for everyone.

These are the extra cookies. (Below) Susan made 36 of them for me. And for my team (and a few friends) she wrote their names across the red band at the top, then wrapped each individually in a cello bag. So delightful. Check our her instagram here.

After we finished lunch, I asked everyone to grab a tree and we used them to decorate our proofing table on the second floor:

And Friday evening?

Supper with Maureen at A & W, then a movie:

(... which I would recommend. ) And then, of course, conversation in my car, talks in my truck. 
Haha. This is why I don't blog. I get all my words out during evenings with my friends. Whatever is on my heart that particular day comes out of my mouth at some point during the evening. In the olden days, when I was a full time evening mom, I downloaded my brain onto my blog. 

And then the rains started. Like, all the rains happened. One month's worth of rain fell in 6 days. And then it just kept on raining. So not a single photo was taken. And my evenings went from spending time outside, to watching TV with friends at their houses, going out for dinner/coffee/shopping with friends, and spending time at the lake with friends. Seriously SO many hours inside. So many hours sitting. I would be such a different person if I lived in a warmer climate. My bum? Would be so tight and small. 

During these weeks I received a late night visit (midnight) from a policeman who served me with a subpoena to appear in court at the end of January. I am a little worried about this, and will be more worried as the date gets closer. Everything about that break-in at the lake is a hassle. 

And then, as if the rains weren't enough, we had The Windstorm of the Century. My beloved White Rock pier was damaged:

... and the power was out at work for TWO days (Thurs Dec 20 and Fri Dec 21) which was lovely but also a pain. Twas nice to have two afternoons off, unexpectedly just before Christmas. But, oh my goodness, we had SO MANY PROJECTS that needed attention before we broke for Christmas so this is going to make things challenging for me in the New Year. 

Before we closed up, I asked my team (those that were working) to each grab a tree and help me dismantle our magical winter wonderland:

... which I set up again at home. In my basement. The full extent of my decorating this year:

Clint's Christmas gift to my mom was to clean out her garage, so on Sat Dec 22 he took 2 loads to the dump and one to the recycling centre. I wasn't around to take photos, as I was at my 8th funeral of the year. The first seven were friends' parents. This one was a friend's cousin. He was only 44. Even tho the circumstances were tragic, the service was hope-filled and celebratory. And once again, I'm thinking about mine. My funeral. And what my kids will say about my life. What legacy am I leaving? Dear God, I really hope I'm not wasting my life. 

We (Clint and I) had dinner later that evening; and it was such a lovely way to kick-off Christmas. 
Good food. Good conversation. Love it that he's comfortable spending a couple hours with me. I know this is a gift. 

After days of planning and many, many texts and messages later, we picked a date that worked for the majority of us, so on Sun Dec 23, Mom, Julie, Daryl and I, and most of our kids, had dinner together. 

Thanks, Daryl and Jule, for hosting us. Love you. 

The next day? The 24th? Was my day with the kids. Felt like I won the Christmas Jackpot.
I met Drew and Dani at The Village for their 4 pm Christmas Eve service, then we had dinner...

Two hams, so there'd be leftovers. 
Synchronized ham slicing:

Then the Obros moved my dad's leather couch from the basement to my mom's TV room. An act of love x 3...

Then we opened our gifts to each other: 

We ended the night in my girl cave. Them playing Smash on Switch. And me sitting there, just so damn happy that this is my family. 


I made Christmas Day brunch for Clint, (who stayed over) Max and my mom, (who live here) and Jim (who dropped in)... then popped a bird in the oven before going for a walk. 

Supper was an intimate affair. 

(Psst. I carved the turkey. First. Time. Ever. 
I hope I don't have to do it again.)

(Drew and Dani were with her family. Max and Clint were with their dad.)

And at 10 pm, I met Clint and Max at Colossus to see Vice. 

Where have I been this decade? 


Clint stayed for night again, and the next day (Boxing Day) he and Max braved the crowds to buy a new TV for my mom. (He was aghast at her 12 year old TV. So, for her birthday, which is coming up, he suggested we all pitch in and get her a new one.)

He set it up for her, and (patiently) showed her how the remote works, how to access Netflix, the Woman's Network and Amazon Prime. She's all set now, for hibernating in front of the TV for the winter. :)

And with that? 
Christmas is over.

I was back at work the following day. 

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. My family
2. My faith
3. Christmas food


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