Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We are Here!!

So... we are in Bali, finally, with all our baggage (which was a feat) and happily waiting for a reasonable hour to admit defeat to the jet lag and go to sleep... it is good to be here, and judging from what this trip has had in store for us so far, this is going to be amazing!

Lets start at the beginning, flying to Vancouver. Our flight was scheduled on Dec 23rd and the day before that (my birthday just to remind you all!) many flights were canceled due to the weather. By sheer luck we got out on our scheduled flight and enjoyed Christmas with Derek's family. There was LOTS of food, presents and Christmas Spirit - and snow, SO much snow. They got more snow in the time we were there than they had ever gotten in recorded history in Vancouver... there was SO MUCH snow. Through it all, we managed to go for a lovely walk or two, shovelled snow, and Stephanie and I went to Mass - we walked part way home in the glorious snow as it fell and watched scared Vancouverites slip and slide their way to Christmas Eve supper... it was delightful. We arrived back to the house only to see the rest of the family sitting by the fire and Derek with his head lamp on. Quite the sight! It was a great Christmas! (Thanks Mills family for putting us up for the time we were there!)

The adventure was to continue with us flying out of Vancouver on the 26th of December - and despite us getting to the airport in great time and getting all checked in, we were unable to leave due to the weather and mechanical difficulties. We didn't find out our plane was canceled until about 1am and so in order for us to get some what reasonable seats the next day, we conceded and slept on the floor in the airport. Not THE most romantic way of spending the first night of our holiday, but we managed to make light of it. By 3am we were in line at the Air Canada desk (along with MANY, MANY others whose flights had been cancelled) and managed to get a flight to San Fran via Seattle... we took it and got on a plane, only to be delayed 40 minutes. Unsure what this meant for us who were connecting for San Fran (there were 19 of us) we stuck with the plane. An hour later we were in Seattle, and rushed to a plane they had waiting for us... when we asked if our luggage would make it we were faced with "I don't know" - not the most reassuring answer, but by this time we just wanted to get to our hotel and have a shower! So, we got to San Fran a day and a bit later (yeah) and minus all of our bags - we figured out that if we waited an hour our bags should arrive, so we did and all the bags arrived except Derek's bag (BOO!!) - we did the whole "line up and tell them your story" deal and made a claim on the bag hoping that they would be able to deliver the bag before we went to Bali the next day.

We then went to our hotel which was FANTASTIC! We stayed across from the room that Santana the famous musician decorated. we went for supper at this quaint little Irish pub just behind the hotel, took a quick tour around the hotel (and union square where they were skating on a rink in the middle of the square). It was early to bed and early to rise... we had an appt with Alcatraz the next morning. SO, the next day we woke up and walked to Pier 33 - along the way we walked through China Town and saw Coit tower. We boarded the ferry and walked around Alcatraz which was really very interesting. Neither Derek nor I had any notion that in 1969 the American Indians had a demonstration on Alcatraz for 18 months... it was said that this demonstration provoked change in legislation on how the American Indians were treated after 1971... very cool! Once back from "the Rock" and it's eerie and facinating history, we had brunch at a fantastic resturant called Butterfly - then it was off to Fisherman's warf and all that entails! We saw the USS Pampintino (a WWII submarine) and took a tour of that, it is remarkable that so many men live in these tin cans for days on end together - I would go mad, they are in such close quarters! After that it was off to Ghiradelli's to have an ice cream and then back to the hotel to see if the luggage had made it - no luck. We hurried to find some clothes for Derek and then off to the airport for our imminent flight to Indonesia!

Once at the airport, we decided to change the information on where to ship the luggage should it be found. I took a quick look around the piles of lost luggage and low and behold, Derek's bag!!! It was so nice to see it! Once we settled the score with the stupid baggage people, it was off to find China Airlines and check in. We got our luggage in time to board it on to another plane, something so weird about that!!! We ate some grub and relaxed until our flight at 12:15am on the 29th of December.

14.5 hours later, we arrived in Taipei only to sit and wait for another plane so that we could spend 5 more hours flying to get to Bali... but in Bali we are. One word I can't stop thinking since we got here - HOT!!! It was 32 degrees with humidity when we arrived to sunny skies! It is so lush and beautiful here tho, I am so excited to see what tomorrow brings! We have checked into this fine establishment of a hotel that costs about $10 US a night - needless to say, my mother would NOT stay here if she had to! Tomorrow we are off to find a great place to snorkel and hang in a hammock - there is this little place that boasts great beaches and fewer crowds - lets hope they are right!

It has been an adventure for sure thus far, but we honestly wouldn't trade it for anything! :o) Miss you and love you all... until the next post in the next location with internet... stay safe!

Love, Heather and Derek

Sunday, December 28, 2008

lets hope this works!!

Hey all! I am posting this from Derek's blackberry... Isn't technology wonderful! Let's hope this works!

Just a QUICK update... We are sitting in the San Fransisco airport, waiting for our flight to Taipei then Denpasar, Bali! Yahoo, the day is finally here. A Lot has happened on this trip, but all that shall wait for a real computer - it is just too long and interesting??!! :)

Just wanted to make sure everyone knows we are well, happy and on our way to the relaxing world of reading books in Hammocks and climbing mysterious mountains! :)

Love you all and will let you know we are good when we get there... 14.5 hours of flying lay ahead! :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Merry Christmas... the waiting continues!

And the adventurer awaits, in the blizzarding wintery waste land that is her home, dreaming of the hammocks, lapping ocean and jungle sounds that are to come. I am also dreaming of the noise, pollution and the heavy bag that will be on my back... but those are still part of the joy of travelling, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.

I hope you can see the "Ticker" that I have added to this post that lets you know when we will be in Bali... it should indicate how many days we have until we go. Not sure if it will work, if it does, yahoo! :)

We are all set for the Christmas season, presents are bought and wrapped, tickets are booked for Vancouver, San Fransisco and Bali. We are set... now we just have to pack! We started the game of "what are we taking? Who is carrying it? How can we pack as little as we can and still be warm?" game. We have to pack for 3 climates... Vancouver where I heard it snowed, San Fran which has an average temperature of +13 celcuius this time of year and Bali, where it is around +30 with humidity and rainy. Yes, I think we hit all the climates we could in one 3 week time span... lets not forget the -30C we are leaving at home (thank goodness!)

I have REALLY tried to not get excited about this trip as I had so much work to do, but seeing as I found out my contract expired suddenly as of Jan 1, I have started to get really excited for the trip... :) What happened is the project I am working on got reorgainized and the PMO (Project Management Office) who I worked for got disbanned and the focus of the project took a more technical turn. This leaves me with out a job as of Jan 1... but that is the life of a consultant, and the chance we take. It will all work out, I have some prospects for the new year and there is so much work out there for someone like me... if all else fails, there is a job in Kuala Lumpur that looked interesting! :)

Other than the trip and the lack of a job, things are good. Tom and Leigh Anne and their girlies are going to be moving down to Calgary - yeah for us! So we are looking forward to spending some quality time with them. Derek is in the middle of planning his Arizona trip, which will be a month he hopes... time will tell! life is good in Cow-town. It is going by so quickly that it will be nice to have some time just us newlyweds! :)

I hope to post quite a bit from the road, so we shall see what happens. We will be in Vancouver Dec 23 thru Dec 26, San Fran Dec 26 thru Dec 29, Bali Dec 29 thru Jan 10, and San Fran Jan 10 thru 11th. I hope you will join us on our travels. There may be pictures and there WILL be stories! Stay tuned.

With that, I bid you all audieu and may you have a blessed holiday season with those you love. I also hope that you have a wonderful New Year and may 2009 bring you joy, love and tons of adventure. Love you all!

On a side note, my Cousin Jason will be heading to Afghanistan for his 2nd tour Dec 18. My thoughts and prayers go out to you Jay for your safe return home and to your family as they are here waiting for the day you come back. I am incredibly proud of you and am honoured to know such a brave and dedicated man. I love you and will see you when you get home. Be safe!

Monday, December 01, 2008

December... what happened to November?

Sorry folks, I am not sure how I lost a month, but alas... it has happened.

What is new you ask? Well, not much... working, working some more and then dreaming about far away places and working even more to get there! :o)

The lastest dream that has come true... we are going to SAN FRANCISCO! :o) After we spend Christmas in Vancouver we are flying to San Fran for 3 days to check out Alcatraz, the wind tunnel, and the famous chocolate shop and streets, not to mention the other hundred things on the list! I am so very excited! Mom and Dad only just returned from there and said that it is a place not to be missed! They gave us all their information and maps so we are UBER prepared for our trip! So looking forward to it! Thanks Mom and Dad:o)

After our short stay in San Fran we are heading to Bali for the BIG honeymoon!!!! :o) We will be there a total of 12 days (one being really short as we are heading to Taipei for a 16 hour layover...) We are going to learn to surf and do some hiking and relaxing and touring this beautiful and exotic country. I am looking into a bit of a volunteer stint for a day or two, but not sure if it will pan out... :o) It is going to be glorious!

Until then (21 more sleep and I am a year older, 22 more sleeps and we are in Vancouver, 25 more sleeps until San Fran, and 28 more sleeps and we are in BALI!) it will be busy with Christmas parties and shopping - spending time with friends and of course working. I have only one more trip to Edmonton for work this year which pleases me to no end! :o) Our trip is going to be so fun, adventurous and relaxing... very much looking forward to it!! :o)

It will be a different Christmas, seeing as this is only the 2nd time I have been away from my immediate family for Christmas in 28 years... but it is going to be wonderful and although I will miss my family (and the smile on my nieces' faces (and everyone else's) on Christmas morning, I will be with Derek and his family, making new memories and traditions. What is life if not a constant state of change? :o)

So, Happy shopping and a delightful Christmas season to all of you... I wish you good cheer, great parties, fantastic visits and warm wishes for the holiday season... :o)

MEME - One word only!

The most difficult part of this meme is, that you can only answer the questions with
a single word.

Here we go:

1. Where is your cell phone? Here

2. Where is your significant other? Work

3. Your hair color? red-ish

4. Your mother? Nurse

5. Your father? Warden

6. Your favorite thing? Travelling

7. Your dream last night? Dream?

8. Your dream/goal? Happiness

9. The room you’re in? Office

11. Your fear? Snakes

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Travelling

13. Where were you last night? Party

14. What you’re not? Boring

15. One of your wish-list items? Author

16. Where you grew up? NWT

17. The last thing you did? e-mail

18. What are you wearing? Black

19. Your TV? BIG

20. Your pet? Husband :o)

21. Your computer? Lappy

22. Your mood? Un-motivated

23. Missing someone? Always

24. Your car? Timmy

25. Something you’re not wearing? Nylons

26. Favorite store? on-line

27. Your summer? CRAZY!!!!

28. Love someone? Absolutely

29. Your favorite color? pink

30. When is the last time you laughed? yesterday

31. Last time you cried? yesterday

The other part of the challenge is to nominate five people to take up the challenge on their own blogs.

Remember no return tags, and if you've been stung from another quarter, you may decline the invitation.

Seeing as I don't know anyone who blogs (that hasn't done this yet, Anna :o)) feel free to steal it and post it on yours.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fall is here!

Halloween is just around the corner, the leaves have fallen off the trees, Jack frost is already nipping ever so slightly at our noses, yup... fall is here. I do love fall so it doesn't make me all that sad. It is a humbling time where the world shed's its proverbial skin in preparation for a rejuvenation in 4 to 6 months. I love the smell, the crispness of the air in the mid afternoon, the colours of the trees and the air (yes, that seems to change colour too!), the feeling... I love it all. I remember when I was little, the smell of fall reminded me of school and how happy I would be to get back to seeing my friends everyday and the new scribblers and pencils (erasers, markers, crayons, rulers... I have always had a thing for stationary!). Oh how I loved fall when I was little. The piles of leaves to play in, the new friends from school, and skating... oh the skating...

I remember walking into the arena on the first day of skating for the season... the smell of the ice, the weight of my bag, the smile on my face. I could hardly WAIT to lace up my skates and take that first glide on the clean sheet of ice... the crackle from the skates cutting the ice, the feel of the breeze once I got some speed... I was often the first person on the ice the first day of the season. It would have taken the small pox to keep me from it! I loved those days! I would work all season to achieve a goal with determination and passion and once I achieved that goal I would rejoice, celebrate, and make a new goal. Always a new goal.....

It was like that when I got back to skating this past season as well... I so anticipated the feel of the ice beneath my blades, the confidence of the edges and the breeze on my cheeks, I have not been disappointed. Although I forgot the pain that is associated with the skates and the falls (they seem to hurt more the older I've gotten), and I don't have the confidence with everything like I used to have, nor do I have as many goals, but I am sure with time that will all come to pass and I will feel like that little girl standing at the edge of a fresh sheet of ice with nothing but her hopes, dreams and goals.

In a funny way, that little girl has never changed. I am so goal oriented it is an obsession really. I have hardly set a goal that I have not achieved one way or another. For me, fall is time to set goals and start being motivated on achieving them. As it has been for years, a goal I am still working on (be it slowly) is to run a marathon... Derek and I are talking about 2010 in Iceland (I hope, I hope!!) for Canada's Team Diabetes. Right now I am going to focus on running a 1/2 marathon and see how I do! Another goal, to see all the wonders of the world (new and old)... I have seen 3 new and 2 old... 2011 is the year when we are planning on doing a fair bit of travelling so I am sure this goal can hold us until then! Another goal, the West Coast Trail... this had to get postponed this past summer because my niece was sick so I believe it is still on the agenda for this summer...... let the planning begin!

So much to do, so little time... that is just the way life is. It makes me laugh to myself sometimes when I think of that girl skating to every song that played on the speakers, loving that moment like it was her last, feeling peace in all parts of her world. It makes me laugh because that girl has always been me, in the good times and the bad, and always will, on or off the ice. It is the tiny moments of perfection in life that matter to me and that make life so amazing and joyful. I try to look for those moments everyday.

Life can often be equated to skating... sometimes the ice is rough, sometimes amazingly smooth; when you fall, you should always get up with a smile on your face, you never know who is watching; keep going regardless, until your music is over and your program is done; the harder you work, the more you achieve... they are all chiche's for life, but they are all the honest truth... so, when life gets you down just think of a sheet of ice and all that it can hold... it can hold your world, your hopes and dreams, and it is fresh and new and beautiful... so... time to set some goals, step on the ice and make it happen... at least, its that time for me! After all... Fall is here... :o)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Just when you think you have it all!

"You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of" - Albert Camus -

WOW - that is so true. We can be so busy trying to define what we think is happiness and we get lost in trying to find it, when if you sit back at times and let life flow you truly find it. I think that when you sit back and let life wash over you, you begin to understand who you are and what you want... soemthing to achieve for sure - to relax and un-wind - just be. These days it seems like we are so terribly busy, rushing to meetings for work, having lunch meetings, conference calls at night, supper with friends, figuring out where to go on the next holiday, the never ending list of things to do and things to buy... we are just so desperatly busy... then it hits you like a hammer... are you missing things? Are you missing the stuff in life that make it so amazing? You have to sit and be still and ponder that for a second (or a minute or an hour....)

This shocked me back to reality today... when Derek sent me a link to a website he found... http://aritaub.com/... this is an incredible story of a local guy who was a wrestler many moons ago, Olympic bound... then he gets hurt and can't wrestle anymore, goes to law school and then discovers his is misdiagnosed and he CAN actually wrestle... he goes to the Olympics this past year at the age of 37 and lives his dream... now he's on to the next.

We look at our lives and just when we think we are doing great someone brilliant comes along and reminds us that we shouldn't settle for medicricy. There are more dreams to achieve, more mountains to climb. SO... now is the time to stop LOOKING for happiness or trying to define it and just be it! :o)

Monday, October 13, 2008

It comes barging back

The irony of my last post is that I spoke of things in the past, tragedies and sadness that come back to us from time to time. Here, lo and behold, it comes like a landslide.

When I was in high school there was this guy that died. It shook the whole school as he was a student there at the time. I will never forget the day or the way that he died. Who that was or how it happened doesn't seem important, what does is his family. I grew to know his family and even dated his brother. His memory was never forgotten. Even years after this happened, I heard of his sister by what else, Facebook. Her and I exchanged messages, and she looked like she had grown into a great, strong, caring woman. Then I found out her husband died very recently. My heart broke for her. Sometimes, as my mom says, the crosses of others are so heavy, they seem too hard to bear. Now, this dear girl is in the hospital fighting for her life after she OD'd. I guess the ones we see as the strongest have their weaknesses too. I can not express the sadness I feel... I have been thinking of it since I heard the news. The mother of those children, how devastating... the family of the husband now in jeopardy of loosing their daughter in law too. Sometimes the cross is just too heavy!

This girl, the one that is in the hospital, I always remember as being bright and energetic and determined. She was the only one of her family to graduate High School and go to College, what a feat! She got married young, but was so desperately in love with her husband, she married him in spite of his illness, and held his hand as he slipped away. She must have felt so abandoned and alone... I mean there must be more that we as a community could have done. But this speaks to my comments in my last post. We carry on with our lives and the victims of the tragedies go un noticed. Why do we let this happen? Why do we forget those who are struggling and grieving. Those are the ones that we should be helping, offering a hand up, standing beside. They are the ones that help us keep the memories of the ones that passed alive. They are the ones that are forgotten.

How sad it is for me, sitting here not knowing what I can do next. How does one help someone who doesn't have the will to go on? What must that feel like? How did we ever let a human being get to that point? This is something we all can help with - if we lend a hand, offer support, don't forget the victims of tragedy then perhaps this will cease to occur... or perhaps it is just in the books, the way the plan works, the way it was meant to be. What little we can do to help, always seems to go a longer distance than we anticipate... isn't helping what community is all about? It is about the planting of trees!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The thing is...

This is a quote I received from a blog that I read often. She is this funny barely 20-something in the UK whom I find amusing and politically in the know for someone her age. She said: "Anyway, I promise I'll update again soon, I have been getting the blog withdrawal shakes. If you don't know what that's like, it's basically when you walk around narrating your life inside your head trying to make it sound funny..." and it made me laugh... I DO THAT! I walk around remembering that I do infact have this diary-esque thing that I - now - rarely update and think that I should really update soon... so here I am...

I have often thought about writing about the fact that there is a nip in the air and fall is here... or that I have started figure skating again (which has been so great!!)... or that my brand spanking new husband sent me flowers for our first month-aversary (he is so sweet!).... all that is remaining in my head... what I want to write about is really 2 things... How cool it is to be quoted and then how we humans survive through some pretty tragic stuff.

My mother quoted me the other day - right from this blog actually. It was incredibly cool to know that my mom (and dad) read this as do many of you and they get me and agree with me (for the most part)... VERY COOL... (Hi mom and dad!). What we were talking about however was not so cheerful. We were chatting about how people move on, how we gather our baggage, sling it on our backs and carry on...

It has been a year since constable Warden died in Hay River, for example, and it makes me wonder how his wife is doing, how his daughter is doing... we seem to forget the victims' families after the tragedy has gone from the news. I really felt this when we were in NY and Derek and I were at the 9-11 memorial... there was an over whelming sense of loss but there was also a sense of moving on and getting on with our lives. We seem to forget about these tragedies. It is amazing, one day we think our lives are tragic and desperate but the very next day it is less so and the day after that even less. Eventually it is a memory that comes up when we see something on the TV or something is mentioned that triggers a reaction...

I think of all of this now in the time when a very dear friend of mine has lost someone very dear... it is amazing who is effected. Although who she lost wasn't as big as the twin towers toll or as tragic as constable Warden, but it hurts just the same - if not more as I am closely tied to her. Sometimes life is funny (not ha-ha) and really crappy things happen but at the end of the day I have faith that these things happen for a reason. Although that sounds cliche, the thing is, things always seem to work out the way they should be and there is a reason for it all... I guess I have to believe that, otherwise senseless losses would be just too hard to bear.

My thoughts and prayers go out to my friends... I love you and miss you and think of you often!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Freedom IS fun

So, here we are... 7 years later. 7 years have flown by, that is, if you aren't one of the ones that was affected personally. I am talking about 9/11. It is remarkable for me to have gone through 7 years of life (and busy life at that) since those twin towers came crumbling down on a nation in the name of terror and hate. 7 long years for those parents and spouses of the 1200 people that are yet to be "found" in the rubble; 7 long years for our soldiers fighting in the name of freedom for people they have never met and never will meet. Yes, Freedom is fun.

It amazes me, sitting comfortably in my life, that we take so much for granted everyday. We take for granted that our airplanes are safe and the towers we work in daily are sturdy. 7 years ago, thousands of people thought the same thing and were shocked, saddened, hurt or killed because they were wrong on that one day.

We recently came back from New York, and we were able to see where those towers stood. It is hard to imagine towers hundreds of stories tall standing where there is a big gaping hole. It is hard to imagine those pictures we have engrained into our heads actually occuring while you are standing there, staring into the blue sky. While in NY, we were able to go to the memorial that they have built in memory of those who died that day. It is hard to walk through that place without being touched, hard to be flippant and un-emotional when you see the chunks of plane and melted fire helmets, things that remind you how this occured in the name of hate and how many brave men and women rushed in to save people they never knew with the idea in the back of their heads that they, themselves might not come out alive. It is hard to feel detached when you see the wall of pictures and look into the faces of the people that died and read the notes from their children saying how brave their daddy or mommy was, or their soccer team telling them that they were the best coach in the world. Yes, freedom is fun and it does come at a price.

The one thing that I found most remarkable was that there were notes from people all over the world that spoke in peace. A school in Japan sent thousands of paper cranes to schools in NY in the name of peace (as that is what the crane symbolizes). There was an overwhelming sense of hope, of lessons learned while in the memorial building. I think that is why our soldiers are still over there, because there is hope that we will one day be free of the feeling that there is hatred and war in the world; hope that things will one day be filled with peace and love; hope that we could all live together and accept eachother's differences and live in a society that stresses understanding and acceptance of differences. I think what I am most hopeful about is that people seem to be going and seeing these types of landmarks and remembering what hatred and intollerance bring. I am hopeful that oneday we will be a society that preaches tollerance, acceptance and love, but right now we are a society that is so focused on 'one upmanship' it is hard to breathe.

So, on this anniversary, this sad and mournful anniversary, I take the time in the name of hope, to remember those who lost their lives in terror and destruction. Hope that the messages for peace and love their families preached through their messages will one day be the legacy of this event; Hope that our soldiers are able to establish peace in a nation that is also full of intollerance and hate; Hope that one day we can look back on the event 7 years ago and say it was a turning point towards peace.

I will leave you with a quote from Malcom X that rings true specifically on a day like today. "You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom."

Here's wishing you peace and love today.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

On top of Mount Charles Stewart

Well... I did something I said 2.5 years ago that I would never do again... I got married! YES, I GOT MARRIED!!!! :o) I got married to an incredible man, who loves me and understands me and is wonderful and charming and intelligent and... sigh... just amazing. Life is great, life is simply fantastic right now... I am on cloud nine!

Speaking of clouds... this is how today unfolded...

We woke early in Canmore, the Georgetown Inn to be exact. We spent the morning getting ready, eating and having a saftey demonstration for helicopters. Why helicopters you ask??? Well, we took one to the top of Mount Charles Stewart and hiked down this mountain whilst getting married! We did the ceremony in stages, as we hiked down the side of the mountain. It was an ever changing landscape, an ever changing variety of photos to be taken... it was breathtaking! We started out at 8500' or so and ended at around 7500'... it was magnificent!

We have the whole thing on video and film as the only people that were with us were a videographer, a photographer, a witness and the marriage commissioner. It was a private (VERY private) and intimate ceremony, and the perfect way for me and my HUSBAND to tie the knot!

NOW... we are off to New York for a quick getaway while the world finds out about our nuptials! Surprise world!!! :o) More photos and stories to come... but I have posted a couple shots to satisfy those who are curious! :o)

I wish you all happiness, because I truly know what it feels like and it is amazing!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Feeling home sick and a little violated...

I went to visit Norm in the impound lot where he is now living and I must say that I felt a little violated when I got to Norm and found that 1/2 my luggage was gone. I looked in the trunk thinking that I would find either my suitcase gone or my suitcase there... I hadn't anticipated that I would have 1/2 my clothes and no suitcase. The clothes that were still there were some great items which I am delighted to get back, but there were things that really upset me. For instance, rummaging through my clothing... EWWWW... what kind of creepo does that... touching all my undies and personal items... blech! I can't wait to get home to clean them. Another thing was the fact that I had anticipated all of it back or none of it back... I hadn't prepared myself for that option and so I must say I was rather un-prepared for having to take back what someone else clearly didn't want of my clothes... it just feels bizarre. ANYWAY, I am glad that this chapter of my life has passed and on to newer and better things... like Timmy, our new car!

Timmy is Derek and I's brand spanking new Rav4... it only had 18KM's on it when he picked it up yesterday... and I am so VERY much looking forward to seeing it and driving it tomorrow! He is a Ferny-green colour and has heated seats, a sun roof and a hard case for the spare tire (much to my chagrin!). He is spectacular and I am DELIGHTED to have FINALLY (after about 8 years of wanting one) got my Rav4... Next car??? VW Bug? Mustang? Lexus Sports Coupe? :o) As they say... "Onward and upward!"

My beautiful Niece is still in the hospital trying her darnest to get better... she just wishes people would leave her alone and let her be. She is constantly being poked and prodded and I cant blame the tyke for being a bit pissy... but she needs to just relax and get better... I hope and pray that she heals soon and is back terrorizing her family with her hissy fits at home soon... I also hope for a bit of a reprieve for Tom...he has been at that hospital for a month now, and that has GOT to be tiring. Mom and Dad have spent their ENTIRE vacation with Tom and Rowan in the hospital, which is not the most fun way to spend that time... but I know they made do. I think we all are getting weary of that hospital and want the schmuckster to just get better... sigh, it always sucks when you have to wait and watch the time go by.

Why homesick? Well, last week I was in Edmonton for a full week of training for a new software program I am going to be using. Then it was off to Vancouver to spend some time with Derek's family which was wonderful. It is nice to bond with them as they are so far away and haven't been a big part of Derek's life for a while. I look forward to seeing more of them around Christmas. I flew back to Edmonton (and my honey flew to Calgary) for a couple days before I return to Calgary where I will be until the 3rd of September... a nice long haul this time! :o) I am looking forward to things getting back to normal hopefully, as we don't have that much more travelling planned between now and the big trip in Dec.

BIG NEWS... My Jennifer is preggers! Jen and Taylor (Jen being my best friend) are pregnant and are expecting their first bundle of... stuff... in January. She is going to be the best Mommy EVER! I am just so happy for them, they have wanted kids for a while now... delighted doesn't begin to describe it! Way to go you two love birds!!! :o)

At that, I am done my update this time... stay tuned!

Quickly a quote that inspires my running... "Pain is temporary but quitting lasts forever!" - Lance Armstrong.

Go and live your dreams, achieve your goals and live the life you imagine! - Heather Hamilton.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Norm is found!

Ok, so last I wrote, Norm my beloved car had been stolen by some wretched human! Well, Derek and I have purchased a Rav4 - affectionatly named Timmy! I am in total smit with this car (if that is a word!) and we haven't even recieved the keys yet!!! I have to get the insurance all sorted out this week so that Derek can pick it up on Monday... one week from today!

So, we purchased Timmy on Saturday and funnily enough this morning I got a call, first thing, from my insurance adjuster saying that they have found Norm! He was found in a parking lot close to where he went missing and was towed because he was illegally parked. The only thing wrong with it is the ignition is buggered! I called the place to see if I could go and see if there is any contents in the car and all they could say was that I have to go and check it out! I am TOTALLY going to have to do that this week to see if my luggage is still in the car... my CD's - oh how great they will be in Timmy! Since the insurance company has paid me out for Norm, I am not obligated to re-pay them and take Norm...

Rowie continues to be in the hospital... such a fighter that girl! She has been super pissed off because of all the tubes and such connected to her so I am hoping today that SEVERAL of the tubes can be taken out!

I will keep you posted on all the goings on... but until then I will leave you with this........

"To get the full value of a joy, you must have somebody to divide it with" - Mark Twain!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Norm is lost

On Friday evening, I come out of my office building in Edmonton with snacks in hand, ready for a road trip to Stony Plain to visit Derek as he was teaching a course out there, only to stare in amazement that my car was not where I had left it. My car was in fact gone. The moments that pass after you "loose your car" are ones of confusion. "Did I park here?", "Did they tow it?", "Am I loosing my mind and just can't see it?". Once the realization has hit you that yes, you DID park there and NO your car isn't there, then you spring into action. First I called the impound lot as there was a sign and a number in the parking lot where I was standing, and my car was not. This is the rare occasion where you actually HOPE your car was towed as the alternative is far worse and MUCH more inconvenient. The lady at the impound, along with NOT being helpful, was also quite rude. She instructed me to call the police impound lot, and so I did... no Norm. Next call was to Derek but he was teaching so no answer... sigh. Then the police. CRAP! The police officer was very helpful in that he called the first impound to ensure that Norm wasn't there... he wasn't. Then he filed a stolen car report... my car has been stolen... this sucks! SO, a few phone calls to the insurance company and a trip to the police station only solidified the fact that Norm was gone. I then had to take a cab out to the airport to pick up a rental car. NOTHING is open in downtown Edmonton after 6pm on a Friday. So, 3 hours and a lot of $$$ later, I am on the road to Stony Plain to meet up with Derek to figure out a game plan and sleep it off.

The REAL down side (other than my car is MIA) is that my luggage for the next week was in Norm. I had no contact solution, no lip gloss, no shoes or clothes other than what I had on me at the time... Can you say EMERGENCY SHOPPING SPREEEEE! It is funny because I had NO motivation to shop, I was so sad and disappointed with things that it was simply a struggle to try on clothes and shoes and figure out what I needed. The REALLY crappy thing is that after the weekend in Stony Plain, I was going back to Edmonton to work my 3 days on Monday... I had a weeks worth of work clothes and play clothes and ALL my fun jewelry, my hair stuff, my makeup and face stuff... everything that I would need for a week in Edmonton.

Good thing that I am determined to not look like a scrub! I managed to scrounge together a couple outfits for work and a couple for play so that I could look somewhat normal. I want to wait for the insurance company to call me to let me know what they are covering before I go and replace all that was in the car. I have remained relatively calm through this whole ordeal, shocking to me actually. I figure that it all can be replaced, it is only a car. No one was hurt, nothing that is irreplaceable was stolen (other than the beautiful ring I got in Peru, it could have been a LOT worse than it was, so I guess I am just thankful it was something like a car and not a person that was stolen! Life is a matter of perspective, and sometimes we just have to look on the sunny side... but that is my optimistic side speaking. Just as Marsha Washington said "I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances." we need to be happy regardless of our circumstances, and this one of the greatest contributors to a good, happy and rewarding life. I could sit and stew about this, or I can be happy that it was just a replaceable object and move on. The inconvenience of this is the hardest thing to deal with, but really, if it means that I have all my family and friends, I can handle the inconvenience, they are worth that at least.

I urge you all to follow Marsha Washington's advice and be happy regardless of the circumstances, things could get worse, and most times they do when you let that storm cloud hang over your head... look for the rainbow after the storm because it is the rainbow that is the promise of sunshine, the rainbow is the happy ending. Just ask Noah! :o)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Sheepishly late!!!

So... this post is LONG over due... so long in fact that I fear I have lost some of my captive audience, of whom I kept in the palm of my blogging hand. So sorry to disappoint any of you.

What does one start with after 2 months of not blogging and an incredibly full agenda and life!?? Perhaps a quote!? "It is not enough to take steps which may some day lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise" - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It has been my take on life in general since I started this blog 2 years, 1 month and 2 and a half weeks ago, that life is in the journey, the steps you take. To me, it is very true that each step I have taken over the past 2 years has been of course part of the greater goal, but also goals themselves. Looking back at the first run I did, Oct. 2006... my first 5K. I just wanted to be able to run the whole thing... the next year I did it again and also an 8K... this year I am training for a 10K, next year is a 1/2 marathon and the year after that, my BIG goal, the one on my bucket list, a full marathon in a foreign country. All of the steps have been goals, small enough to achieve and big enough to be challenging and rewarding. For me, this is all part of the journey... the journey to be myself, to find my passion, and to live the best possible life I can. So Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (ok... nice name!!) is so right in that each day we must take steps towards our goal, and those steps are also goals. If they weren't goals in and of themselves, it would be hard to achieve the greater goal!

So enough about goals, what has been going on in the land of Heather!??? Work... serious, hard core, fantastic work. Although I am finding the constant travelling weary-ing and tiring, I am enjoying the job immensely and am finding it rewarding beyond my imagination. I keep looking to the end of this project and try to think of all of the skills I have learned but can never really, fully grasp the extent of my learning as I am in a constant and ever evolving state of student! It is great to have a group of people who give you the task then say "run with it". I have waited a long time for something like that and here it is!

Other than work, Derek and I have been busy playing. At the beginning of June Derek and I flew out to Vancouver to surprise his family, and mostly his brother in law for his 50th birthday. It was the first time meeting the family and I believe it went good... that's what Derek's mom tells me anyways! :o) It was a lot of fun getting to meet and chat with his family. We couldn't go to Vancouver without seeing SOME of the sights tho, and found ourselves on a suspension bridge one of the days we were there! It was a great time! The weekend after that, Derek flew to Comox to teach and I flew to London, Ontario to celebrate my Aunt and Uncle's 50th wedding anniversary. I couldn't believe how many members of the family came... most of us live here in the west and I would say 75% of the family came. It was a great party and it was a great visit! Two weekends after that saw Derek and his team in the provincials where they got a bronze! Derek was a bit disappointed but for not flying together much at ALL during the season, I think they did really well... especially since a camera man decided to take Derek out on the 3rd jump!!! Poor guy is still a little stiff because of that one!

My little Schmuckie was in the hospital for a portion of June. She aspirated again, and this time it was really bad. She was here in the hospital for about 2 weeks, and although she is home, she is going to be coming back for surgery on the 21st of this month. My sweet angel has been having a rough year as this is the 6 or 7th time she has been in the hospital this year, the second time she had to be sent down to Alberta. Lets hope that this up coming surgery helps her with this....

The next month and a bit of summer have a LOT in store! Derek is teaching a course for 2 weekends in Edmonton Area so since I work here a lot, I am going to just stay and hang out with him here on the weekend. Then, at the end of July, Derek and his team compete again in the Western Conference Cup. I think they are going to rock this competition... they have the cob webs dusted off, they have their fall rate sorted, and they have their groove back... it is going to be great to watch! That same weekend I have a wedding of a friend from University so I am going to run out and go to that while Derek is jumping his face off! Once that weekend is done, I am off to the West Coast to hike the WCTrail with my brotha from the same motha! I think we both need a break and this will be a super bonding experience for us... It is going to be so amazing! Once the trail is finished, I am meeting Derek in Comox where his is training the Military. I am going to recoup (and recover) there and once he is done training we are either going to go sight seeing in Vancouver or Sea Kayaking on the West Coast and then visit his family in Vancouver. The week that I return I am in training for work - the training is in Edmonton. I think that I will not see my bed for 3 whole weeks by the time I get home. The last weekend in August we are either going to go to a skydiving event in BC or Eloy (I hope Eloy so I can play in the wind tunnel!!!) This, my friends brings us to September! SO... for any of you who are wondering why I don't call or why I don't write... I hope you understand that I have to sleep sometime!!! :o) I wouldn't have my life any other way than busy, active and fun!!!

So, blog readers and friends alike, I hope that you will understand why it has been so VERY long since my last post... and I hope that you understand why, should a 2 month span between blogs happen again. I sometimes read random people's blogs and think to myself, what do people think, who don't know me, when they read this... I love finding a window into some strangers life where they are open and honest. I hope that people see that with my blog, as it was my intention 2 years, 1 month and 2 and a half weeks ago, I am fully honest and do not hide like I had done for so long, so many years ago. Thank you my devoted fans, new fans, and family who have no choice but to read!!! Without you I am not sure that writing would be worth it! :o)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Montreal cest Magnifique!

We are back from Montreal for 2 days and I can hardly believe we were there. This always happens when we travel... we have such a great time that before we know it we are leaving. I learned that I love the quiet modernism that Montreal boasts through all of those amazing buildings.

To start from the beginning, Derek and I thought it would be a good idea to go away for May long weekend to spend some quality time together after my first full week at the new job. I think it was harder than we had expected, we have made it through and we are still smiling! We thought of Waterton but I want to go there in the summer to see how beautiful it is with leaves on the trees and not snowing... can't quite guarantee this at this time of the year! We thought of Vancouver but we are going there in August to visit his family after the west coast trail. Canmore we did on Easter long weekend. Derek just said Montreal at random I think and after looking into it, we found some cheap tickets and booked them. What a great idea!!! I have always wanted to go there. Next stop.... Ottawa or Quebec City! :o)

So we got to Montreal at around 7 am Montreal time (5am our time) and booked into our hotel, had a nap for 2 hours, and then went and scooped out the sights! The weather was hot and sunny and ideal for roaming around St. Catherine's street. The shopping was amazing... everything you could want right there at your finger tips. It was so fun cruising the shopping strip and stopping into a great restaurant for some poutine. You know what they say, when in Rome do as the Romans! We then went down to Old Montreal for some sight seeing. It was so beautiful, the buildings, the architecture, the cute cafe's on the side of the street. It reminded me so much of France that it was eery! We then went out for supper at this cute little pizzeria and out to a night club. We hung out and met some really amazing people, dancing the night away (so it was me that was dancing!).

After getting back to the hotel late (and stopping for some poutine and pizza before getting there) we slept in the next morning. Much to Derek's dismay, we were up and out the door by 11 and off to explore. We had breakfast on this wonderful balcony in a place called Thursdays. After that we went and scoped out some of the ritzy stores and I feel in love with a Prada bag... sigh, one day! :o) It was just so pretty!!! Once our breakfast and tour of fancy places was done, we made our way to Notre Dame via Metro! I was amazed at the fact that there are hidden cities under the streets, it was like nothing that I have ever seen! It was really interesting on the Metro, and it really reminded me of Paris with how it is set up. Once at the "Place de Arms" we walked up to Notre Dame.
What a beautiful building... I thought it was supposed to be a replica of the one in Paris, but it was a gentler design, not as Gothic and really quite striking. It was so interesting that all of these amazing buildings are nestled into random locations, cubbies and back streets. We went into this amazing cathedral and I was instantly blown away by the intricate altar, the colours were amazing and the detail and design were stunning. It was shocking to me when I realized that Mass had just begun and so Derek and I sat and had Mass in Notre Dame... what LUCK! It was totally in French, but I could manage to understand quite a bit... it is amazing how much comes back! It was a beautiful mass, and after we went and walked around some more looking at the old cobble stone streets and store fronts. We roamed the old streets, enjoying the peacefulness of the buildings, and enjoying the Quebec culture that oozed out of the most random places. I also enjoyed greatly a famous 'beaver tail' with sugar and cinnamon! SO yummy!

That night we went to a Jazz club and ate supper to the beat of a Caribbean/Jazz band. It was great, the food was great, the wine was great, and the company was amazing. Derek and I hit the town again, checking to see if we could find a place that was interesting enough to stay. After about 4 clubs, pubs and bars, we gave up (a little grumpy) and decided to go and have a Montreal smoked meat sandwich. I didn't have one (and neither did Derek) but the pasta I had was delish! It was then back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

The next day saw us a little tired and drained from the past 2 days of excitement. I think the rainy weather had much to do with the melancholy of that day. We tried to get on to a couple tours, and after roaming around in the rain a couple of times only to find out the tours have ended for the day, we gave up and conceded to wander the underground area. Well, had I known there were MALLS, ENTIRE malls, underground I think we could have conceded earlier on that day. After a coffee and a "re-group", Derek and I spent the day happily wandering the malls looking for nothing in particular. It was a delightfully relaxing day. Once we were tuckered out from wandering we retired to our hotel room for some not so great room service and an early night... we had to fly out at 5 the next morning so we had to be up around 4... yikes!

The next morning, 2 tired but happy travellers boarded their separate planes, Derek went Home to Calgary and I went straight to work in Edmonton. I realized that I love Montreal, the old feel, the culture, the lackadaisical attitude that is their quiet way. I look forward to going back, there is so much left to see, so much left to do. Next time we are in Montreal... there will be a wind tunnel to play in... I can hardly wait!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Not sure what to say...

(Draft was completed on May 16, 2008)
Exciting news... about 3 weeks ago, I got a call from a colleague of mine asking me if I wanted a different job. I explored this option for about 2 minutes, until she told me I would be making more money, have a WAY more challenging and exciting job, and that I would be working in essence for myself. I said yes!

My last day at my old job was a week ago today... and my what a week this has been. To tell you a bit about the job... I am a Quality Assurance Coordinator, which is someone who cross references everything for this project that we are working on. I make sure that when they say A and B are linked, that they are in fact linked. I am working as a consultant, which means I am "self employed" which I am finding really rewarding thus far.

This past week has seen me settle into my 2 new offices, one in Calgary that is mostly just a desk in a room shared with 6 to 8 other people, and the other an actual office with a view. (it is small, but has walls so I am NOT going to complain!). I was up in Edmonton Tuesday through Thursday and although it was very tiring due to the longer hours, it was so rewarding and challenging and fun. I am just so looking forward to feeling like I have my feet securely under me and can start getting all the work I have done. Edmonton, although not my favorite city in the world (in fact could be in the running for the LEAST favorite city!), was fine and very accommodating with regards to a hotel and office facilities. It will be interesting to finally get to know downtown Edmonton as I am totally lost there it feels! I can remember how that felt with Calgary's downtown and now I know all the great lunch places. Just don't get me to drive! ;o)

On Tuesday night, my boss Jacquie and I got to the hotel room after a full day of work, checked in with the intention of changing quickly and heading out to the soccer match (Beckham was playing in Edmonton). When I got to my hotel room, there was this AMAZING bouquet of 12 roses waiting for me... Derek had sent them to my room as a "congrats on your new job" thing........ what a great guy! These are now sitting on my desk in my Edmonton office awaiting my return on Tuesday... they are just so amazingly beautiful! (Thanks Orr... you scored some serious brownie points!!!) - side note, not only did Derek send me flowers, but he also made a slide show on my laptop of pictures of us from the past 2 years. He is such a sweetheart!

Now that this week is almost over, first week of work is always hard... I am looking forward to heading out to Montreal for a celebratory, Heather/Derek time kinda weekend. It was Derek's idea to head there so that we could regroup after the craziness of the past 3 weeks... and man am I looking forward to it! :o) I am so excited to see what Montreal brings, I have heard NOTHING but GREAT things about it so here's hoping! :o) Vie la Montreal!

On a final note, Mario was spotted a couple times last week... he must have missed us and came home for a visit. Every once and awhile, I hope he pops his furry ears in just so we know he is OK... he is the closest thing we have to a pet... I have grown fond of him!!!

OK folks, hope this finds you well... and the next time I write you I will have been to Montreal and back! :o) Vive la Vie... live the life!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Inspiring things

This past weekend saw me and my friend freeze to death! The weather is not typical for April and the roads I think are the worst they've been all year! It was so nice to do things this weekend, but there is a huge part of me that wanted to curl up in front of the fireplace (sans fire as we have already blown out the pilot light for the year!) and write. This, by the way is my newest past time... we shall see how long it lasts! ha ha! This was not what happened however, what I did was much more exciting! Lets start with Sunday and then get to the REALLY good stuff!

Sunday was Curtis' (my little cousin) birthday... he is 7 if you can believe that! WOW! His party was fun filled in that there were a THOUSAND kids there, lots of food and some quality family time! It was great to see Sandra and the kids again, and it was so great to see Aunty J again... it looks like things are going really good for them. After the cake was eaten and the presents were opened it was time to get back out on the icy road. I was off to the hockey game, the good ol' hockey game! It was the 6th game in the series, do or die for the flames and they pulled off a 2-0 victory! Kipper had a shutout and the game was fast and good, not really physical which was ok as I sure that would have lead to some brawls! The reffing was disgusting in that I am not certain he understood that 2 teams could trip and hook... interesting. There was this sign up in the stands that said "I'm blind and deaf, I could be a ref"... it was quite funny. I often feel bad for the ref as they are treated with disrespect more times than not, but this time they totally deserved it, they were atrocious! It was a packed, fun filled day but tiring, who knew that a THOUSAND kids could tire you out like that and then a tense fast game of hockey could put you over the edge?

Saturday Derek and I spent some quality time with my computer getting it up and running again. Derek had to fix it as we were seeing the blue screen of death and then it went kaput! He bought a new hard drive for it and now it works quite nicely... I think it was a new hard drive... gosh, am I useless with those things! After we got Lappy the laptop (yes, that's its name, get used to it!) working we drove Derek to the airport as he had meetings in Ottawa this weekend. Once he was safely on his way, I went back home to prepare for the play some girls and I were going to called the Syringa Tree. This play was remarkable! It was done by one lady playing 22 characters. It was about Apartheid in South Africa in the 1960's and it was heart wrenching and so sad. This lady did the accents impeccably and distinguished her characters with change of posture or hand gesture and voice. There was no costume change, no props other than a swing and a barrel. Yet, through this all she was able to portray her story with clarity and such vividness that you could picture the faces of different characters and their actions. It was amazing and moving and makes one happy that they live in a country that is so free and just. This is something that we take for granted every day, us Canadians. We don't appreciate the fact that we can get on the bus or in our car and go to work with out fear that someone is going to blow you up by wearing C4 and running up to you. We don't worry about whether or not there will be food in the grocery store, we just know that it will be. As women, we don't appreciate that we can work and be educated and not be forced to have babies or have our 'girl parts' sawed off in the name of tradition. We have choices, we have freedom, and it is plays like this that show us we need to be thankful for this.

Patricia Sampson says "Self-reliance is the only road to true freedom, and being one's own person is its ultimate reward." We must find ourselves in this day and age and be true to our self. We have to figure out what it is that makes us happy and content and free and strive to maintain this and that is what true freedom is. True freedom is being able to be happy with what you are doing if it fulfills you. If you find that thing or those things you've been longing for, if they fill that void you have had, then hold on because that is what freedom is. Being able to be you and being accepted and loved despite your mistakes and your ideas and your choices. Not being held back if people don't accept you for you or love you for who you are is also part of being free. I think we need to fill our lives with people that make us feel good and fill our lives with things that make us free and do it because it fulfills you not because it is what people have told you to do; I think that is what Patricia meant when she said what she did. That is what freedom in Canada is to me.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bahhhh!! What happened to April?

So, I guess I woke up today and realized that OH MY GOODNESS, APRIL is 1/2 gone!!!! Where, oh where does time go these days! Sheesh!

I guess with work being super busy, birthday parties for friends and a social calendar that is extraordinarily busy, time just doesn't slow down. There was one very special birthday that just passed... Derek is now 35! (closer to 40 I say! haha) His birthday was spent chatting with folks around the drop zone, a skydive from 7500 ft. and a BBQ put on by the owners of the DZ. Included in the festivities was a surprise cake made specifically for him, and man it looked like him to a T! Further more it was DELISH!!!

This past Tuesday saw me driving out to Stettler to visit a friend of mine... Librarian Deb who I have known now for 12 years!!! Time sure flies! After a drive through Red Deer and a wee bit of nostalgia, I found my way finally to the actual town of Stettler (which is way bigger that I thought it would be!). Deb and I spent the lunch hour chatting and reminiscing and the remainder of the afternoon I met with a writer from the writers guild of Alberta. I brought her my book - along with illustrations by Devon (yeah for Devon!). She had NOTHING but great things to say about it, and despite my extreme nervousness that she would say it was crap, she encouraged me to pursue it further. WOW! It was a GREAT confidence booster, and although all the stuff she said wasn't ALL sunshine, she tried to give me a thorough understanding that being a published author is not as easy as sending your story in and they send you a book... it takes YEARS! BUT, how exciting is it to have an author tell you that you should keep at it... WOW! She also looked at some of my poetry and said that it was quite good, so that is encouraging as well!

Another realization I suppose that time sure flies is that today would have marked my 4th wedding anniversary. I have no idea what happened to the past 4 years... I suppose 2 of them were spent in a funk, but the past 2 years have been jam packed with courses and travelling and a whole bunch of fun stuff! What do the next 2 years have in store? Hopefully publishing a book... perhaps some courses in writing... a trip to Australia and then a trip to Easter Island or Prague while running a marathon... the West Coast Trail... a trip to London, ON to visit family... belly dancing... buying a house(?).. and a whole lot of stuff I have no idea is coming yet! Time is a crazy thing that way... if you have stuff to do, stuff to spend it on, it sure flies by!! It is almost like a currency, you better spend it on things that make you happy! As Mark Twain says "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do." SO... as has been the theme since day one of my blog... Live life to the fullest, cease the day, live each moment, search for the adventure in life that awaits you!

I am just so excited to see what the next 4 years holds! :o)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Welcome March

Ok, so March is almost done but it feels like it just started, and that Derek just got back from Arizona. How time flies when you get back from a holiday and have to catch up!

Nothing is too terribly interesting in our world. Derek is back in full on work mode, and his busy season has started a wee bit early this year. I can tell that May and June are going to be really busy for him... lets just hope that this summer is amazing! I am just trying to keep out of trouble and am training for a 1/2 marathon in July. I should be able to run it without dying, and should I succeed at that, a full marathon is on my list of things to do... I am thinking next year in some exotic location... you will most certainly be kept informed!

So... I was going to go to Vegas with some girls from Uni Easter weekend (it is a long weekend after all and what better place than Sin City to celebrate!) but being a big person comes with responsibilities, and I was unable to go. I know they had a great time, and I am sure I will see pictures and hear stories. Instead, Derek and I whisked away to Canmore for a romantic evening away at a cozy little British style hotel. It was fantastic and so relaxing to be able to take our time eating and talking about the future. There are a lot of things that we want to do... and I think we managed to squeak out some decisions!!!

This July, as I said I am planning to run a 1/2 marathon... then in August (should things go right) we are going to go to Vancouver to see Derek's family. We haven't seen his mom and sister (and her family) since we got together over 2 years ago, so I figure it is about time!!! Then maybe the West Coast trail... this is still undetermined as I am not sure about time off and some logistical parts of this... I hope it works out as I would LOVE to add this to my list of completed 'to do's' but time will only tell! We are planning to go to Australia in December, over the Christmas break... this seems to be the best time to take a trip like this as we both get more time off at this time of year without it affecting out actual vacation days... for example, I can take 5 days off and it ends up being 16 days with all the holidays and weekends! We plan on 3 1/2 weeks (ish) but this also needs to be further researched in the 'get time off' department! BUT... not the less, exciting and adventurous things to come from the Hamilton-Orr family! :o)

It is funny, at this time of year I get the itchy feet feeling of wanting to expand my horizons, travel my butt off, and explore this wonderful planet... but it is also the time where I want to clean my house, make things neat and orderly, and just be the happy person I am... I love spring... it is my favorite season. It is so full of promise, newness and life. The smell of a crisp day when the sun is out and melting the snow. The feel of the gentle spring air on my cheeks and nose, it just thrills me. I have taken to running outside, and I love that I have to wear a long sleeved shirt, and that it is a little chilly, makes me work harder, makes me just so joyful! I love spring...

Speaking of spring... I think Mario (our Bunny friend) has gone and gotten married and moved in with his wife because he is no longer calling our house his home! :o( I just hope he is hoping along and happy!!!

So, enough of my springtime ramblings... time to leave you with a quote... "Keep an eye out for the adventures in life that await you"... life is all about the living, and if you plan too much (yes, there is such a thing...) then sometimes you miss the fun stuff. I was telling Derek this just the other day. When we were in Peru, some of the neatest stories we have are ones that we didn't plan... like the Riot Squad police officer and the paragliding, those are moments you take with you through out your life... those are the moments that I cherish and love and hold so dear. Like when we were in Euro Disney (once we found it after being lost in rural France) and I sat in a pile of "Tiggers" or the Sunflower fields in Italy or the beer drinking in the pub in Oberammergau or the "who the **** is Alice" in Amsterdam (Dad)... those are the moments I laugh about and love when I think back on my travels! I am addicted to the road less traveled. Those of you who know me well, know that I am pretty straight laced (in fact my mom says that I put arrows to shame), and I am little on the 'it has to be organized' side... but there are times that I just break free from my addiction to planning and go where the wind takes me and I have such a great time... I hope that as I get older and travel more that I take more time to 'keep an eye out for the adventure' because that is what makes life this fun, crazy, wild ride.... :o)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Heather and the Hare

So... I got the oddest call this morning from Derek. He was calling because there was this rabbit that had been sitting there since he had gotten home the night before. He said that this rabbit didn't move when he went near it. I told him to wait and not do anything and see if it is still there when he gets back from work.

So, when I get home, Derek immediately asks if I saw the bunny. I go out and check to see if he is still there and in fact he is. He is sitting there, terrified and frozen. I walk around him, making sure that he isn't hurt and doesn't have any traps or something attached to him. I got pretty close too... maybe 20 feet, it was weird! I go back in the house and start making calls. I eventually get a hold of this conservation society and they say they are sending out a volunteer and he should be at our house shortly. In the mean time they instruct me to put holes in a box and put it on top of the bunny... so, I grab Derek (because the bunny is actually freaking me out and all I can think of is Monty Python's "killer bunny"... It's just a little bunny... AHHHHHH, runaway, runaway!) and we grab a box, put holes in it and go down to put the box on the little critter. I scootch up to it and almost have the box on top of him when he hops away a little. I figure that he will totally freak out if I put the box on him so I don't do it, and we go back into the house to await the arrival of the volunteer.

Dan, volunteer extraordinaire and biologist, arrives shortly after the box episode. He gets his gear ready, a big net (looks like he's going fishin!) and a box with a blanket in it. He gets me to follow him with the box and we together look like Elmer Fudd and gang "Hunting Wabbits!". A sight to see I am sure. So... we sneak up to bunny, tip toe really, and almost put the net down on him when he casually hops away.... so, we sneak up again, almost ready.... he hops away... this must be a bunny game, fun for them but frustrating for us! After 3 attempts at this, Dan decides that it is just not going to happen. The rabbit (or Hare as I was corrected many times) seems to be fine, and is not preggers (we could see his belly, no babies are in there for sure!). So, Dan says that Hares are creatures of habit (haha, rabbits are creatures of habits!!! sorry!) and that we should just let him be and he will be fine. There was probably a coyote that has been lurking around and coyotes don't typically go near buildings, clever bunny!

Now, we have a pet rabbit that remains outdoors, visits when he wants and we don't have to feed. I love this pet! His name is Mario! He is wonderful as I don't have to take care of him and he loves me... I think! I hope you liked my little random story... it was just too bizzaro not to share! Cheers!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Travels to the Desert!

It is funny how you find yourself standing at the edge of fear, looking it in the eye, swearing it will not conquer you and then in one brief moment when you loose your concentration, you loose the battle... fear wins. It only takes a moment of doubt, a moment when you look away from the goal, the moment you wander and in that moment, that millisecond you lose and fear takes over. THIS, in a nutshell, explains my fifth attempt at skydiving. I say attempt because I made it in the plane, to 13,000 ft and then froze, I was gripping the bench I was sitting on so tight that had I actually jumped, I am sure the bench would have gone with me. Yuppers, this girl is still at 4 jumps and might stay there forever. My goal is to jump solo, but that is just a preference and not a requirement to be knocked off the bucket list!

The rest of the trip to AZ was spectacular (and once Derek gets home with all the photos I will post some!). It was a relaxing, sun soaking, book reading, parachute packing good time! We managed to go to the Pima Air and Space Museum where we checked out all the planes of old, including JFK's Air Force One. This was the same Air Force One that they brought his body back in and I can honestly say I felt some weird vibes as I stepped in. It was more of a looming doom than a horrible spirit feeling I think, but there were spirits all over the place that day. Some in the Bomber memorial, that sat in a friendly, reminiscent way. It was a great time checking out planes that have brought us to the brink of technology and advancement in transportation. We also went to the Missile Silo where there was a nuclear missile (disarmed of course) that was one of many created in case the Russians attacked during the cold war. It was fascinating to see the way the cold war was described in America, almost like it was not their fault and that the Russians made them do it. Like "Mutually Assured Destruction" was something to boast about. It was eye opening and educational. A wonderful day! I was able to visit my uncle and aunt in Gold Canyon (Near Phoenix) and had a great supper with them. They made sure that I was not going home empty handed and was given fresh fruit from their trees and leftovers... who could resist? The next highlight was the hot air balloon ride. This was spectacular and terrifying all rolled into one! The view was amazing and it is unreal to think that the only thing holding you up is the hot air in the balloon and a wicker basket. Apparently that was just too much for some as they decided it would be fun to jump out of the basket... They had their full gear on, and on the count of three one by one they disappeared, only to be found again on the ground....... it was the craziest thing I think I have ever seen, totally wild and scary but incredibly luring as I am now curious as to what that feels like!!! One thing is for sure, I have to jump out of a few more planes to get that privilege!

The one big highlight for me was the wind tunnel. This is a machine that simulates free fall up to 90% while not having to jump out of a plane. It is an amazing learning tool as every minute in the tunnel is equivalent to one skydive. I managed to get about 45 mins in the tunnel which made me much more comfy with how I feel flying around. I have much more control than an average skydiving student now, I should hope so with the time in the tunnel!!! :o) Having just watched the footage again, it is miraculous how much one can improve in just minutes, but when you think about it... skydivers have to work their butts off to get that kind of time in a season and I had it in 4 days! When Derek gets back I will try to post some footage so that all can see how much I have improved! :o) I call this wind tunnel my new boyfriend... :o)

Until next time my friends, I have clearly run out of words! Not something that happens everyday but every once and a while... I bid you Adieu and I will leave you with this quote... it is something I have been pondering since my 'botched exit' many days ago. It is because of my belief in this quote that I don't think this is the last time I will do it... "Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed" ~ Booker T. Washington... I hope that in all of your lives, your successes are as true, exhilarating and humbling as your failures!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I feel fine!

Tonight was the Michael Buble concert... WOW is all I have to say! Thanks Mom and Dad for a truly fantastic birthday present... It was a great show, and as you know great music!

The concert was full of great music, but I think it was the comedy that was most shocking... I literally laughed until my cheeks hurt. He was entertaining and sincere and cheesy funny (which I think is my favorite kind). He spent a lot of time introducing his band and the musicians, and let them play without him for a song so that they too were showcased. It was quite humble of him I think, in that he knows without his band and without them being remarkable musicians, he would not be who he is today. It is nice to know that a singer appreciates his band! The last song of his encore, he put his mike down and sang without amplification, he projected to the rafters, and I didn't know that the Saddledome filled with 14,000 people could be so quiet. It was inspiring and uplifting... I really did enjoy the concert.

Not many know this, in fact I would be shocked if ANYONE who read my blog knew this... About 3 Christmas' ago... (WOW)... Michael Buble hit it big with his song "Home". I instantly fell in love with his sound as it was unique to me... but alas, I was not allowed to listen to him in 'my house' at the time. When I went home for Christmas that year, I got his CD from my parents... I listened to it all the time, almost everyday... it was soothing and inspiring to me, and it felt like freedom. The song "I feel fine" most specifically in that the chorus had the lyrics "It's a new dawn, a new day, a new life for me... and I feel fine"... It became my secret motto (or my theme song for those old Ally McBeal fans out there). It pulled me through and inspired me to trek through some of the hardest times in my life.

This, along with my love for his music of course, is why this concert meant a whole lot more to me than was intended. Not only was this a great gift Mom and Dad, It was a great reminder of how far I've come, how hard I've worked and how happy I truly am with the "NEW LIFE" I began that winter. I couldn't have done it without the support of my family, but I wouldn't have had the "I feel fine" mentality if it wasn't for Michael Buble. What a great night......... :o)

Monday, January 14, 2008

The "Bucket List"

I am hoping that this year is full of new beginings, happiness, adventure and just a regular good life... That is my goal! How am I going to get there you ask....... good question!

Derek and I watched the movie "the Bucket List" last night. I thought it was great... it was funny and inspiring and touching. I said to Derek as we drove home that I wonder how many people are going to go home and write a "bucket list" of their own... and then I remembered mine!

In grade 9, Mr. White inspired a few of us by a story he told us about a man who had a list of all the things he wanted to do before he died. I can't quite recall all the details, but I do remember that the moral was to not leave anything left unsaid or undone. This inspired me to write a list of my own, and it included such things as see the Eiffel tower, or graduate University (or skydive... it was on my list even back then!)... I can still remember the first time I could check something off... when I went to France when I was 16. It was remarkable to have been able to have a dream and then achieve it. I had forgotten about this list until I moved to Calgary. I have since lost my original list so I wrote a new one... this included things like hike the Inca Trail, quit smoking, write a childrens book, run a marathon, apply to law school, see the pyramids... there are about 25-30 things on this new list... and slowly, step by step, I am crossing them off...

There was a line in the movie where one of the characters tells the other character about Egyptian heaven. When you get to the gates of heaven, they ask you 2 questions... "Did you have joy in your life?" and "Did you bring joy to others"... oh what a world this would be if we could all just aspire to answer those questions. Life is so much more when you have people to share it with, partners, family, friends. Life is a sum of your experiences... and what a boring life it would be if you had no one to share your successes and joys with, or had noone to help you when you were having a hard time... life would be all that much harder! I think we should all be inspired to live life with passion. There isn't enough passion in the world anymore. "Only passions, Great passions, can elevate the soul to great things" - Denis Diderot. I charge you to live life with passion this year, and do the things you have always wanted to do, go ahead and knock off some of the things on your "Bucket List" and when that list is done, start over... the fun is in the journey!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Welcome 2008

It is with a big smile, and sore legs that I wish you all a very happy New Year!

I participated in the "resolution Run" put on by the Running Room which took place at on the 31st of December... it was an exhausting experience, but so rewarding... I hardly walked, and when I did it was because it was slippery or because there were too many people on the path and they slowed me down. The entire run was a little slow partly because of the weather and slippery conditions (I think it was around -14C... brrr!). I came in at 57:25 which is slow but without training and the weather being iffy, I think it was great that I could finish! So, next goal on the road of running is to do a 10K... I know that one is coming up around St. Patricks day, and I might just sign up for that. I am also signing up for the 10K training class they hold at the running room on Wednesday's (i think). Step by step I am getting closer to that goal of a marathon... you know what they said... Rome wasn't built in a day.

Christmas was nice... It was good to relax and rest and eat our faces off! It was good to see the family too! I was happy to show Derek around the town that I essentially grew up in. Although we didn't get the coveted picture of Derek by the inukshuk... we had a good time touring the town, seeing old friends, going for a hike to the falls, and going on Derek's first skidoo ride... it was great! We got to see the two princesses and spend some QT with the family playing games until we couldn't anymore... it was a nice relaxing time. Christmas always goes to fast for my liking, but it can't be Christmas all year round!

Other than that, it was a great rest, and now back to the grind anticipating great things for my career and my life, as well as Derek and I's life together. I hope that this year brings another amazing trip, perhaps a house, and a multitude of great adventures (happy or otherwise). A quote for you to ponder on if I may... "Each new day is a new page in the diary of your life. The secret of success is in turning that diary into the best story you possibly can." - Douglas Pagels. Happy New year everyone, I wish you all the happiness, adventure, friendship, laughter and joy you can possibly handle in one year!