Friday, February 26, 2010

Our Olympic Day

Harv and I and our friends headed to Vancouver On Tuesday to take in some of the Olympic fever. Although the rain started around noon, we still had a great day walking the streets and poking our heads into some of the various venues.
Here are a few pictures of our day.

It was neat to see the city all decked out in Canadian Flags. Who ever said we weren't patriotic?

We watched a street performer at Robson Square. There were LiveCity events, the zip line humming overhead and the jugglers and musicians entertaining the crowds. Lots of vendors, very friendly security guards, police and tourist information people mingled with the thousands of red and white and maple leaf clad visitors. Anyone NOT wearing red stood out. As a British reporter said yesterday," Do Canadians have anything else in their wardrobes?"

Hundreds of paper lanterns decorated by children adorned these whimsical Lantern trees.

While taking pictures of the cauldron, we were fortunate to have the RCMP Musical Ride members line up in front for a photo op. Their glossy black horses and distinctive red Serge added class to the fantastic scenery.

Do you think they knew we were coming?
These attractive turquoise/blue and green banners decorated the barriers and venues.

When we saw the lines to get into the Canadian Mint, we were quite content to have our picture taken with a comemorative quarter.

The crowds lined up in front of the Canadian Mint where the largest gold medal is on display.
This line was a block long - times 3!

Posing as Canada's bobsled champions

Yeah!! Canada Scores again! What fun to join hundreds of other fans watching Canada defeat the German team in hockey. There wasn't an reserved or apathetic Canadian in sight.

Before leaving the city Harv took this picture of the Science Centre. It houses the Russian Pavillion which closed at 4:30 - half an hour before we got there! The upside was we didn't have to wait in a lineup, and we got to see "Inukshuk Beach"

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Winter Gardening

The weather here in the lower mainland of BC has been so warm with unmistakable signs of spring in the yard that one can't resist a little early gardening. Because we'd been gallavanting in Europe in September and October, I didn't get the fall cleanup completed before the rains started so it was time to finish that.
Raking up the maple leaves and keys in the back flowerbed was imperative to make it possible for the young plant shoots to find the sun.
The beds looks much better now.
A fire to burn away all the debris. It smells so nice and makes it feel like spring.
Once the beds are cleaned up there are bright signs of spring everywhere.

The honeysuckle is coming out in leaves already - does it need to be pruned?
The irises and snowdrops make a nice showing in the late afternoon sunlight.

And yes, that daffodil has bloomed earlier than ever before. Plus there are a few potted primulas that need to be planted. If I do that, they may bloom once more.

The sun is setting and it's getting cold - a reminder that it is only February! It's still more than likely that we'll get a cold snap before Spring arrives in earnest. Here's hoping it doesn't get too cold or we may be losing a few of these early bloomers.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Scrapbooking Retreat

This past weekend I headed out to Columbia Valley up above Cultus Lake for our bi-annual Scrapbooking retreat. My good friend Jan has been organizing these weekends for more than 10 years and we all look forward to them. We rent the Dogwood Lodge at Stillwood Camp and Conference Centre where we have a large room with lots of tables and light. Upstairs there are dorm rooms for sleeping and we are royally fed by the camp staff in their lovely dining room overlooking Cultus Lake. We can't carpool up to the camp because we all take so much with us that we each need our own vehicle to accomodate all the equipment necessary (?!) for scrapbooking.

Once we've unpacked all our gear, we get right down to work.
When a page is completed, it is held up for all to enjoy. Some gals are making albums featuring their grandkids.

Others are building memory books for their grown up children.

Me - I'm still making travel albums. I haven't gotten organized enough yet to start on the albums I'd like to do - there are years of negatives to go through. So I go back to chronicling our road trip to Newfoundland several years ago. It is almost finished now after this weekend ( I completed 28 pages!). Hopefully when the next retreat rolls around in October, I'll have the pictures sorted and ready to start on my kid's albums.

So here's a sampling of the pages I did.

Saturday afternoon, I had visitors! Harv came up bringing our kids and grandkids from Seattle with him. We made fun cards for them using my new "Cricut" machine,

and then headed up the trail for a hike. We found treehouses with ladders to climb and rope bridges

and the children had lots of fun in the playground before heading back home. It was fun to have them come a visit.
It is a real gift to have friends with similar passions, and to be able to get to know new friends as well. We compared notes, asked for and gave advice, checked out each other's tools and paper, caught up on each others' lives, laughed, ate chocolate, and even cried once or twice.
Thanks Jan for all the planning and organizing that made our weekend so fun and productive. We can hardly wait for the next one.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Time ....

I've been wrestling lately with time management. This is an old battle which rears its head every so often and I'm still not sure how to win it. It especially plagues me when the new year comes around as it is always on the top of my resolution list. ie:"This year I will be disciplined in my use of time"

The way I see it, the things I fill my time with can be grouped in 3 categories.

First there are the things that have to be done or they visibly pile up and seriously disturb my peace. They are my responsiblity at this time in my life.

Things like:
  • making meals
  • washing dishes
  • keeping ahead of the dust and clutter in the house- there's always something that needs doing to keep the space we live in comfortable and inviting
  • loads of laundry (I still do Harv's laundry - after all he keeps the car maintained for me)
  • gardening and yard work
  • and of course all the personal maintenance that increases with age
    My work in the office also falls in this category - apparently I get paid for this (at least that's what the accountant tells me) - I mostly enjoy this - it's good to be involved in our business.
  • paying bills
  • sending out invoices
  • keeping records
  • banking and filing, etc.
The next category could be titled "things I really need to do but don't always make a priority" Things like:
  • exercising or walking
  • reading my Bible
  • visiting the elderly and shut in
  • reading to learn and enlarge my mind
  • gardening (this definately falls in more than one category)
  • entertaining and cooking for friends (another 2 category item)
Then there are the "Things I want to do" category. These are the kinds of things I am always stealing time from the other categories for and then feeling guilty about.

  • card making
  • spending time with kids and grandkids (this is guilt free fun- and becomes my top priority each time they come over)
  • scrapbooking
  • sorting through pictures and negatives so I have something to scrapbook!
  • entertaining and cooking for friends
  • on line stuff - blogging, reading blogs, emailing
  • reading for pure entertainment
  • having coffee/lunch with friends
  • shopping and bumbering with friends
  • holidaying, motorcycling and boating with Harv
  • watching a movie ( very low on the list but still there)

This year I decided to try to take Thursdays for this last category. My reasoning is that I may never have guilt free time to tackle this list if I don't dedicate time to it.

But then I remember that my time is not my own. God has given me a set amount of time, just as He has everyone else and my priority should be doing what He calls me to do.

I'm afraid I don't always listen and obey and perhaps that is why I have this ongoing battle with time.

I am grateful that God is not a joyless slave driver -
He created us with talents and desires;
instilled in us the need for work and play;
the ability to give our job our all out effort
and the ability to lay back and enjoy our rest;
the fortitude for self sacrifice and the abandonment to pure pleasure.

Lord, be my time manager.
Direct me to the activities that most honour and glorify You.
Fill my hours and minutes with worthwhile things.
Give me satisfaction in hard work,
perserverance in mundane tasks,
and delight in play and creativity.
Keep me committed to making time for relationships
with You - first and foremost,
with my family and friends,
and with those You bring across my path.
I place my time in Your hands Lord.