Monday, August 31, 2009

Vacation Snapshots: The 'I Finally Uploaded Them to Flickr' Series

Willow in front of some huge leaves in Beacon Hill Park:


Me and Dharma:


Beautiful fuschia flowers in front of the ice cream shop outside of Beacon Hill Park:


When did she get so big?


Tara's 3 year old daughter, Nuala, has a thing for cameras - so I let her use mine to take a picture of Willow - not bad at all!


Fountain statues near City Hall in Victoria:




Friendship Gate outside of Chinatown in Victoria:


The Silver Pearl (this is really cool because it is floating in water and you can spin it around):




Will: Go ahead, take my picture, I dare you:


What are you doing, Mama?


Matching cousins:


There are more pictures on Willow's camera, but I haven't even emptied out the carry on bags yet...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Vacation Snapshots - Last Full Day

Well. This hasn't been quite the vacation I envisioned all summer - one of the drawbacks of pooling your vacation into one lump sum. Last year's vacation was virtually rained out, and that was my main concern for this year's vacation. My sister Teri and I were checking out the long range weather forecast every day, and were so happy at the sunny weather that was predicted for our time on the Island.

Never in a million years did I think we would all get sick. Who gets sick on vacation?!!

We've had some good times - as hectic as it is when the whole family gets together, I love it. I love seeing my niece and nephews so I can hug and squeeze them enough to last me until the next summer. I love spending time near the lake and I dearly love going to Victoria - a town I once thought I would move back to when I had finished my stint in Japan. Silly me never saw myself getting married, much less to someone from the East Coast.

Whenever I come to the end of my vacation, I always think about what I want to do differently next time - don't get me wrong, it doesn't stem from a feeling of disatisfaction - but rather simply improvement.

Here goes:

1) Load up on freakin' Airborne before getting on the plane. Okay, maybe there is a bit of disatisfaction here. We flew from Philly through Houston into Vancouver, and there were H1N1 signs everywhere - very Big Brother-ish ("Is your neighbor coughing and sneezing? Please report them to the nearest airline counter." I kid you not.) I thought it was all very paranoid until I got sick three days after being here. Then I remembered the woman who sat behind me who sneezed 15 times in a row and twittered/giggled to herself each time. For the record, we do not have H1N1 - they tested us.

2) Tie-dye the t-shirts when everyone is still here so everyone gets to have Incredible Hulk green hands. Be more careful with the placement of the elastic bands so you don't end up with a starburst over one boob.

3) Do more local things - like pick blackberries (shh! Don't tell my Dad I said that!), cook with local foods, go to local events. It was great being here during blackberry season this year - you could just smell blackberries in the air everywhere. I just liked picking them and popping them into my mouth - do you know how much blackberries cost for a pint in Delaware?!?

4) Spend more time individually with Dharma, Hunter, and William. I did get plenty of time with Dharma this time around because Teri and I were here the longest, but I want to spend more time with Jaime's boys. I grew up with my aunts, uncles and cousins all within a very tight radius, and I feel bad that I only get to see these kids for a few short days every year, because they all change and grow up so fast.

5) Take Willow to the West Coast of the Island. A long time ago when we were still in university, Teri and I went camping on Long Beach on the West Coast of the Island and it was so wild and beautiful. It is a bit of a trek to get out there, but it is so worth it.

6) Go to Victoria not on a Monday so I can actually go to the Beehive Wool Shop when it is open! Why are yarn stores closed on Mondays??! I went to Loom (no website), a yarn store in Whippletree Junction and it just wasn't the same - I always seem to have an off experience when I go there (like when Willow was 4 and the owner demanded I leave Willow outside because she didn't want children in the store.) This time I bought some Fleece Artist merino sock yarn. It was slightly tangled, and I asked it I could have it wound. The clerk looked at me askance and said, "No!" Silly me - I thought she was joking. I teased back, "You do have a swift and winder in here, don't you?" She said, "Yes, but it you want to use it, you will have to buy it!" WTF? I've never been to a LYS where they haven't offered this service if they sell yarn in skeins.

I'm sure there are so many other things - going tubing on the Cowichan River, spend more time walking around Victoria, drive up to Qualicum/Parksville - I would need so much more time to do them all. And win a lottery or two. And encourage the development of Star Trek-style transporters so I don't have to be exposed to other people's germs while traveling. All good things.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Vacation Snapshots: Honeymoon Bay Market and Belly-Dancing

Throughout most of spring and summer, there is a open farmer's market here in Honeymoon Bay, with people selling everything from bread to clothing to jewelry to vegetables - even reflexology services! My parents are busy most of the week preparing stuff for this market (my Dad with his woodworking and my Mom with her baking, cooking, and sewing), and it definitely has grown since its inception. There is even a little chapel on site now and it has become quite the mecca for people to come to get married because of the name of the town.

This weekend, a belly-dancing troupe came to give a performance, and we were even lucky enough to see them rehearse last night (and Willow learned a few moves as well). Here they are:

Jo's 2009 Vacation 107

You can see the community gardens behind the dancers - and if you look into the distance, you can see the lake as well.

Here is Willow learning how to dance:

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And Dharma decided the chapel needed a thorough sweeping - which she enjoyed until she tripped over the broom and landed on her behind and startled herself.

Jo's 2009 Vacation 106

We had a bit of excitement here this morning as well. We were still at home when one of the neighbours ran over from the market saying my Dad needed some benadryl quick. My Dad is allergic to bee stings, so we thought that was why he needed it - there are wasps *everywhere* here. A few minutes later, it comes across the scanner (my Dad is a firefighter and first responder so the scanner is always on in the house) that an ambulance is heading into town because of an extreme allergic reaction. My Mom flies out of the house, leaving me with Willow and Dharma. I pack us up, get the stroller, and the three of us walk to the market. I see Dad and tease him about needing some more attention, and it turns out it was someone else. Some guy got stung three times on his neck, tried to drive and nearly crashed his car into a ditch. Scary!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Vacation Snapshots - Honeymoon Bay

Riding in the firetruck:

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Everyone with Papa:

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Everyone (except me) into the lake:

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Dharma's favourite place to be:

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Blackberries everywhere - along the side of the road, in people's fences, all ready for snacking:

Jo's 2009 Vacation 073

Time with the cousins:

Jo's 2009 Vacation 067


If you haven't been following on Facebook, I got sick within a day or two of being here - fever, chills, impaired breathing, nasty cough. I went to the clinic today and was diagnosed with bronchitis. So, now I have some horse pill antibiotics and I hope to start feeling better soon. I did not intend to spend my vacation sick in bed - even if it is a place as nice as Vancouver Island!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Vacation Snapshots - Victoria

Two Canadian girls married to Americans and living in the US:

Four American girls of Canadian mothers pretending they are a totem pole:

And Willow in the snazziest pants she has ever owned, all courtesy of Tara:

Tara and I have known each other since we were 12, and it is just happenstance that we both ended up married to Americans and becoming ex-pats. And Bezzie, see how I had the hoodie tied around my waist? It's because it was cool enough in the morning (maybe 60'F) when we set out in the morning that I needed it. Don't hate me!

More pictures to come later when I have a chance to upload them to Flickr. And for the record, Jaime was the only one who noticed I have lost weight! She says it is because she is the good sister and she reads my blog... notice all that exercise!?!? Trust me, I will be definitely going back to that when I get home.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Something New

Jo 8709a

Notice it yet?

Back of hair 8709

How about now?

Andrew's pic of Jo 8709

Last chance!

I went in to get my hair cut today and the hairdresser offered to blow out my hair - to make it straight. I've never had anyone do that (I mean, I think I have a picture from university when Tara actually ironed my hair with a clothes iron), so I agreed to be her test subject. It's too bad I didn't get a picture of the between steps, because she completely blow dried it without product before she used the hot iron and I had the biggest, poofiest hair you could imagine. Apparently my hair isn't easy to straighten - for all of it being voluminous and curly, it's actually very fine and fly-away. Had it been coarser it would have been a quicker progress.

Jo 8709d

My husband is quite enchanted - says I can do this again whenever I like. I just may take him up on that offer.

(And yes, for the record, no make up was worn in these pictures. And I am 36 years old and feeling pretty good about myself today.)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Well, Jeez...

You don't have to get pushy about it!