Monday, April 18, 2011

The View From Here Isn't So Bad After All

So off we went to Harrison Hot Springs so that I could turn 50 with a modicum of grace (and a whole lotta wine).
Oh - and the best husband in the world.
And - and a handful of really lovely friends.
Oh! and my brand new iPad2 (see above "the best husband in the world")
(I would post a photo of it, but that would just be showing off)

I finally figured out how I want to mark this momentous birthday. Rather than having a large, blow out birthday party involving a whole slough of people, I decided that I wanted to spend the next many months having small gatherings.

50 dinners.

Yup. THAT'S what I want.... so that I can actually spend meaningful, one on one time with people.

And in reality, they don't actually have to be dinners. I guess what I REALLY want is 50 gatherings with all of the amazing people in my life.

The first dinner was a lunch. Mister Man and I drove out to the Fraser Valley, where Bob 'n Mer had prepared a lovely lunch for us.

I really appreciated it. Even though Mister Man brought me my favourite birthday breakfast (coffee and chocolate cake) in bed, AND followed that up with 5 musical birthday cards (including an accordion playing chicken that played the chicken dance when you cracked it open), I still felt an awful ache when I didn't get to talk to the Mums.... But being surrounded by love helped soothe the ache. And soon, we were pulling into one of my favourite places in BC.

Mister Man kind of looks like he belongs here, doesn't he?

We checked in, and much to our delight, we discovered that there was a rather special convention happening right under our noses...

Oh bless us all. There was a SASQUATCH convention happening in our hotel!!! The Sasquatch Summit!! While the admission was a little steep, we were confident in our ability to soak up the Sasquatch vibes that were floating around our heads. So we headed up to our room where a bottle of champagne was cooling on ice.

If I'd known that turning 50 would be like this, I might not have been dragging my heels.... We finished our champers and headed out for a stroll.

This wasn't our hotel, but I kind of loved the retro vibe....

And we decided to wait for Annie and Lara over drinks in the bar. Mister Man ordered this beer. It's as big as his head!

And soon after we'd settled, Annie and Lara joined us. After having beverages, we headed out to the local Schnitzel House for birthday dinner #2.

Dinner was delicious. How they get that pork schnitzel to be so thin and crispy, I'll never know.
What I DO know is that following up dinner with a soak in the hot springs relaxed us all. I wanted to bring my camera down to the hot spring. I also wanted to bring my iPad (along with my "waterproof case"). Okay, the waterproof case was just an extra large zip lock baggie.... Mister Man implied that if I (a rather clumsy girl at the best of times) was to go sit in the hot springs with all of my rather valuable electronics...well, he'd be forced to take all of my toys away from me. Suffice it to say that I have no photos of the hot springs....

The next day saw a leisurely breakfast, a soak in the hot springs, and several heated rounds of Quiddler. We also spent some time shopping in the Sasquatch convention store. Annie scored.

And Lara, happily scored in Quiddler.

Our games were framed by the arrival of Susan and Diyan, who had commissioned a song for me for my special day. A SONG, people!! I have a song that was written for me!!!

And after we all had a plunge in the hot springs, we followed up with a round of Scattegories and beverages in our room before we all rushed away and got ready for Dinner # 3in The Copper Room. We all got a bit tarted up.

And after dinner, we digested in the pool. Now I realize that you're supposed to wait an hour before swimming, but one can hardly say that "laying in the pool like a bloated whale" is even remotely related to "swimming". Oh what fun we had. The next morning saw Mister Man and Diyan slipping away to go Sasquatch hunting. And hey - they'd managed to pick up lots of leads (and maps) from the Sasquatch convention. Some of us chose to stay back so that we could lay about in the tub and do absolutely nothing.

Following breakfast, we had a massive game of Quiddler in the lobby.

Do you think they just let me win because it was my birthday?

But moments after the ridiculously high score by moi, I glanced up o see this truly post modern image in front of me. Yes, gentle readers, they are ALL reading their cell phones. Dear God, I still remember the day before cell phones....

And what I remember even more than the day before cell phones, is this amazing birthday. Dear friends and family - you DO take the sting out of this thing called aging..... Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

I'm sitting here on the eve of my birthday with Mister Man and a lovely glass of vino - looking back, gazing forward. And whoa-ho-ho, it's a doozy of a birthday. I'm about to roll over into a new decade. I now have to bid adieu to my 40's and *gulp* walk through the door that says "All ye who are 50, enter here". Yikes. How did that even happen? Wasn't I just 23 years old and completely irresponsible? And now I'm one hour away from the big five zero. Life. *snort of derision*

Of course the magnitude of this is amplified by the recent loss of the Mums. I can't imagine not speaking to her tomorrow - not hearing her voice croon in my ear and her laughter as I grump about getting creaky and not reading her birthday letter which was always so beautifully sentimental (I do come by it honestly)....

It's all been a bit surreal in the past few weeks and the only thing that's helped me get through each day are the amazing family members and friends who have poured nothing but vats of love into my universe.

First of all, before we left Newfoundland, a group of friends in Vancouver got together and put together the most amazing care package, filled with supportive and loving notes and all kinds of delectable goodies. They sent it priority post to Torbay, Newfoundland, and I can't tell you how much I appreciated the moment during the return flight home when I opened a package of pink grapefruit gummy bears. For a few brief moments, everything seemed right with the universe.

I went back to work, my amazing and loving colleagues had put together another care package. And they understood my initial need to stay close to my desk and hardly speak above a whisper. They were so supportive....

And then, bit by bit, we started getting back to our life here. We headed downtown one night to see Diyan's video installation playing on a large outdoor screen on Granville Street.

We were SO proud!!

And bit by bit, we could travel further afield (though the homing chip in my brain is still might intense, and most nights I just want to be home with Mister Man). One night we ventured out to White Rock for a candlelight dinner in honour of Earth Hour. We ate like royalty and painted with light.

And the next morning, we headed out with Lori and Shayne for a fabulous breakfast at a local diner.
Lori looks a tad concerned because Mister Man ordered Haggis (and it wasn't even Robbie Burns day!)
We went to BBQ Club. I was even the featured BBQ chef (and for those who know me, you know I don't have a CLUE about the BBQ, so I chose to do the only thing I know how to do.

Yep. Them there's DAWGS....

But it turned out rather deliciously...

And that's where I am at 11:46 on the eve of my birthday. I can say that friends and family have pulled me through - and for that, I am profoundly grateful.....

See you in the next decade.