Saturday, June 28, 2014

Happiness In Six Things

The past two weeks have been rough.  Really rough.  Being on strike and at major odds with one's employer is never fun.  It is emotionally draining.  Thank goodness for my wonderful colleagues who kept my spirits buoyed!  And the public's support was a balm on my weary soul.

Today marks the first day of my summer holidays!  Yippee!  To celebrate this auspicious occasion, I decided to look for six things that make me happy.  And here are my findings....


This guy.  This guy always make me happy.  He is about to embark on a lengthy backpacking trip around Europe.  And the best part is that he's going to meet up with Joe and I in August to spend time with us in Spain.


Hanging out with these guys also makes me happy.  These characters are always good for a belly laugh or two.  Or ten.


The Sea-to-Sky Gondola never ceases to make me smile.


My roses always give me joy.

And to think I was considering chopping this rambling rose down!

I love nothing more than to cut a large bouquet of roses to either bring inside the house or give to a friend.


Celebrating a milestone birthday with this beauty.


Watching my cat sunbathe on her back while lying on the couch. 

What makes you happy?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Diner en Blanc x 3

It was a beautiful evening last night.

A perfect night for our third 'Diner en Blanc'.  We gathered some friends and led them on a goose chase through the streets of Brackendale to a secret location where we would spend the evening eating, drinking and making merry.

The venue could not have been more stunning.  Swaths of lawn, gnarled apple trees, a pond, a fire pit and towering fir trees with the Tantalus Mountains serving as the backdrop.

A gorgeous setting for our Diner en Blanc...

...provided by our gracious hosts.

There were smiles...

...and tablecloth mishaps involving fire.

There was laughing...

...and balloons for everyone.

There were sparklers...

...and food for sharing.

There was eating...

...and sitting around the fire.

But most importantly, there was friendship.

Thank you everyone for making our third annual Diner en Blanc so successful.  It was another great night of making memories.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Master of Library and Information Science

Master degrees are beginning to run in my family.  Not that I have one, mind you, but two of my favourite people do.

Joe graduated with a Master of Science Degree in Math (Statistics) from the University of Washington in 1990.

Why did eyeglasses in the late '80s need to cover half a person's face, I ask you?

A happy graduate with his little family in 1990.  Who knew then that Molly (far left) would follow in her father's footsteps 24 years later? 

This past week we celebrated with Molly as she realized a long held dream of hers; to earn a master degree and become a librarian.

Joe and I flew to Toronto late on Tuesday night and drove with Molly and one of her BFFs Robin through the wee hours of the morning to London, Ontario.  We arrived in London at 3:00am, a little worse for wear, but very excited.

"We love it that we are only going to get 4 hours of sleep before Molly's big day tomorrow!"

After a 7:00am wake-up call, we beautified ourselves and headed over to the University of Western Ontario's gorgeous campus.

Ivy league y'all.

The convocation ceremony was beautiful.  It was held in a lovely venue, the few speeches that were given were heartfelt and inspiring, each graduate knelt before the chancellor to be 'hooded' by a professor and it was over in an hour and a half!  My kind of ceremony.

Molly (centre) kneeling in front of the university chancellor and hooded by her Public Libraries professor.

Master of Library and Information Science

The rest of the day was spent celebrating.

Very proud parents.

Best friends forever.

Posing with a tree.

Kisses for da baby!

The wall of fame.

Thug life.

Once all the photos were taken, the festivities (eating and drinking) began in earnest.

Lunch in London with some of Molly's classmates and their families.

 Molly and her former roommate Katrina.

Molly and her God-dog June Carter Cash.

The girls on the streets of London.

And then there's this guy, Robin's cat Boris.

Dinner with Molly and some of her best buds at 'Bent' in downtown Toronto.

Tears were flowing a few minutes after this photo was taken the next morning.

After a scant 36 hours it was already time to say good-bye.

And the icing on the cake?  MOLLY RECEIVED A JOB OFFER LATER ON THAT DAY!  Starting in August, she will be a children's librarian at Branksome Hall, an International Baccalaureate independent girls school (K-12) in downtown Toronto!

Molly, we are so very proud of you and your accomplishments.  You live your life by example.  You have followed your dream, worked hard, persevered through the difficult times and have an incredibly bright future.  We couldn't be more happy for you.

Enjoy every minute of this newest chapter in your life.  Toronto is lucky to have you as its most recent citizen!

Love you,


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Colleagues AND Friends

I am a very lucky teacher.  And I work with some of the best colleagues in the world.  Not only that, they are also my friends.  That is a rare combination nowadays.

Not only do we share the ups and downs of our jobs, we also spend time together outside of school hours.  We walk every Tuesday afternoon without fail.  And on Thursday afternoons you can find most of us laying on our yoga mats in my classroom.

This weekend, our Tuesday walking group was invited up to Anderson Lake to celebrate a retirement and a birthday.  It was a time for toasts and telling stories from rewarding careers; food and boat rides; wine and laughter.

I am one lucky teacher to call these women my friends.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Down Then Up

As you may know, the teachers in British Columbia are embroiled in yet another battle with the provincial government.  I won't climb onto my soapbox for very long, but suffice it to say the teachers are involved in rotating strikes as we seek improvements in learning conditions for our students.  And yes, a raise would also be nice as our current salaries are less (in today's dollars) than a decade ago.

On Friday, the teachers in the Sea-to-Sky school district were out walking the picket lines in front of their schools.  We had lots of vehicles honking in support.  Families stopped by with drinks and doughnuts; home-made muffins and handwritten notes of encouragement.

Halfway through my shift, a car slowed down in front of us.  The old man inside rolled down the passenger window, leaned towards us and yelled, "YOU'RE JUST A BUNCH OF OVERPAID BITCHES!"

Our jaws dropped.

That ignorant comment was certainly a punch to the gut.

My colleagues are some of the hardest working, passionate, compassionate and caring professionals I am privileged to know.

How dare he call us down like that?  Disagree with us.  Fine.  Go right ahead.  But let's have some intelligent discourse on the subject, not yelling misogynist insults from a moving car.

THAT was the downer of my day.

But have no fear.  It went up from there!

Later that evening I joined a couple of friends at a Squamish Valley Artists fund-raiser.  We sat out on the sunny patio of Match Eatery under the watchful eye of the Stawamus Chief and enjoyed a delicious burger and beer.

I even had the winning bid on a beautiful painting of the Stawamus Chief!

Stawamus Chief by Wanda Doyle

Things were looking up!

And things continued to ascend today.

This morning Joe and I decided to take the Sea-to-Sky Gondola up to the summit lodge and hike the backcountry Sky Pilot Valley Trail.  We threw some hummus, crackers, nuts, apples, water and beer (gotta have beer) into a backpack and off we went.

Sky Pilot and Co-Pilot Mountains, our destination 

Don't look now, but I think our destination is moving further and further away from us.

After a 2 hour uphill climb, we're almost there!

Looking down Sky Pilot Valley from the headwaters of Shannon Creek

When we hit the snow line we decided it was definitely time to stop for lunch.

Happy hikers

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!  

And if you happen to run into any teachers, please give them a hug and let them know you appreciate the great job they're doing.