Thursday, December 31, 2015

just some things to share with you

2015 has come to an end!  Normally you will find my blog posts to be everything happy, positive, uplifting and on the bright side.  My deep love for Ian, Ann, Angus and Heather is the reason I have shared so openly, so much of my raw emotion and what I have been experiencing through this difficult time. The love and support extended to me and my family from everyone has been so overwhelming.  It means so much and we are forever grateful.

The next day comes and there are things that need to be done.  For some it's a travel day, for many it's a return to work day, for others it's a gathering and remembering day, for a very special few it is the day to sort through personal business.  I find solace in being "out & about" so that was what my need for today was.

It was a beautiful day on the Halifax waterfront.  
My sister joined me for a stroll along the snow covered boardwalk.  We window shopped at some places and I made actual purchases in other places.  It was quiet here this morning and I thoroughly enjoyed the peacefulness of that.  The sky was blue with wispy clouds and the temperature was not that low but the chill was bitter from the maritime dampness.  
The waterfront was festively colorful and it looked so pretty.  
The photo opportunities were there.  
Well into our walk and embracing being "out & about" and how it was making me feel, I could not help myself and I wanted to at least try to get into the boat. This was as far as I got.  At this point, my sister preferred to return to the warmth of her room.  You see, play time for my sister and I are at total opposite ends of the spectrum.  We have not played as adults before and I am sure she questioned in her mind "what the heck is she doing"!  
She went her way to do what she needed to do and I went my way to carry on with what I needed to do and where I needed to be.  I strolled further along the boardwalk for a closer view of the lighthouse.  As some of you know, I have a thing for lighthouses and they are displayed in my kitchen in every which way.  I see them as being guiders and protectors.  I feel something when I see them that I cannot describe.
I continued on up hill, a way up hill to the The Citadel.  
After visiting The Citadel and the surrounding area, I aimed for the hotel which was all downhill from here.  Once back at my room, we all connected and made a plan for the balance of the day.  We came from different directions to meet where we chatted, laughed, remembered and toasted to Ian with a huge gigantic big smile.  We shared munchies and then topped that off with dinner and of course mine was lobster with an Alexander Keith's IPA.  

I am a believer in signs and I am open to them.  A certain few of you are aware of that, it is more something I keep to myself and cherish.  It was time to leave for the airport in inclement weather.  It was dark, it was pelting rain, we were all so quiet, I was feeling sad and just holding on to my emotions.  We safely arrived at the airport and decided to see if any up front plus seats were available.  The Westjet attendant checking us in said there were three.  We opted to upgrade to those for a significant price each.  The computer would not accept our payment after she tried a couple of times.  She did not understand this, then just said they are yours for free.  We hugged her, she did not understand but we knew exactly what was happening, I could feel it.

Part way through out flight, sitting in our up front plus seats, my sister elbowed me and said do you see something out there?  She thought maybe she was seeing things.  Right away I saw the circle rainbow sitting on top of the clouds.  We watched it form and dissipate and form again for quite some time.  I later learned this is called a "Glory" and they are rare.  The hair on my arms stood on end!  I knew what was going on here.
We arrived back in Calgary safe and sound.  Once home behind my closed door,  I thought of Ann, Angus and Heather and remembered Ian.  I puttered around with mixed emotions and no purpose in mind.  Eventually later in the day,  I opened my suitcase to retrieve my Nova Scotia crystal tree ornament and hung it on my Christmas Tree.  While this Christmastime was sad and the ones yet to come no doubt will be too, I will be open to the warmth and comfort and protection that will come when I look at this ornament and remember Ian.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

waiting for go-time

Waiting until it is "go time" brews that uncomfortable anxious feeling but I do know the best thing to combat that feeling is to make the most of moments in a happy way.  He would want me to do that!

Today I live for my brother, the protector!
Only one time in my life I felt the need to protect him.

He knew I loved taking photos.  He probably did not realize I was in possession of so many pictures of him and his family.  I loved him and admired him for everything he was especially his devotion to his family.  I spent time this morning going through numerous albums and choosing snapshots that made me smile wide. It was a challenge to narrow down the hundred to these few.  He would chuckle that chuckle of his at what I was doing, but I believe he would be happy with my result.

Through our emails and conversations, he knew what it meant to me to "remember to breathe".  I am fortunate to have a Birthplace Forest close to my home and I felt the need to stroll through it today.  I found a way to make that pretty space a close by escape.  I admired the scenery, breathed in the clean cold air, and swished my feet through the freshly fallen snow.  It was peaceful, I was alone and did not need to hide behind my sunglasses to disguise my private moments because there was no one else any where nearby.  If he was here, I know he would have joined me on this stroll.

He would want me to go ahead and celebrate Christmas.  As I put my thoughts down here, I do so beside my decorated Christmas tree.  The lights are on, the angel on top shines bright and right before my eyes are reminders of home.  While I have not spent time there in the past number of years, a piece of my heart always remains in Nova Scotia and always will.  He knew while I live in the big city I am still a small town girl at heart.  I know he knew that.

I lived today for my brother.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Brother

This is one of the most horrible days of my life!  I lost my brother this morning.  I choose this photo of Ian to share because it represents all the good he did in this world.  He just received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for his devotion to making this world a better place for children.  I love you and I will miss you immensely!  Rest in Peace Ian.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Pocaterra X-C Ski ending autumn

All necessary information checked out ideal for a X-C Ski outing in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. The trails were reported as being excellent, the driving conditions were listed as dry and the temperature range would be wonderful for ending autumn.   I was the first vehicle to arrive at the Parking Lot and within a matter of 10 minutes others pulled in two and three deep on either side of me.  They emptied out sporting spandex and carrying large tool box type cases.  They spoke a language I was not familiar with, it consisted of numerous letters and numbers and odd words.  I saw temperature gauges appear and other odd items. Now I felt intimidated and wondered was I in the right place!   I checked my map and the trail head sign, and yes, I was exactly where I wanted to be.  This trail head offered up a mix of green (beginner) and blue (intermediate)  tracks.  That group discussed a starting time which was 20 minutes away.  My prep time is only 7 to 9 minutes.  I was already to go, already, so jumped into the track and took off never to see them again the balance of my day.
It was early enough that the sun was just beginning to creep up over the forest.  
I calculated it is the right time to incorporate more blue into my X-C Ski "out & abouts".  Today's blues were plenty, some were on the steeper side than I am use to and others involved steep downhills and turns at the same time.  Remember now that "steep" is all relative.  What I use to think was steep I now think is gently rolling. 
I came to the junction to head up Lynx.  I debated and then went for it but only partially.  Full commitment will have to come another time.  I glided along and came to a section that was my favourite of the day.  It was a sparsely populated meadow of lightly snow covered big and little trees.
my ski stop shot
pillows & marshmallows
After thoroughly enjoying this area, it was time to move on and work my way back to the parking lot.      
The balance of the track involved more hills where I got additional practice of going up and down.  I conquered all hills with confidence today.  At the beginning of my day I wondered did I belong here and now I can say, I felt right at home on these tracks.  I worked up an apetite so headed on over to relax in the warmth by the Christmas Tree and enjoy the view and my lunch. 

Good-bye autumn!  Hello winter!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Great Divide Telemark X-C Ski I Am Winter

Just call me "Winter"!  I get excited every time I hear "it snowed again last night".  I know what that means for X-C Skiing conditions and for scenery.    I like to ski in newly track set tracks after they have hardened but I am liking even more to get into the track after a few centimeters of new snow slightly fill the old track.  I like to be able to see the indent and to stay within it.  I am learning to know what I like and what works for me and now I chase that.

While I like the new snowfalls for activities, I do not care for it for driving.  I left early to avoid the traffic yet still the drive this morning into Lake Louise Village was white knuckling.  Good thing I did not have far to drive.  

As I was gearing up to get going, so were the dog sledders.  One snowshoer was heading out and the groomer was just arriving.  The mornings have been a golden delight here.  The sun peeks through the trees and thin clouds and works wonders.  
                It is so quiet.  I treasure these moments.  
I picked the Telemark trail again.  The forecast was not for the greatest to go further west.  I will save that for another time.  I could obtain all I needed right here in this place that seemed like paradise this morning.  
the light shines through
Light flurries were falling as I skied which added to the beauty.  A lone lady I saw yesterday came around the corner on her own again here.  We shared pleasantries and photo opportunities. She must have started much earlier, she was already on her way back. 
snow laden trees
My morning was glorious!  I enjoyed being out & about skiiing in snow-filled tracks with flurries falling.  The air was fresh & crisp & clean.  My uncovered hair was thick with frost and I could tell my nose was pink and cheeks glowing.  I was warm in my layers and at the end I savoured a cup of hot chocolate.  All these things this time of year afford us, I grab onto and embrance.  I am "Winter"!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

breathing it all in

When I returned to my car after X-C Skiing thr Fairview Loop, I had a bite to eat in my car while admiring the amazing scenery surrounding me.  It was after noontime and it was still not busy.  The views today were as perfect as they get here in winter (yet it's still spring) and I had to take full advantage and breathe it all in. 

I came to this specific spot last weekend when it was grey, dismal and dull.  Look at the view today! As I was capturing the vision, a few folks gathered.  We chatted, we admired, they took the same shot then wanted to be in a shot, so I obliged.
                                                 Then I wanted to be in a shot too.
               Enough of the lake leading to the creek was open to cast a reflection.  
                    A wide path was groomed to walk towards the middle of Lake Louise.  
                              I joined a small number of others who headed that way.  
If you look closely, you can see Mount Victoria and Victoria Glacier peeking out through the clouds.  I have seen this scene so many times, but never have I witnessed it appearing as beautiful as it did today.

While feeling fulfilled from the ski and the walk, I was not ready to let go and leave the area.  I drove down to the Village to walk some more along the Bow River.  It was warmer down here and the amount of snow that fell overnight made it a magical place to be at.
       There were lots of snow pillows and trees heavily laden with new pure white snow.
Not being on X-C Skis afforded me the opportunity to get closer to the river.  Folks had snowshoed through here prior so I followed their broken trail.  What colors!  
                                                       so vivid and bright and pure
It snowed here last night and that made for such a winter wonderland.   I don't think it could get any more perfect than this.  After a few more kilometres completed, I was now ready to head back, put my feet up, and relax the evening away.
                    I could not have asked for anything more or otherwise for this day.  

Fairview Trramline X-C Ski YES! I believe so!

My hopes for today were to X-C Ski right out my back door in Banff but conditions to do so were not conducive for an enjoyable experience.  They said it snowed again last night in Lake Louise, I knew then that would make those trails ideal. The sunrise was beautiful on the drive there, the mountains were looking majestic plus magnificent and to my surprise the lot was pretty well empty.  What is not to like about this day so far!
                                                the Fairview Trail begins here
It was a cold start, but I was bundled up for it.  This was my first time on this trail, a portion is rated blue, so I was not sure what to expect.  I could walk down hills if need be. There were gradual uphill sections which warmed me up so I had to unbundle.  Feeling settled in and welcome, I skied under the tall tree arch into a land of beauty with.....
                                   .....heavily snow covered trees and meadows......
                                                   .....mountain scenery.....
                                                    .....and golden moments.
If you have been a loyal follower of mine, you will know I have been working at finding a love for this sport.  I knew there was potential and that it would take time.  It seems like all the little puzzle pieces are fitting together more and more as I clip into my X-C skis more often.  Today I enjoyed all the twists and turns and the scenery too.
     I liked the flat straight sections where I could kick and glide, and I liked the scenery too.
I enjoyed all the down hills even the ones with turns in them and I enjoyed the scenery also.
                                      Seeing forever takes on a whole new meaning.
Not many folks on the trails this morning.  I am not sure why.  One fellow who did pass me was willing to snap my destination shot and then he was gone, quickly.  I lingered a little as I was nearing the end.
                                             Am I finally loving this sport?
                                                      YES!  I believe so!