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  • the auld sod

    December 11th, 2017 she Posted in Friends & Family, Learning & Education No Comments »

    One of the factors which impacted my decision to accept the offer to study at Lancaster University is the requirement to fly to the UK to attend classes as part of my programme of study. My parents and sister were born in the UK and I have dual citizenship. When I was a child, my parents brought us home to visit family as often and for as long as they could afford. At times, this meant that I left school early at the end of the year, that I was late starting school by a week or two (hello, grade 6!), or that I left school mid-semester. I have to admit, I took most of these trips for granted. After all, didn’t everyone travel to see their cousins and grandparents?  It was a long time before I realized just how amazing many of those trips were. If nothing else, they introduced me to a travel bug that bit and took hold!

    Sadly, I haven’t been back to the auld sod since before I was married. My husband has met the Canadian side of the family a number of times, but has only met three of my UK-based aunts in the 20+ years we’ve been together. I’m hoping to leverage my education to remedy this horrible oversight on our part.

    This past week I’ve been prepping for my school trip. I’ve booked my spot in the university residence and purchased my flights to the UK. We’ve thrown a few extra days in to visit family before classes start. I doubt I’ll have time to go distillery hopping this trip, but that does leave me with a travel goal for next year.

    In all my travels and living in foreign countries, there’s one thing that has been haunting me. My horrific need to over pack for trips. I blame childhoods of packing wellies (sunny all the time) and then not packing rain gear (hello downpours!). In at attempt to be ever prepared, I pack things I don’t normally use at home (skin care routine?  Since when do I follow THAT religiously?) or I pack as if I’ll never see a washing machine at any point in the journey.

    I’m trying to remedy that this trip around. While I did purchase a ticket with a suitcase option for my husband and for my mum, I stuck my sister and I with the glorious challenge of traveling with only a carry-on suitcase and a personal item. This week I’ve set a goal to make a packing list. Next week, I may try a dry run for packing. This is so out of character for me when it comes to packing. Usually I’m the throw everything I own into every bag the night before type of trip packer. I’ve heard rumours that prepared people exist and apparently I’m going to try and become one in the new year. Who knew?

    Tune in next month to learn more about the saga of pre-packing!



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    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

    December 3rd, 2017 she Posted in Friends & Family, Frothing At The Bit 1 Comment »

    Unsurprisingly, when left to our own devices, Drew and I don’t normally celebrate the holidays. Don’t get me wrong, we do get together with friends and family over the holiday season and we participate in gift purchases for those less fortunate that us, but we prefer not to decorate the house or exchange gifts. Too many years of the two of us being in different countries or continents during the season have made this time of year little different from any other. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. As I’m getting older and watching the world change around me, I want to find ways to celebrate and mark the everyday.

    I suspect we’ve reached that “age” my father did when your ideas surrounding receiving gifts changes; where you realize that if you need something – like a new fridge after your ancient one finally gives up the ghost and rejects all past attempts at repair – you do your research, set a budget, and just go out and buy it. So it’s the home made things, the things you can do for others, or with others, that increase in appeal.

    When it comes to gift giving for family and friends, we’re trying to switch away from things and on to experiences or consumables; handmade art, home cooked preserves and snacks, whisky tastings, tickets (theatre, concert, sporting events, movies, museums), gift certificates to favourite restaurants or donations to a favourite charity.  Whether or not we’ll be successful in the endeavour remains to be seen. This isn’t the first time we’ve tried to follow this concept and in previous years we’ve failed miserably. There are so many expectations, personal history, and a myriad of other things wrapped up in the concept of gift giving over the holidays that tend to make me into a giant ball of stress.

    Gift giving for strangers is a whole other kettle of fish.

    For the past few years we’ve been sponsoring seniors at a retirement home. Families move away. Parents outlive children. Some people choose never to have had children to begin with (like us!). The holidays can be a lonely time of year for some. We attempt to brighten their days buy obtaining a name from the retirement home, purchasing some of the items (ok, ALL +some more) and delivering the package to the home. Shopping for a stranger is fun. While we can’t always guarantee that our tastes match our gifts, we can hope we’ve made someone else’s outlook brighter for a while.

    This likely explains why I’ve joined my first Reddit Christmas exchange this year. I completed a Firefly based exchange this fall and had a blast loading some unsuspecting individual up with a ship full of goodies. There are some benefits to being on the board of the AB Browncoats Society; we know where to find the coolest swag to share with brand new shiny Browncoats! Picking and shipping gifts, the anticipation of waiting for shipments to be delivered, and then seeing the posted gift unveiling gives me a huge sense of joy. And then, there’s the fun of opening a package from someone, somewhere else in the world, who has taking the time to find something for you that fits the small sliver of your personality that they’ve gleaned from your application profile. There’s a lot of joy to be found in being someone’s secret Santa!

    In any case, I hope my giftees like what I’ve selected. Thanks for the giggles.


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    RIP – Ann

    July 28th, 2013 she Posted in Friends & Family No Comments »

    Today marks the passing of a longtime family friend. In truth, Ann was so much more than a friend. She taught me to read and write, cleaned up scraped knees when my parents weren’t around, had to childproof her house because of me (her daughters were better behaved), & cared for me when my parents were away. She & Gerry housed members of our family who came from away when my da died. If I had to say I had a second mom as a small child, Ann would be the one I identified in a heartbeat. My heart breaks for her family because she and Gerry have always been such a huge part of ours.

    So many things to remember Ann by. Love, smiles, laughter and tuna with relish. Say hi to dad for us. RIP.

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    September 19th, 2012 she Posted in Friends & Family, Random Burbling No Comments »

    In a week it’ll be 6 years since dad passed. A lot can happen in 6 years. Many memories that never get shared. Many times when you pick up a phone wanting advice and remembering, at the last minute, that the person you’re calling isn’t there. Since his passing we’ve been putting an annual memorial notice in the local paper. This year, partially because so many other things have been going on, I didn’t send in a notice for publication. I’m torn. It feels weird knowing that this year there won’t be a letter from mom with a snippet out of the local paper containing the memorial notice. It feels even stranger that I’m quickly approaching university graduation (May, 2013) and knowing dad won’t be there to celebrate.

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    And in the going down of the sun

    November 10th, 2010 she Posted in Friends & Family, Those Who Volunteered 2 Comments »

    For those who have served and fallen – both during their service or after retirement – take a moment to remember their sacrifice.


    Great Grandpa


    Black Watch
    Grandma and Grandpa Grandpa in the Pacific Grandpa

    CFB Borden

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