North America

Happy socially-distant Easter

Easter Sunday at the cottage. Calm crystalline lake, cloudless azure sky, a bald eagle swooping and soaring. Banks of snow here and there, but mostly small streams of winter melt. Peaceful & quiet, mother nature doing her thing. The chaos of the world could not be less noticeable. Apart from the lack of friends and family – oh, and no …

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Happy New Decade!

Happy New Decade! Although maybe “happy” is too lofty a wish. Given the news of the day, it seems that “safe” would be a better word. Environment, climate, geopolitics. All bad news. Rampantly mutating antibiotic resistant microorganisms. Population growth. Species extinction. It’s getting harder to even have a merry Christmas. But we try, christening 3605 20th Street with a Neville …

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The Move

The move goes pretty well. It just takes longer than anticipated, as in all day, and the truck that the moving company sends is not big enough. We leave a pile of stuff in the garage and in the garden, for pick-up the next day and delivery in a couple of weeks. The second trip still does not get everything. …

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Vernon House

The Vancouver house is sold! The new owners take possession on October 15. We can move forward with the Vernon house project. YAY! We drive from the cottage to Vernon to meet with our builder, Albert, to discuss the drawings, plans, contract, etc for the house we bought in 2017. That meeting is in the afternoon, following a quick Earl’s …

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Nashville

Nashville has long been on our travel destination wish list, so when a colleague of Craig’s is unable to attend a legal conference and needs someone to go in his stead it takes less than a nanosecond for Craig to volunteer. It takes me slightly longer than a nanosecond to agree to tag along. Named for Francis Nash, a general …

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The wedding

From Saskatoon we drive back to the southeast corner of the province, to Melville. Where my mom, my sister, my bro-in-law live. Where I went to high school. Here we visit, barbecue, drink wine, do a day trip to Kamsack and Runnymede, where my mom’s and dad’s families hail from. The cemeteries here are peaceful. They feel haunted. So many …

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Prairie Rituals

A short morning flight from Vancouver takes us back to Saskatchewan. YVR to YQR in two hours. The enormity of the sky only becomes apparent once we land. Nothing can compete with its size. Puffy, white candy-floss clouds scud along a sea of blue. Once we are out of Regina it’s all flat green fields beneath the straight line of …

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Big Chill 2017

We gather for the 31st time at Metchosin, a beachside village south east of Victoria. Originally planned to coincide with Jenny’s wedding, which did not happen, the weekend motto is “party anyway”! And there are other reasons to party, including Don’s 61st birthday. We celebrate Don’s birthday with a Godfather themed party at an Italian restaurant in downtown Victoria. Jenny …

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Into the Wild

We leave Ucluelet and drive north to Port MacNeill, through endless miles of greenery. The rainy winter and spring have been good for the forest. It is lush, green and dense. We see a few logging trucks burdened with heavy loads, but the clearcuts are well hidden. We wonder how it would be possible to take too many trees? There …

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At the Edge

Our trip to Vancouver Island gets off to an auspicious start when we squeak on to a 5:30 ferry on a Friday evening. With a later-than-planned start, no reservation, rush-hour traffic, and a detour to put gas in the car we expect to have to wait a sailing. Miraculously, we are the second last vehicle on the ferry! YAY!! The …

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Hometown Tourists

Grandview-Woodlands, Canada Thanks to our niece and nephew, Kirsten & Scott, we find ourselves enjoying a staycation. They arrive from Saskatchewan with their parents, Brent & Heather, who hastily depart for a well-deserved and long-overdue kid-free week in Hawaii. In between the family’s early morning flight from Saskatchewan and Brent & Heather’s late afternoon flight to Honolulu, we fit in …

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Here we go again!

Vernon, Canada I write this on the eve of a 7 week trip to South America, so forgive me if it seems done in haste. It is!! Here is what I can recall. The festivities start on the Wednesday with the arrival of Jim & Shelley, Keaton, Kristi, Sydney & Kyle. Craig & I arrive on Friday afternoon to find …

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Blake’s birthday

Preeceville, Canada We end our Saskatchewan trip with a celebration of Blake’s first birthday. Family and friends gather at my niece Erin’s sister-in-law’s house in Preeceville, where we are forced indoors by a torrential rain storm. A prairie monsoon that is not welcomed by the local farmers who complain that they have had “ENOUGH RAIN ALREADY”! Although we’ve not seen …

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Road Trip Down Memory Lane

Melville, Rhein, Togo, Madge Lake, Canada After a day spent in Melville with my family, including a delicious pickerel dinner, complete with fresh veggies from my sister Judy’s garden, we take to the road again. Driving north-east, we make stops in Rhein, my father’s parents’ home, Togo, where we have lunch, and Madge Lake, where I spent many childhood summer …

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The Peg

Winnipeg, Canada Family draws us back to our prairie roots. This trip is mostly about birthday celebrations in my family and time to connect with Kirsten &; Scott, our Neville niece and nephew. They live in Esterhazy, a small town of 2,000 people. Winnipeg is a 4 hour drive east and, seeking a city fix, we head there in a …

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Happy Birthday Craig!

Predator Ridge, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada Craig turned 60 on June 1st and was surprised by a Watson Goepel afternoon party involving fencing lessons with his family law colleagues, followed by a dinner party at the Flying Pig restaurant in Gastown. Thinking that was it for birthday celebrations, he was again surprised over the July long weekend, when Sharon, Renee …

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Roots

Kamsack, Canada I was born in Kamsack, a small but pretty town in eastern Saskatchewan in the Assiniboine River Valley, and lived here for the first 10 years of my life. My mother’s father’s family had been farming just south of Kamsack since the late 1900s and the cemetery is full of headstones bearing the name “MacLellan”. My mother’s mother’s …

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Family Time

Preeceville, Melville & Esterhazy, Canada First stop on our road trip is Preeceville, where my niece Erin lives with her partner Josh and their newborn Blake. The photos we have been getting almost daily have been great, but don’t at all compare to the feelings that arise when we meet and then hold Blake. Fantastic!! When he needs his diaper …

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Faded Memories

Saskatoon, Canada Flying over Saskatchewan we are struck by the darkness below. A few farm lights. Very few towns. Mostly wide open spaces!! We arrive in Saskatoon at 7:30 PM. By 8 we are having a glass of wine at Cut, a downtown restaurant. It took a mere half hour to get our bags, rent a car, drive into the …

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Pacific North-West Bliss

Port Townsend, WA Heading north from Seaside, we cross the Columiba River at Astoria, on a bridge that is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America. It looks both enormous and high as we approach it. The drive along the Pacific coast of Washington state and then inland across the Olympic Peninsula begins to feel like home: the misty, …

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The Land of Lewis and Clark

Seaside, OR From Portland we drive west to Seaside, a resort town on the Pacific shore, 7 miles north of famed Cannon Beach, home of the famed haystack rocks. Our first trip here was way back in ’87 when we drove the Honda Prelude to California, tent and camping gear in tow. Craig is lamenting that we are not in …

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Portland is Fabulous!

Portland, OR Yes, we are on the road again! This time to Oregon for a short get-away following the 29th annual Big Chill, held this year in Vernon. We leave Vernon on Labour Day Monday and drive south along route 97 through apple and wine country. Lunch by the lake in Osooyos at a former Big Chill haunt fortifies us …

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Chillin’ 2015

Vernon, British Columbia The 29th annual Big Chill, hosted by Donna & Ron, at their lovely Jackpine Road home, begins with an evening of Mexican food, wine, and lots of political debate. With a federal election looming, los tres amigos (Jim, Don & Craig) predictably disagree on most points, including many of the so-called facts. Jeanne & Don supply t-shirts …

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San Francisco 2015

This trip starts as a voucher for $500 for each of us to fly with United Airlines. We got bumped from business class on the Belize City to Houston portion of our flight home November 2014. We have to use the vouchers within the year. We want only direct flights. There are two choices: Chicago or San Francisco. It is …

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Washington, DC

This week in Washington, DC prior to heading to NYC to meet friends for Donna’s 60th birthday, is an add-on. If I’m going all the way to NYC, and have never been to DC, why wouldn’t I make a side-trip of it? Craig has been and has neither the time nor the inclination to join me so I am travelling …

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Harlem 2014

The train from DC to NY is less than 3 hours and rolls past some impressive cities. Baltimore and Philly. Through New Jersey. Lots of rough train track scenery. An interesting way to enter New York. As soon as I alight from the midtown subway station into the bright afternoon sun and crushing crowds of people, I feel better. Safer. …

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Boston 2013

Disregarding his cerebrovascular incident in Budapest the previous year, Craig runs the 2013 Boston marathon. He had already qualified and missed a year so this was his last chance without a new qualifying time. So there was no way we weren’t going to Boston. We book an inexpensive hotel on the edge of downtown, within walking distance of the marathon …

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Hawaii 2013

2012 – 13 were annibus horribilis. Truly. In the middle – after Budapest and before Boston – we go to Hawaii with Craig’s family. We rent a VRBO large house just outside of Waikiki. Buy food from Costco and cook in. It is a great way to spend family time together. We try a few local places like the Outback …

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Chicago 2011

The trip to Chicago, a first for me, happens because Craig is signed up for a mediation course. We fly out of Vancouver the morning after the Stanley Cup riot. We know nothing about it as the flight is early morning, we go to bed early and hear no news. The first we hear about it is when we tell …

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America 2009

Our friend Seonag is getting married in Toronto. It’s July 2009, six months into my first year of retirement. For some reason I think that driving across the county by myself will be fun. I give myself a few weeks to get there. From Penticton, where I visit my mom, I drive south and then east through Washington state. At …

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NY May 2009

It is May 2009 and I am newly retired. Restless. Want to go somewhere. Have some ideas. Follow some leads. End up booking a week in New York for me, 4 days for Craig, to coincide with a Leonard Cohen concert at Radio City Music Hall. I fly out on a red-eye on Sunday night, arriving at 0700 the next …

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Latin America 2009

It is February 2009 and I’ve been retired a month. Time for a trip!! Wanting to visit Steve & Lisa at their beach house at Ponoloya, Nicaragua, we fly to Managua, take a bus to Leon and cajole a taxi driver to take us to Ponoloya. He doesn’t want to go because the road is so very bad and he …

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Bowren Lakes 1996

I have no idea what year it is we paddle the Bowren Lakes. Late 80s or early 90s. We dehydrate food, carefully measure the port we will sip every evening, do a couple of smaller trips in Wells Grey Park. It is June and typically cool, grey, rainy. We put in and start paddling. Six or seven days later we …

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Mexico 1993

November 1993. I am turning 40. Wow! In the middle of a masters degree at UBC. Living still at 1235 E 20th Ave. Our first house. Purchased in 1988. A few renovations. Two cats in the yard. Micheal and Ann-Marie in the basement suite. A month long trip to the Yucatan to celebrate my milestone birthday. Cancun. Merida, Chichen Itza, …

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Maritimes 1992

Early nineties. We are still living in the little house on E 20th. Still in the first decade of our relationship. People starting to ask when we are getting married. What about kids. We are not sure we want either of those. But they seem like popular options, so we wonder what we are missing? Craig involved in Big Brothers. …

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Four Corners 1990

September 1990. I think. Not really sure but I think I remember the Big Chill in Alberta at the end of August and Craig & I going south to New Mexico from there. Colorado, Utah and Arizona too. The “four corners” where the state lines meet. We drive the van. Count 6 break-downs, three requiring a tow truck. One lands …

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Lake Superior 1989

Spring 1989. We mark our 3 year anniversary. Our one year anniversary as home-owners, having bought 1235 E 20th Ave, a small three story old-timer, in the heart of East Vancouver, a stone’s throw from Kingsway. A low basement that is more cellar than suite, but we make the best of it, turning it into a 2 bedroom income helper. …

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California 1987

1987 is our second year of cohabitation. After a year in a modern condo by city hall we end up on the main floor of an old bungalow in the Oakridge neighbourhood. Moving in late April, we plant a garden in the tiny backyard, acquire two cats, Radha & Sita, celebrate our one year anniversary in the new place and …

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