puzzle pieces

Friday, December 30, 2011

happy trails....2011

Dear 2011,
I write this with mixed feelings.

You were a year filled with many incredible moments and memories.
Moments in which smiles were made, and hearts warmed.
And then on some occasions,  
we had to deal with matters beyond our control and just hold on for the best.

During this year of 2011, you have brought to me  many adventures.

In  racing~  running and triathlon;
I once again raced my oldest in our Sprint Triathlon Annual Adventure.
I ran my 1st Half Marathon while family I truly love, cheered me on.
I nervously  signed up for an Olympic distance Triathlon~ and ended up completing 2 plus an Aquathlon.
A 10km Night Race with my oldest, a 5k with all 4 kiddos, and
an absolutely beautiful 29k Mountain Trail Run.....
Who said running can't be a beautiful thing?

During your 365 days here, Change happened.
I saw my oldest writing college entrance exams and registering for his first term of secondary education.
A daughter said goodbye to her home school adventure with me and began attending the local High School.
And I now am experiencing what it's like to only teach 2 kids instead of 4.

Cross~country skiing played a big part in the Long Winter and even longer spring.
Camping adventures, Golden kayaking trips, river canoe paddles, and a bit of hiking with Meaning.
Many beach days~~and one cannot forget the trip to the white sandy beaches of the Caribbean.

Oh! And the many miles put on my new road bike??
 ~absolute bliss.

Friends were made~moments were shared~as was many bottles of good wine.
Moments around bonfires out back roasting marshmallows, and talking into the early hours of the morning...will be cherished.

The memory I have when my kids gave me a new camera and thanked me for teaching them over the years? It still makes me teary.
{The walks with them and the new Canon are pretty special.}

Meeting all of you blogging friends over the past year, has been a major highlight in 2011.
I cannot believe how much I have cherished your letters, emails, and comments,
 while I seem to journal away my thoughts in this space.
I am blessed to know each and every one of you.

Not all of your 2011 days were happy ones.
But I learned a lot from those moments. 
For that I am grateful.
And I learned that I can still dance in the rain....instead of fighting against the pelting drops.

I do feel a bit of melancholy with you coming to an end, but I am not sad to see you go.
One never likes to say goodbye to a good friend, and that you were. 
But I now am looking forward to another year ~
(and I hope you don't take offense, but I hope it's even better than you were).
Filled with more Adventure
more learning (even if it includes heartache), 
and more growth.

Happy Trails to you 2011.
You have brought some beautiful ones into my life this past year.
Thank you.

Yours for this year~ but not for the next,

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

No mistakes in it....

Another year is drawing to a close,
 and many of us seem to sit back and re-evaluate the year we have just lived out.

I find myself focusing on everything as one big jumble (and often- mess),
when really, 
one needs to re-visit each moment and take from that moment~only what is needed.

One can learn from mistakes this way.
(I hope?)

And beauty can be found in the simple.

"Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask, 'Where have I gone wrong?'
Then a voice says to me, 
'This is going to take more than one night.'"
~Charles M. Schulz 1922-2000

Enjoying the last few days of this year, in anticipation for a new one.
A brand new year.... with no mistakes in it.  


Friday, December 23, 2011

To all of you....

And to the many of you who sent me real snail mail....thank you so very much.
It was the best part of my week~ to sit down with all these "real live" envelopes and read each one.

And for the things you sent...little things from the places where you come from and live ~
So thoughtful!    ~Thank You~

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Picture Windows

I opened my eyes the other morning and was greeted with this sight through my bedroom patio door:

(Luckily I had my camera right there....I took it while still in bed:D)


And then in passing the front window last night, 
I grabbed up my camera to shoot this setting scene.

(Sounds as though I walk around 24/7 with my camera. Even indoors.)

It got me to thinking of what is sandwiched during the day, between these 2 pictures.
What am I filling the in~between hours with?

Which then led me to think on this quote I read last week:

will wake up every morning

determined to go to bed

with satisfaction.


I think it's all a personal thing of what leads us to that satisfaction.

For me, 
it's when I unwrap myself from my own thoughts and self, 
and focus outwardly ~on those around me.

I need to do that more...
satisfaction has been lacking over here in my neck of the woods.

~Wishing you all a wonderful middle-of-the-week day~

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Trail Shoe Happy

Remember these?

They have carried my feet up/around Moose Mountain twice, PR'd with me on a 10k, 
and been with me through lake trails/swamps, and more-than-I-can-count morning runs.

I'm not saying I'm leaving them for anyone/thing else, but I guess  I have to confess to two-timing.

I went Christmas shopping and came home with these new beauties:

*happy sigh*

I know you shouldn't base your happiness on material things,
but I can't help but smile when I pass my new Trail shoes.

Light as a feather, pretty awesome colors,
and just calling for me to take them out!

Yeah, I see Happy Trails ahead for me and my new~found partners.

I am finally finalizing my Race Schedule for 2012, 
and YES!
I clicked the submit button on a Half Ironman, an actual real-live Marathon,
and as soon as it opens, a 185km Tour d'Alberta cycle, and a Mountain Marathon.
There's a few more too...which can be found  HERE on my Journey To Tri blog.

Now that I bought my Christmas gift early....

(sorry, had to look at them again;))

...I guess I had better finish up for the others:D

{5 more sleeps my kiddos tell me.....}

Monday, December 19, 2011

Grandpa's Barn

The weathered boards.

Windows for eyes.

The latch that's been used to open the door a thousand times over.

Basketball games played against its walls.

Hinges that squeak every time the door opens at chore time.

Still standing tall and proud.

~Grandpa  now shares his barn with his Grand kids.~

Linking up with Barn Charm this evening.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hanging from my window~

Hanging lazily out my window one morning, 
(I felt no desire to pull on boots, coat, hat ~ just to freeze fingers)
I clicked away at the frost which had settled around the house.

The leaves playing the Waiting Game have succumbed to the season.
(I never thought I would use the word "succumbed", but these have;)

And I think they have done so quite gracefully.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. 
Enjoy every moment....hanging out windows or otherwise!

(And try not to succumb to the craziness of the season)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas means...

Have you ever watched the movie "Babe"?

I mean the talking pig movie....
where the pig is the hero- and the duck is just the annoying animal who 
everyone wishes would just waddle away?

When the duck realizes Christmas is upon them and one of the barn animals are in line for
 the dinner table, 
he quacks out in horror,

"Christmas Means Carnage! Christmas Means CARNAGE!".

This saying has become my boys' and my mantra (joke) as we challenge the city and all the 
shopping 'occupants'
 as of late.


Talk about parking animosity, bumper to bumper cars, honking, cart line-ups along 
with the budding in line, 
glares, mutterings, and the quick grabbing of last items off shelves.

(Enter:  The Duck. "Christmas means carnage!")

I almost am embarrassed to call myself human. 

So now, when we're out and about, and yet another person steals the parking spot we have been sitting waiting for WITH our signal light on,
we  yell out, 
"Christmas Means Carnage!"
...and putter down the parking lot for another available spot.

When someone almost takes my car door off as I try to get out, (in their haste to find parking):
"Christmas means Carnage!".

(Little do the boys know it's my half-hearted attempt to 
curb my own hostile retaliation...
Anger Management if you will.)

And then....I return home.

I grab my camera and walk.
And I find little scenes here and there, realizing that no one here
is budding in line 
or jostling in front of me 
or glaring.

Only quiet, little, vacant stares.
(Don't worry- not from my kiddos;)

No carnage here.
Just simple finds.

And the breathing room to remember what Christmas really means.

And once someone quiets the duck- 
we can eat.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Just one more time......

Two months ago I hiked up to a mountain lake. 
There are 2 paths you can take to get there....
The "Easy Trail" and The "Difficult".

I have always like the Difficult route.

It's full of narrow walkways, 
a wooden/rock stairway, trickling springs that flow over the trail in places....
it's definitely the more beautiful of the 2 paths.

The scenery as you climb is magnificent.
It takes your breath away, and not just because of the steep ascent.

On this particular hike, I was followed on the Difficult route
 ~(and sometimes passed)~ 
by 2 elderly people. 
One walked with  2 canes, the other with a considerable limp. 
I wanted to turn at times and offer my assistance across the streams of water and slippery rocks- 
but something stopped me.
I was truly amazed by this seemingly persistent couple.

When I finally arrived at this particular lake ~ I stopped beside it and took (of course),
countless picture from every angle I could of everything I could see.

I turned to find the same couple resting on a bench, just watching everything going on around them.
They seemed quiet yet happy, and I couldn't help but take a few steps towards them and make some remark of how beautiful it all was.

This began an incredible conversation. One I won't soon forget.

To sum up the heart of our chat,
they had been married for 50+ years and had hiked up to this lake every year they'd been together.
And they didn't just come in the fairer months of the summer.
Winter was just as beautiful they said.

And then the woman stated, 
"This will be our last climb here. 
We have gotten to the point where it's to difficult for us to make this journey like we have been. 
But we wanted to take it just one more time. 

I tried to hide the tears from my eyes.

Something hit me in that moment. 
My imagination created the past 50 years of this couple, 
coming together and walking this trail year after year.
Summer or winter- they came.
Year after year- through whatever the season, they hiked the trail to this spot.

And there I was, 
actually sharing their moment with them surrounded by incredible beauty they were seeing for the last time.
I felt humbled. And honored.
And wanted to let them be.

But they were ever so gracious and continued to chat, asking me questions and sharing information about this mountain and its trails.
I felt so blessed to be part of their moment.

I have hiked this trail several times over the years.
Never in the winter.
Although I now plan to during this one.

For some reason their story touched me in a way I can't explain.
Maybe it was their commitment to the trail and mountain.
~Their commitment to one another.~
Their persistence that I saw while they struggled up the trail.
Their love for a place I love.

I'm not sure just quite what it is.

I do know that I will never think of this trail in quite the same way.
Their life has somehow been etched into my heart through all the beauty which lies up there.

I just wish and hope, that the next time I go....maybe, 
they will have decided they were able to take that trail just one more time.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Landscape Drive-Bys

Not liking the "flying method" as means for transportation,
(or being able to afford it that often),
I spend hours of time driving to places I want to be during holidays.

As I scrolled through captures over this past year of places we went,
I was amazed at the scenes one can view from the seat of a 4 wheeled vehicle:)






 I also realize that I'm drawn to places with mountains 
and wide open sky.

And I swear that every time I see some sort of hill or mountain....the words that slip out of my mouth are, 

"I would just love to run up that hill!"

I think I'm going to need some new Trail shoes.

(And you can look HERE to read about last week's running race.)

Friday, December 2, 2011

you know it's December

You know it's December when....

~My grandparent's antique Christmas decorations sit on my coffee table.~

~The Festival of Trees comes to town and ice sculptures line the walkways.~

~My boys spend hours playing games they haven't played all year.~

My puddle jumping boots sit forgotten on my deck, 
 filled with frozen puddle water and wondering why they weren't properly put away.

~Our Nativity Set sits on my window sill.~

Kids offer to bake and use  ingredients not normally used any other time of the year.

~Hot apple cider with special (spiced rum) ingredients.~

I walk around with tape in my hair from wrestling with the 
wrapping paper and tape dispenser.

Hearing the annoying squeak from this plastic santa - 
that I used to run around with and squeak when I was a kid.

Moments just sitting  enjoying the quiet and lights,
 being thankful that the busy-ness of fall/winter activities has come to an 
end for a few weeks.

Wishing you all a wonderful first "December Weekend"!