The Year in Pictures

2013 was a year of highs and lows, some sweet moments and many bittersweet ones.  Overall, I’m glad it’s behind me and am hoping this coming year is a better one.

On January 8th, my baby peanut, Roxy, turned ten years old.  She’s such a tiny, lively little girl, it’s hard to believe she’s actually an elderly lady.

1301 10th birthday

After having ten boys in a row born into our family (one nephew, 7 great nephews and two grandsons), we welcomed a precious little girl, great-niece Josie Rae, in January.  It took nine years, but the drought is finally over.

In February, Hubby and I went to California for ten days.  We visited Hubby’s dad in Palm Desert, then carried on to San Diego for a few days.  What fun we had.

1302-1 Murray Canyon hike

1302-2 San Diego Bay

I blogged extensively about the trip.  You can catch up on those posts here.

I’ve been away

Roxy’s Great Adventure

Glorious La Jolla

SeaWorld

Balboa Park

Pines to Palms

Indian Canyons

An Easter walk in the sunshine. (Yes, it’s only March)

1303-3 Easter

In March, my sister, who’d been battling cancer for many months, got the test results we’d all hoped for.  Her cancer is gone.

In April, I was notified that my novel, Show No Weakness, was up for a RONE Award (RONE = Reward of novel excellence).  This round of the contest called for reader votes, which I felt sure I had no chance of getting, but thanks in large part to the loving support of my huge family (and lots of begging on my part), by time voting closed I was in the running for 1st place.

In May, Hubby and I went to Vancouver to do some research for my wip and have a little R&R in the process.  The weather was picture perfect and we had a most excellent weekend.

1305 Juniper Point, Howe Sound

I blogged about it here and here.

We’d brought Roxy with us to Vancouver.  I used a blanket pinned together to carry her while hiking and it got me thinking.  Then I saw a guy with his arm in a sling.  BINGO!  I bought a sling and it works perfectly.  She actually quite enjoys riding in it.

1305-4 Roxy's Sling

My youngest son returned home in May to film the second in the Nightmare movie series.  A Sister’s Nightmare.  In this movie, his credits were Director’s Assistant, Under Water Camera Operator, and Video FX Coordinator.  He also revived his acting role as a cop.  I haven’t watched the movie yet, but knowing him, he likely popped up in a few other cameos as well.

1306-1 A Sister's Nightmare

1306-2 A Sister's Nightmare

1306-2a A Sister's Nightmare

We celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary in May.  This was my tribute post to my hubby. They’d Said We’d Never Last

1305-1 Our 35th Anniversary

A perfectly wonderful month ended on a bad note, when Hubby’s right knee began giving him so much pain, he could no longer walk his 15 km route and has had to take extended time off work.

At the beginning of June, I received an email telling me that Show No Weakness placed first in the voting round of the RONE Awards and had moved on to the final round.  Simply amazing and humbling.  Winners to be announced in Vegas on August 9th.

Hubby and I traveled to New Orleans in June, to join my sister and her hubby.  Despite Hubby’s gimpy knee, we had a marvellous time.

1306-4 Jackson Square, St Louis Cathedral from Washington Artillery Park

As I always do, I posted many pictures and told many stories about our trip.  You can check them out here.

Getting there

Algiers & French Quarters

Steamboat Natchez

The Cemeteries

The Garden District

City Park

Happenstances

City Tour

Trip Home

New Orleans Statues

Having grown up in Calgary, my heart went out to the citizens of that city and the surrounding areas when they were hit by devastating flooding the middle of June.  My old high school was situated right on the banks of the Elbow River, and my fears were confirmed when I came across some Facebook pictures, showing the flood waters and resulting damage.

1306-3 Flooding at St Mary's

1306-3a Flood damage at St Mary's

1306-3b Flood damage at St Mary's

The end of June found this empty-nest Mom in bliss, when my middle son and daughter-in-law, who live back East, came to visit for a week.  My youngest son also came out, so our family was complete for the first time in far too long.

1306-7

We gratefully squeezed in as many special moments together as we could.

1306-8

1306-8a

1306-8b

1306-8c

My son thoroughly enjoyed playing with (and spoiling) his two little nephews, who also had great fun getting to know him.

1306-6

1306-6a

Daisy came along for the visit.

1306-5a Roxy & Daisy

1306-5 Daisy & Roxy

Canada Day, July 1st.

1307-1 Waterfront, Canada Day

1307-2 Canada Day

My oldest son had occasionally mentioned that he might accept a transfer out-of-town, if the promotion was a good one.  I couldn’t comprehend the possibility of my last child moving away and taking my grandchildren with him, so I didn’t take his comments seriously.  Then one devastating day in July, he told us he had interviewed for a new position in Alberta.  A few days later he said he’d got the job and they’d be moving ASAP.  I was beyond crushed.  I cried so many tears in the following few months, and was obviously not dealing with it well, but that’s how I felt and I couldn’t make myself feel any different.

We took a trip up Kelowna Mountain in July.  We’d heard lots about the suspension bridges that had been built on Kelowna’s south slopes and finally decided to check them out.

1307-5 Kelowna Mountain

I posted pictures and my thoughts on the project here.

Knowing my grandsons would soon be gone from our daily lives, we spent as much quality time with them throughout the summer as we could.

1307-4

1307-4a

In July, another adorable little great-niece was born into the family, Talla Olivia.  That’s two for two with the girls, after such a long stretch of boys.

I got an email from my publisher in August with the words “Congrats” in the subject line.  It took a few beats for me to realize she was telling me my novel won the RONE Award for its category at the Vegas conference that evening.  I was shocked and totally excited as can be attested to in this blog post.

This is the badge I received.

2012_RONE_Winner(Contemporary - Cowboys Cops and Jocks) - 300

I scratched another item off my bucket list in August, when I convinced Hubby to float down the Penticton River channel with me.  This is a popular activity for locals and tourists alike, but in the 19 years we’ve lived in the Okanagan, we’d never tried it.  I loved it, not so sure if Hubby shared my enthusiasm though.

1308-3 Penticton River Channel

1308-3a Penticton River Channel

1308-3b Penticton River Channel

1308-4 Penticton River Channel

1308-5 Penticton River Channel

1308-6 Penticton River Channel

In mid-August, after much contemplation, I began job-sharing and noticed almost immediate improvements to both my pain and energy levels.  This was my blog post.

It was a gut-wrenching day for me, in August, when my son left for his new job in Alberta.  He went alone, his family staying behind a few weeks longer.

1308-7

Our youngest son came to town to say goodbye and get in some last-minute wrestling with his nephews.

1308-7b

I stole snuggles whenever I could.

1308-7a

We managed to squeeze in a fun day of boating with DIL and the grandsons.

1308-7c Boating

Continuing with my current theme of being a tourist in our own province, we took the little boys to O’Keefe’s Ranch in Vernon, having never been there before.  We all had so much fun, stopping off for dinner at McDonald’s, followed by a sleepover.

1308-8 O'Keefe's Ranch

1308-8a Sleepover

I thought the day my son moved had been difficult, but it was nothing compared to when he came back to collect his family.  I felt empty and sad and bitter and angry and lonely and completely heartbroken…

1308-9 Last visit

My kids are my world and never, ever, did I imagine a time when none of them would live near me.  People kindly offered platitudes to make me feel better, but it didn’t help.  Nothing could make me feel better.  I felt bereft, literally as though I was mourning a deep loss.  I truly am happy for all of my boys.  And proud of them.  They’re off living their own lives.  They’re happy, they’re healthy, they’re successful.  I’m just not happy for me.

1308-10 Last day

We offered to keep our son’s dog, Shasa, with us until they’d bought a house.  Shasa loves me dearly and for over two months she was my little shadow.  It was kind of like having my Sweetie back again.  Except Shasa shed less and barked more.

1308-11 Shasa

My grandson started in Kindergarten in September and about three days in, he lost his footing jumping down from the monkey-bars and broke his little arm in two places.  I don’t who I felt worse for, him or his poor mommy.  Despite needing a huge cast, he was a real trooper about it.  And thankfully, his arm healed quickly and completely.

1309-1 Broken arm

A few weeks later, at the young age of five, he lost his first tooth.  We just happened to be on Facetime together when it happened, so even though we were many miles apart, I got to experience the exciting episode with him. He lost another tooth in October.

My middle son and DIL travelled to Greece in September.  They had a wonderful trip and returned with many gorgeous photos, along with memories to last a lifetime.

Athens

1309-2 Athens

Saratorini

1309-3 Saratorini

My filmmaker son came home again in October to film the third instalment of the Nightmare movies, A Daughter’s Nightmare.  This time around his credits included Associate Producer, Unit Liaison and Second Unit Camera Operator.  Because of a snafu with wardrobe, his cop role morphed into him becoming an undercover cop.

1310-2 A Daughter's Nightmare

1310-3

He also enjoyed the opportunity to work with Richard Karn on this movie.

1310-1 A Daughter's Nightmare, with Richard Karn

Because of Hubby’s knee injury, I had to help out with the leaf raking in the fall.  It was quite the job and I actually enjoyed it.  Most importantly, my body didn’t complain too badly the next day.

1310-4 Backyard leaves

My oldest son flew home in October to attend his company’s awards dinner where he was presented with an award for Best Personal Achievement of the Year.  A real honour and well deserved.  After several months in a hotel, he and his family took possession of their new house on Halloween.

1310-5 New house

It took awhile, but my gorgeous RONE trophy finally made its way home to me in November.  I’m so very proud of it.

IMG_0793

In November, I delivered my son’s dogs to them in their lovely new home and stayed to visit for a few days.  When I asked my three-year-old grandson what colour his brother’s new school was and he said green and red.  My DIL said she thought it was brick.  We found out later, the important part of the school was indeed green and red.

1311-2 Playground

We spent a fun day at the Science Center.  His uncle, the engineer, would be proud of how quickly my five-year-old grandson figured out the concept of water damming.

1311-3 Science Centre

A bonus to my trip was reconnecting with my cousin, Susan.  We grew up together but hadn’t seen each other since the mid 80’s. She now lives mere blocks away from my son, so we’ll be able to visit whenever I go out there.

I’m not sure how the locals feel about it, but I enjoyed watching the jack rabbits from my son’s front window.

1311-4 Jack rabbit in yard

In mid-November, I received the exciting news that Show No Weakness is a Chatelaine finalist in the Chanticleer Books Blue Ribbon writing competition.  The winner will be announced by January 15th and will move on to compete with the winners from all the other categories.

Usually my oldest and youngest sons like to grow Movember moustaches, but this year my middle son joined a group at his work to raise funds for prostrate cancer research.  I’m not a fan of facial hair, but I think my brown-eyed boy looks rather handsome.

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At the beginning of December, I convinced Hubby to visit his dad in California.  He’d had a setback with his knee and I thought a trip to somewhere warm would do him good.  What I didn’t foresee was how much I’d miss him.  I found I hated coming home to an empty house and eating dinner alone.  We had a cold snap while he was away, but thankfully only one snowfall, which my wonderful young neighbour shovelled for me.

As soon as I found out my son and his family were moving away, I started to dread the Christmas holiday.  I didn’t know how I’d possibly find any happiness without my family around me.  I even sold my magnificent tree, buying a small table-top one instead.  It’s not nearly as splendid, but I’ve actually grown to quite like it.

1312-1 New Christmas tree

Hubby, my youngest son and I had a quiet Christmas morning.  My traditional cinnamon buns were a flop, but we ate them anyway.  We talked at length on the phone to the rest of the family, and my DIL thoughtfully shared video of the little boys opening their presents.  These were two of my favourite presents under the tree this year.

1312-2

I’d thought we’d be spending Christmas dinner alone, but my sister arranged the use of the clubhouse at my mom’s complex and about forty of us attended.  Putting on a dinner for that many people is a feat in itself.  Everyone brought a dish or two and a few of us did the coordinating.  It made for a very busy day, which left little time to feel sorry for myself and miss my loved ones who weren’t there.

New Year’s Eve was spent much the way I always spend it.  Hubby headed off to bed early, I quietly read until it was time to watch the ball drop.  Then I kissed my little dog and went to bed.  Another year has come and gone.

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