The Year of Positive Changes

2014 was a busy year, full of happys and sads, and thankfully only a few bads.

The year started out with a major sad. A talented motocross rider, and close friend of our son, broke his back while attempting a double front flip on his bike. He’s paralyzed from the waist down, but his spirit is incredible and he continues to live life to the fullest. We wish him all the best.

Roxy had her 11th birthday in January. She’s starting to go blind and it’s rather heartbreaking to watch as she becomes timid and unsure.

We vacationed in Ixtapa, Mexico mid January. Despite all sorts of setbacks, we had an amazing time, and I hope one day to make it back there.

Beautiful sunsets awed us every evening.

1401-1 Sunset from our room

Isla Ixtapa from our room

379 Isla Ixtapa

The crocodile habitat gave us many hours of fascinating entertainment

1401-3 Crocodile Habitat

Playa Cuachalate, Isla Ixtapa

1401-4 Playa Cuachalate, Isla Ixtapa

Playa Linda

1401-6 Playa Linda

We spent one lovely day wandering around Zihuatanejo. This is Playa Municipal.

1401-5 Playa Municipal, Zihuatanejo

As usual, I did several posts about the trip with tons of photos. You can click Here for the first one, then use the ‘next’ button on the top right-hand side to scroll through to find the rest.

When we returned home, Hubby bought a recumbent bike and started pedalling every morning. Still off work and waiting for an MRI, the bike offers a good workout without his knee pain flaring up.

More upheaval at my work in January resulted in a promotion to acting administrator. I wasn’t keen to take on the job and talk about stress…

Our youngest son (S#3) attended the Sundance Film Festival in January.

1401-18 Sundance

February was an excellent month and a torturous month.

My sequel to Show No Weakness, It’s Complicated, was contracted with Sweet Cravings Publishing. I immediately became immersed in edits, blurbs, and all those (not so) fun things.

Poor little Roxy developed some weird affliction on her nose that had us worried. It eventually healed up and is shiny black now.

1402 Roxy's poor nose owie

But it was nothing compared to the worry when our DIL in NL was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Thankfully, after having part of her thyroid removed, she needed no further treatment. What a scare.

Around the same time as her cancer ordeal, our bright little lawyer moved from private practice to the prosecution’s office. Look out bad guys!

We got a new roof on our house in March. We also did bathroom renos. It looks so much better, although the tub reglazing fumes were deadly and nearly did me in.

I flew to Alberta in March to visit my oldest son (S#1) and his family. My grandson’s skating lesson brought back memories of all the rink time with my own three boys.

1403- Skating lesson

The unseasonably nice weather enabled us to visit the Calgary Zoo.

1403-1 Calgary Zoo

1403-2 Calgary Zoo

1403-5 Calgary Zoo

There’s more zoo photos HERE

Hubby finally had his MRI in April. His meniscus is basically pounded flat and surgery won’t correct it. So, he embarked on a strenuous exercise and rehab program and has become much fitter, currently having lost about 45 pounds. I strongly admire his drive and dedication.

As part of the whole healthy and fit philosophy, we sold our powerboat and bought a kayak last spring. Although neither of us had ever used a tandem sit-on kayak, we anxiously awaited the warmer weather to try it out.

1405-1 Roxy with new kayak

Every month my yard offered a new delight, starting with the NanKing Cherry.

1404-11 Nanking Cherry

A post with many more blooms from my yard can be found HERE.

We made a quick trip to Vancouver at the beginning of May. We managed one long, lovely walk between rain showers.

4

1405-2 Vancouver

Notice little Roxy sitting at the base of this Granville Island totem pole.

1405-3 Vancouver

Naturally, I have more photos HERE

Not to be outdone, my own little rhododendron put on a spectacular show.

1405-7

Buying the kayak created a snowball effect. We sold the truck and bought a Nissan Rogue, then outfitted the SUV with roof racks and a bike carrier.

1407-1 Kayaking

Hubby filled the void for my missing boys on Mother’s Day by fixing Mom and me a lovely brunch, then we spent the afternoon at Knox Mountain and the waterfront.

7 Knox Mtn

14 Waterfront Park

I blogged about it HERE

My grandsons were thrilled with a visit from Thomas the Train.

1405-6 Thomas the Train

My middle son (S#2) and DIL went to Florida in May, wisely not telling Mama about their skydiving plans until afterwards.

1405-8 Florida

1405-9 Florida

They also had some fun at Disneyworld. (Look at that smile. Once a boy, always a boy)

1405-10 Florida

They capped off a great trip with scuba diving and swimming with the manatees.

1405-11 Swim with Manatees Florida

I set a goal to trek the entire length of the Mission Creek Greenway this summer. It’s 33 kms of there-and-back hiking on varied terrain. We did about 7 kms in mid May.

1405-12 Mission Creek

1405-14 Mission Creek

I submitted a manuscript to Wild Rose Press in April, and in May they asked for revisions and to resubmit. Luckily, my changes were accepted, and in June the story was contracted under the title Dare To Risk All.

Hubby’s father visited at the end of May. Despite drizzly weather, we managed to take in some fresh air. We even visited the Kettle Valley Trestles.

1405-6 Kettle Valley trestles

At the start of June, we hiked Knox Mountain’s lower Apex Trail and then over to Paul’s Tomb. 5.5 kms total distance and vertical climb of 190 metres.

1406-1 Knox

1406-3 Knox Mtn

1406-4 Knox Mtn.

We did lots of walking and biking in our neighbourhood throughout the spring and summer. Nerve pain in my neck and shoulders occasionally prevented me from carrying Roxy in her sling, and I became one of those people. She loved it.

1406-7 Roxy

All eight siblings celebrated Mom’s birthday in June.

1406-8 Mom's birthday

Just because I made Roxy sit beside her cousin Ace, didn’t mean she had to look at her.

1406-7 Roxy & Ace

The tiger lilies were exquisite this year.

1406-9

Later in June, we hiked Knox Mountain’s upper Apex trail. It was longer and more strenuous than the lower trail: 2.5 kms compared to only 1.8 kms for the lower trail, with a vertical change of 170 metres compared to 90 metres.

1406-10 Knox Mtn

1406-11 Knox Mtn

The end of June, we took a 600 kms road trip to Alberta. We hadn’t driven that route for years and were pleased with the road improvements. The Rocky Mountains were still as picturesque as I remembered.

1406-13 Rogers Pass

Kicking Horse River near Field, BC. Love the colour of the water.

1406-14 Rogers Pass near Field

I posted many more mountain shots HERE

While in Alberta, we went to the Science Centre with the kids.

1406-15 Science Centre

And took many spins around the neighbourhood while Grandson #1 learned to ride his new birthday scooter.

1406-16

Roxy didn’t like her cousin Sukie any better than her cousin Ace, but that didn’t stop her from being bossy.

1406-17 Sukie & Roxy

As usual, we spent Canada Day taking in the sights and sounds on the waterfront.

1407-2 Canada Day waterfront

1407-3 Canada Day

At the beginning of July, I made the tough decision to quit my job. It had become too stressful and the negative impact on my health was no longer worth it. Coincidently, the week after I finished work, Hubby happily returned to his job after having over a year off with his injury.

Look at the brave little cowboy riding the mechanical bull at the Calgary Stampede.

1407-5 Stampede

And this little cowboy is totally adorable roping cows.

1407-6 roping

Finally, in July, the lake was warm enough to venture out in our new kayak. We picked Sutherland Bay for its quiet surroundings and ease of launching, and had a remarkably good time.

1407-8 Sutherland Bay

1407-9 Sutherland Bay

1407-11 Sutherland Bay

Good view of Knox Mtn from the water.

1407-12 Knox Mtn from Sutherland Bay

The third week of July we tackled another part of the Mission Creek Greenway. 13 kms of mostly flat trail.

1407-13 Mission Creek

1407-14 Mission Creek

We kayaked the south end of the lake, the end of July. While we enjoyed it, too much boat traffic made us nervous and the resulting waves made for hard paddling.

1407-15

1407-16 Okanagan Lake

The most anticipated visit of the summer happened when S#1’s family came home in August. I had a full week of Grammy heaven.

Littlest grandson wasn’t too sure about his new birthday scooter.

1408-1 birthday gift

The bunkbeds finally got some use.

1408-2

We took many trips around the block.

1408-3

A day at Rotary Marshes and Waterfront Park

1408-4 Rotary marshes

1408-7 Okanagan lake

The boys got reacquainted with their cousins. What’s more fun than a bunch of little boys and some bubbles?

1408-8 bubbles

True to their personalities, our oldest grandson had a blast in the pool, while the younger one was more cautious.

1408-9 Pool fun

1408-10

After numerous problems with both my ancient laptop and the little travel netbook, I bought a new laptop. It’s an HP Pavilion convertible and only 13.6 inches, so good for travelling. Surprisingly, I’m not having much difficulty with Windows 8.1 or the new Word program.

1408-13 New laptop

I finally started my brain retraining in August using the Gupta Program. I noticed almost immediate improvements in some areas, but have since slid back a bit and need to renew my efforts in the New Year. I blogged about my experience with the program HERE.

We did lots of biking in the summer, the bike carrier allowing us to explore other parts of town. We biked the Abbott Street corridor and on to Knox Mountain and back. Great fun. My first off-road adventure was at Mission Creek. I was a little nervous in places.

1408-15 Mission Creek to Scenic Canyon

1408-16 Mission Creek

We also did the Rails to Trails. An easy trail where I felt secure.

1408-26 Rails to Trails Line

1408-12 Rails to Trails Line

Our third and last kayak of the season took place in August. Again, boat traffic took the edge off our enjoyment. I look forward exploring smaller lakes next summer.

1408-11 Okanagan Lake

1408-12 Okanagan Lake

S#3 took a trip of a lifetime to South Africa in August, spending six weeks in Johannesburg directing his own full-length movie. He capped off the trip with a visit to St Lucia, on the coast. What an incredible experience.

1408-17 Lord Jones is Dead

1408-18 Lord Jones is Dead

1408-20 Lord Jones is Dead

1408-21 S Africa

1408-22 S Africa

1408-23 S Africa

1408-24 S Africa

As always, the petunias put on a cheery late summer display of colour.

1408-25 Petunias in August

Lucky S#2 and DIL went to Italy at the beginning of September. Two beautiful people in beautiful settings—what could be better?

Sorrento

1408-29 Sorrento

Florence

1409-1 Leaning tower of Pisa

Venice

1409-2 Venice

Rome

1409-3 Rome

1409-4 Rome

We did more biking along the Mission Creek Greenway in September.

1409-2 Mission Creek Greenway

On our various strolls along the waterfront, Roxy and I got up close and personal with the infamous Ogopogo.

1409 Roxy & Oggie

1407-4 Canada Day

We hiked part of the Scenic Canyon section of Mission Creek Greenway in September. I’d been looking forward to this one for quite a while. Only about 6 kms, but far more vertical than other parts of the greenway.

1409-8 Scenic Canyon

1409-9 Rock Ovens Scenic Canyon

1409-12 Layercake mtn Scenic Canyon

An unexpected dump of snow gave my little grandsons a few days of outdoor fun in mid September.

1409-14 snow in Sept

Directly after returning from his trip to S Africa, S#3 stayed with us to work on the third of the Nightmare movies, A Wife’s Nightmare, being shot locally.

We wrapped up the final section of Scenic Canyon at the end of September, completing the entire 33 km length of Mission Creek Greenway. This was by far the most arduous hike, about 6 kms, with plenty of steep vertical challenges.

1409-16 Scenic Canyon

1409-20 Scenic Canyon

1409-21 Scenic Canyon

1409-22 Scenic Canyon

I received my cover for Dare To Risk All in September. I absolutely love it, but am waiting for a release date before I do a cover reveal.

After sulking all summer, the alyssum showed their gorgeous colour as the weather cooled.

1409-23

On a balmy, sunny day in October, we returned to a section of Mission Creek to explore it further. Bonus for me was spotting this little snake. It disappeared quickly into the grass, so I had to haul the little guy back onto the trail to take its picture.

1410-2 Mission Creek

1410-1 Mission Creek

1410-3 Mission Creek

I posted many photos of our summer adventures HERE, if you care to see more.

Edits on Dare To Risk All were completed in October and I’m now just waiting on a release date. Hopefully it’ll be soon in 2015.

We took what I hope will become an annual road trip to Alberta to celebrate Thanksgiving with S#1 and his family. Once again, I was thoroughly in awe of the spectacular scenery.

1410-6 Field, BC

1410-7 Rogers Pass

1410-21 Rogers Pass home

Kicking Horse River

1410-23 Kicking Horse River

Our grandson has progressed from skating lessons to hockey practice.

1410-8 hockey

We spent a day at Heritage Park. We hadn’t been there for years and I found it quite nostalgic.

1410-10 Glenmore Reservoir from Prospect Ridge

1410-11 Heritage Park

More on that visit can be found HERE

Without delving into the whole sport hunting controversy (which I abhor), I quite enjoyed Bass Pro and all their amazingly realistic displays.

1410-12 Bass Pro

1410-13 Bass Pro

1410-14 Bass Pro

Such fun to watch my favourite CFL team practice at McMahon Stadium. I spent many teenage years watching the Stampeders play there.

1410-15 McMahon Stadium

We celebrated S#1 and DIL’s birthday’s at the Calgary Tower Restaurant. Hubby and I had gone there on our honeymoon, so it was special to go with the little ones.

1410-16 Calgary Tower

1410-17 Calgary Tower

1410-18 Calgary Tower

1410-19 Calgary Tower

1410-20 Calgary Tower

Our Christmas cactus is actually a Halloween cactus and this year it outdid itself.

1410-25

So proud of my tiny little niece for all her hard work and dedication. She took 1st place in a body building competition. Meet Miss Fit.

1411-1 1st place, Miss Fit

We had a cold snap in November with a big snowfall, but it soon melted and we ended up with a green Christmas.

1411-2 First snowfall

My adorable little 6 yr old grandson lost a bunch of teeth all at once.

1411-3

I’m having to adjust to my Christmas traditions evolving a little bit every year. This year, S#3 and Mom joined us for turkey dinner on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning was quiet as Hubby, S#3 and I opened our few gifts while pigging out on tasty cinnamon buns. We spent the afternoon at my sister’s, so I could get my little children fix, then home for leftovers, which tasted just as good the second day.

Two of my best gifts.

1412

As the year closes, I’ve finished another book, and I now need to decide where to send it off.

I wish everyone a healthy, loving and fun 2015!

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