Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

 

Wishing all my fellow Canadians, especially family and friends, a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you find joy and gratitude in your lives. Here are some of my joys, for which I’m so grateful:

Our two puppies. Georgie, who came to us in March (thanks go to our youngest son for driving her out here from the coast) and Bella, who joined us in June. I’m grateful my hubby set aside his misgivings to welcome these precious little ones into our family.

Hubby had his knee replacement in May, and is working hard on a complete recovery.

May was a good month, as we also celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. And the best gift of all that month was the birth of our adorable granddaughter. I’m beyond grateful for our miracle baby. Take my word for it, she’s beautiful and perfect in every way.

I’m grateful my oldest son and his family came to visit twice last summer. A quick trip in June to meet our new little princess. And again in August, to celebrate my oldest grandson’s birthday and have some fun in the Okanagan sun.

We usually try to go to Alberta for Thanksgiving, which coincides with my son and daughter-in-law’s birthdays. This year we opted to go in September to celebrate my younger grandson’s birthday. It’s the first time in five years we were able to do so, and for that I’m grateful.

I’m also very thankful that we made it safely back home the day before a huge snowfall caused all sorts of havoc in Alberta and on the highways headed west. I’ll post photos and stories of our trip in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I’ll gratefully enjoy turkey dinner tonight.

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She’ll Always Live In My Heart, My Sweet Roxy

It’s still hard to believe that barely a month after I last posted to wish Roxy a happy fifteenth birthday, she was gone. Even though she was old and very fragile, there’s no real way to prepare for that kind of loss. She was truly a special little girl, the joy in my life, and I miss her immensely. A few years ago, I blogged about my wee diva, and if you care to, you can read that post HERE. And another post when she broke her leg HERE.

1 Roxy's last day22a.

As the reality of Roxy’s imminent passing became painfully clear to us, Hubby and I started talking about what it’d be like to not have a fur baby in the house. We’ve both had pets for most of our lives, including the eight dogs and cats we’ve raised throughout our marriage, but Hubby insisted he didn’t want any more. I, on the other hand, couldn’t commit to that possibility.

3 Pets4

I’m mostly housebound now. With my impaired vision, I can’t work, I can’t drive, and I struggle at times to find a purpose in my life. Roxy had been my purpose. My trusting little companion who loved me as much as I loved her. Knowing she was patiently waiting for me at the foot of the stairs, every single morning, gave me a reason to haul my butt out of bed and get on with my day. Her morning kisses were the best antidepressant on the market.

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After Roxy passed, we agreed to get one last pet. I wasn’t in a hurry, but I wanted to keep my options open so I began to peruse the classifieds. I soon came across an ad for teacup Chihuahua cross puppies. Apparently the tiny mama died delivering her pups, and the surviving puppies were brought to a rescue group. We liked the idea of a rescue dog, and that these were young puppies. We especially liked how the adoption fee went back into the rescue operation to help more animals find homes. And coincidentally, their probable birthdate is January 8th, same as Roxy’s.

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It was all so perfect, it almost seemed too good to be true. And turns out, it was, because two days before we were to pick up our new baby, the foster mom texted to say the puppy became sick after getting her deworm meds. After a long, stressful day of exchanging texts, I got the horrible news I’d dreaded. My beautiful puppy had died. How could this have happened? It was so unfair. Unfair for me to go through something so awful right after losing Roxy. And totally unfair to that tiny puppy who’d already overcome such a rough start to life.

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My feelings are raw, and a part of me is afraid to ever open my heart to another pet. But I’m a dog lover, so I likely will get another one, sooner or later. Meanwhile it’s important to remember Roxy as the unique and special little character that she was. That three-pound scrap of preciousness enriched my life in so many ways for fifteen amazing years, and she deserves to be remembered with smiles, not sadness.

5a With Roxy

And I mustn’t dwell on what might have been with that other sweet puppy who captivated me completely in just one short visit. My tiny rescue puppy who never got the chance to rescue me.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season, however you celebrate it.

The tree is trimmed, the house is decorated, now I’m waiting for the spirit of Christmas to arrive. I don’t care about presents, I just want to be with my family and am looking forward to having our youngest son at home. And hoping we can spend some cyber time with our eldest son and his family. We’ll be going to our brown-eyed boy’s new house for dinner to celebrate with him and our daughter-in-law, along with some of her family.

This will be our first Christmas without Mom, and her absence will be felt by so many. We still miss her every day, but during the holidays her loss is more poignant. She’ll be with us in our hearts and in our thoughts.

As I look towards the New Year, I wish all the best for everyone. May it be a great year, full of love, and laughter, and good health. I don’t want to be greedy, so I won’t say “May all our wishes come true”, but how about – most of our wishes. I’m confident a few of mine will! Happy New Year!

Stepping Away…

Thank you for stopping by my blog. Monday Musings is currently on hiatus while I tend to other projects. I’ve left links below to some of my more popular topics in case you’d like to browse. I promise most of them include gorgeous photos.

Or you can pop over to my bookshelf or excerpts if you want more information on my books.

I’ll see you all in a few months. Happy reading!

Link to:  My experience with torn and detached retinas

Link to:  Cruising around historic Cuba

Sunday Funday Adventures – Exploring the Okanagan

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Link to:  Beautiful beaches and hiking trails on Vancouver Island

Link to:  Monkeys and more at Sandos Caracol and Riviera Maya

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Link to:  Fun in Palm Desert and San Diego, California

Steamboats on the Old Man River, trolley cars and beignets…Adventures in New Orleans

Icebergs and rowhouses…Exploring Nova Scotia and Newfoundland

Favourite Furry Pets – And a few not so furry ones, too

 

An Ode to My Hubby on His Birthday

Happy Birthday, sweetheart. I wish we could celebrate this milestone birthday the way you deserve. Please accept a rain check to do something as special as you are, as soon as I’m able.

I’m not a poet, so none of this rhymes, but I mean every word.

Thank you for rushing me to Vancouver on such short notice after putting in a full day at work.

Thank you for battling Vancouver’s crazy traffic to take me to all my appointments without losing your cool…too much. 🙂

Thank you for taking such good care of Roxy and me. You might get a tad bossy at times (just a little bit), but I know you always have my best interests at heart.

Thank you for blowing a week of vacation to stay home and nursemaid me. It couldn’t have been very exciting, but I really appreciate it. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you.

Thank you for doing all the laundry (and other housework). Just because I tend to refold things and reorganize where you’ve put the towels doesn’t mean you’re not doing a great job.

While I’m not sure what the future holds for me, I do know you’ll be there by my side, bolstering me and encouraging me, no matter what happens. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your unwavering support. It means the world to me—and so do you.

I love you!

Sunday Funday Wrap-up

On a Sunday Funday in the middle of July, Hubby and I set out to explore Kathleen Lake. Access to the trail is off Knox Mountain Road, and we intended to drive to the top of Knox Mountain, then walk the short distance down the road to the trailhead. What we didn’t know is that on Sundays the road is closed to vehicle traffic until noon. So we hiked up the Apex Trail to the first lookout, then took the road up.

An elevation change of eighty metres is listed on the entrance sign, and we found the trail easy, without any real steep sections.

1 Kathleen Lake Trail 2 Kathleen Lake Trail

We got a peek or two at Kathleen Lake along the first part of the trail.

3. Kathleen Lake Trail

As we climbed higher, the small lake came into view.

4 Kathleen Lake Trail

At that point, we branched off onto the Glenmore Ridge Trail. It appears to have been an old service road and vehicle tracks serve as the trail, which is lined with a multitude of Inuksuk.

6. Glenmore Ridge Trail 7. Glenmore Ridge Trail

Some of the Inuksuk are quite large and elaborate.

8. Glenmore Ridge Trail 9. Glenmore Ridge Trail

I found this little notebook inside an Inuksuk and wrote a short greeting in it. What a lovely idea.

10. Glenmore Ridge Trail

Our lunchbreak view of Dilworth Mountain and the Glenmore Valley. Even a glimpse of the lake in the opposite direction.

11 View from Glenmore Ridge Trail

5 Glenmore Ridge Trail

Hello up there.

12 Glenmore Ridge Trail

Back on the Kathleen Lake Trail, we followed another old service road. Very unusual to see green foliage in the middle of July. There’s usually little green to be seen midsummer in the Okanagan.

13 Kathleen Lake Trail 15 Kathleen Lake Trail 21 Kathleen Lake Trail

The upper lookout on Knox Mountain is visible in the centre top of this photo.

14 Kathleen Lake Trail

Kathleen Lake from a better vantage point.

16 Kathleen Lake Trail

Such a look of concentration on my face as I inch my way down the precipitous slope to the lake. After my tumbles on Okanagan Mountain, I’ve grown a tad cautious going downhill.

17 Kathleen Lake Trail

The small lake was lush and green and peaceful. Well worth the trudge down and back up the steep incline.

18 Kathleen Lake Trail

Way back when Hubby and I were first together, I once explained to him while on a road trip that I was so blind, I couldn’t tell a bear from a stump. Over the years, he’s teased me many times: “Look, there’s a bear!…No, it’s just a stump.”

Maybe this time, I’m right. Look – there’s a bear! (Dead centre)

19 Look, there's a bear, Kathleen Lake Trail

Oh, no…it’s just a stump.

20 No, it's only a stump, Kathleen Lake Trail

Well, it could’ve been a bear. We were definitely in bear country. And although we didn’t come across any actual bears, I finally got my first deer sighting on Knox Mountain.

22 My 1st deer sighting on Knox Mtn

The following Sunday, we hiked up to the Rose Valley Reservoir on the Westside, one of my most and least liked hikes of the season. I loved how well-marked this regional park’s trails are. There’s even a clean porta-potty at the trailhead.

We started off on the Bunchgrass Trail, a short .6 kms and rated moderate.

23 Bunchgrass Trail, Rose Valley Regional Park

Bunchgrass meets up with Yellow Bell Loop, which is 3.1 kms and also rated moderate. A small pond borders the start of the trail.

24 Yellow Bell Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Tiny, tantalizing peeks of the lake promised better views to come.

25 Yellow Bell Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park 26- Yellow Bell Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Benches are placed at viewpoints along the trails, offering a chance for a breather and to take in the beauty.

27. Yellow Bell Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Kelowna waterfront and Dilworth Mountain in foreground.

28 Kelowna waterfront & Dilworth Mtn

WR Bennett Bridge and Kelowna city

29 Okanagan Lake from Rose Valley Regional Park

Knox Mountain (where we were the prior weekend)

30 Knox Mtn

Okanagan Lake, looking north

31 Knox Mtn & looking north

Mere steps further were views of Okanagan Lake from the Westside.

33 Okanagan Lake & Westside

City of West Kelowna, with Mount Boucherie (I’ve climbed that!) to the right and Okanagan Mountain (I’ve climbed that too!) across the lake.

34 Westside & Mount Boucherie

The Forest Loop branches off from Yellow Bell. This is an easy 2 km trail.

35 Forest Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park 36 Forest Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Next comes Bitterroot Loop, 2.8 kms and probably the most challenging and definitely the most interesting. The trail circles the top of the mountain, and at times is barely discernible, as the following photos attest.

37. Barely discernible trail, Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park 38. Barely discernible trail, Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park 39. Barely discernible trail, Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

We took a break on this rock to soak in the view.

40. Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Close-up of Kelowna waterfront and Okanagan Lake.

43 Kelowna waterfront & Okanagan Lake

WR Bennett Bridge and Kelowna General Hospital.

42. WR Bennett Bridge & KGH

Vista view lunchbreak.

44 Lunchtime, Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Off we go again.

46 Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Rose Valley Summit, Bitterroot Loop.

48 Summit, Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Great view looking north from the summit.

49 Summit, Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Rose Valley Reservoir, a lovely oasis of water on the top of a mountain.

51 Rose Valley Reservoir 52 Rose Valley Reservoir 53 Rose Valley Reservoir

Another bench for our viewing and relaxing pleasure.

54 Rose Valley Reservoir

I made myself a little dizzy, going out on this bluff to check how steeply the trail drops off.

55. Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

It’s steep.

56 Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

The reason I’d earlier said this hike was one of my least favourite is because, although there aren’t any steep inclines, the entire hike is steadily uphill, with few flat sections. That wasn’t a problem, but steadily uphill also means steadily downhill. Not only have I grown leery of descents, they’re extremely hard on my feet. By the time we reached the bottom, my Morton’s Neuroma was screaming, making every step an agony, and my two big toenails had partially lifted from their beds – owie painful.

57 Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park 58 Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park 59 Yellow Bell Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

We took advantage of the last bench on the trail to rest my feet and enjoy one final view of the lake. Total distance walked, about nine and three-quarter’s kms. And yeah, I’d do it again, with different footwear.

60 Last viewpoint, Yellow Bell Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

We had company on our last Sunday Funday in July. My eldest son and his family came to visit from Alberta, making this Grammy very happy. We spent a gloriously sunny evening at Waterfront Park.

61 Waterfront park 62. Waterfront park 65 Waterfront park 66 Waterfront park

Even the dogs came along. And we won’t mention that Sukie, the lab, fell into the lagoon when she went for a drink. 😉

63 Waterfront park 64 Waterfront park

Fantastic panoramic shot my daughter-in-law took.

67 Waterfront park

And that’s a wrap-up of our Sunday Fundays…at least for now. Go to first Sunday Funday post here.