Daily Archives: 2015-02-12

Winter in Canada = Check!

Sitting on a plane from Edmonton to San Francisco. I don’t know why but no matter how much I fly, I always get a little nervous. But it’s usually much worse on the way to a trip than from a trip. I suppose when I’m coming home, there is less to look forward to. It’s like, “Well, if the plane crashes, at least I had my fun.” Yeah, I know it’s morbid. Then I think about how I am tempting fate but saying, “Hey its ok if I die”….I suppose the only way to battle the “end-of-the-trip death acceptance” attitude is never letting the trip end. So that seems to be my way…

We had a great few months in Edmonton, and I got to see my family and some of my friends. The weather was quite warm for the peak of winter so once again, we got lucky. Don’t get me wrong, we definitely got our share of blizzards…but January was so unseasonably warm, it was hard to get a jacket on Michael. I got to spend a lot of time with my parents and Michael was so kind to help my Dad with some home renovations. It was amusing to watch him taking “suggestions” from my Dad on how exactly it should be done…he has the patience of a saint. In the end, the two of them had bonded and my mom was thrilled to finally have her new ceiling in her kitchen. I was upset that they didn’t have even one functioning smoke alarm in the whole house, so after we got them three and installed them, I was able to relax. It’s really important to take care of your parents when they get older…sometimes they spent so much of their energy taking care of you growing up, that they are tired and need a little help. It’s such an honor to be able to drive them to doctors appointments, especially when I know how hard it is for my Dad to ask for help…now I know where I get it from.

I am over the moon to be able to set my parents up with an iPad. My dad is nuts about word searches and luring him in free word search apps was my sneaky way of getting him over his fear of electronics. I showed him how easy it was to play with the colorful and shiny touch screen and he was hooked. The “computer” has been one major source of separation between my mom and dad. She is well versed in the inter webs and he is not. I imagine he feels a little left out and intimidated by it all but now he seems to be warming up. He is very old school but it appears we have found a way to draw him in to the 21 century.

All my friends are becoming parents lately, but I am happy not to be bringing new life into the world. I am grateful to have my parents to parent. Some people don’t have that, and I know that when the day comes that they are not around anymore, I won’t have any regrets. Like a hungry squirrel forging acorns for winter, I am gathering up and storing a ton of memories with them now so that in the future, I won’t miss them so much. Well, I hope that’s how it works.

Suddenly, the plane got cold. Man, that is one thing I am really looking forward to is not having snow. I like snow to look at but I just can’t stand the cold. I did get out skiing this trip, which was something I haven’t done in decades. I surprised myself with my skills and only fell down once. But that once was enough. It was extra fun because we wore our giraffe and bear onesies. In fact we wore those onesies as often as we could. Because inevitably some random would yell appreciative comments out of passing cars. It was a great way to cheer people in the otherwise cold long dark nights.

We spent my birthday at Fantasyland hotel in the Roman Room, which was way more fun than I ever expected. I think this is a must do for anyone who has the chance. They usually have  great sales around the holidays so we took advantage of that. I was expecting it to be really corny but it was very luxurious, with marble columns, giant jacuzzi and mirrors everywhere, even on the ceiling. Perhaps my favorite was the round bed enclosed in gossamer curtains. We spent a good hour planning how we could get a round bed in our dream house. And important on a birthday are balloons. The candle, I can take it or leave it, along with the sugar bomb cake…but the balloons I must have. I got a few holographic silver stars and one happy face that bobbed around behind me as we wandered around every corner of West Edmonton Mall.

I had planned to go to the gym a lot when I was home but we only got there once, because I got quite sick. For a good month I just couldn’t kick the cold/flu. I was pretty miserable and drank way more neocitrin than any sane human should. But I was able to heal and afterwards, even (very reluctantly) went to the doc for a full check up. She said all was well, so I can stop feeding any hypochondriacal monster that may be lurking inside.

So now we head back to San Francisco but only for one night. We have to pack our bags for a very exciting trip to Hawaii, Tahiti, Bora Bora, the Maquesas, and a few that I’d never heard of, like Nuka Hiva and Kirabati (Fanning Island). It was highly discounted so it was an offer we really couldn’t refuse, especially since we both haven’t been to French Polynesia. It’s the kind of place I have never thought about going, mostly because it seems very uneconomical. It is extremely expensive to get there and once there, accommodations are insanely steep. This is where you find those little grass huts built over turquoise clear water. They are generally upwards of $1000 a night. At that price, we would have to fly in, stay one night, then fly out the next day. It just never made any sense. BUT going on a cruise ship and island hopping, while we can stay overnight on the ship, that made sense. We will visit an island so tiny that one big tidal wave would wash it all away. Exciting!

And a couple days ago, I happened upon an opportunity that was also, too good to pass up. We had discussed getting to AfrikaBurn this year, and a few months ago, even filled out the volunteer applications. We all but gave up on that when suddenly, a FREE cruise came our way. It just happened to start in Cape Town and ended in London. It seems a lot of people had canceled because of the fear of Ebola in West Africa, which happened to be where a few of our ports are.. I was happy to jump on board and was overjoyed to finally be able to share one of my very favorite countries with Michael. He casually mentioned how cool it would be if AfrikaBurn happened around then, and guess what? It starts one week before we board the ship. The timing could not be better. When I checked into flights, I was able to secure a steal of a deal, on a one way ticket from SFO to Johannessburg for less than $700. The routing is awesome too as we only have one change in the States before the 16 hour flight all the way there. We will be able our air miles to get back from Europe at the end so this trip is turning out to be a real gift. I love it when a plan works out!

So tonight we have to pack and tomorrow AM we leave for San Diego, where we will AirBnb it before boarding for our month on the Pacific seas.

Grateful for going to places I thought I never would.

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