29 January 2010

Pre-birthday reflections

Written on Friday night, Jan 29:
Since I'll be out all day tomorrow (8 to 8!) and I rarely write on Sundays--and since I have a work deadline on Monday, and Tuesday is my 39th birthday--I thought I'd post these thoughts tonight.

2009 was not an easy year, from beginning to end. My prayer is that I will learn from it, move on ... and never have to repeat that particular collection of experiences.

Last January we endured a difficult trip to BC (weather-wise), and on the way home we got stuck in Revelstoke overnight (combination of avalanche/mudslide/unsafe driving conditions). Feb. was fine (I ALWAYS enjoy my annual birthday retreat), but Mar/Apr/May remain a blur. Tax season is ... taxing, for both of us.

June brought a welcome reprieve from work; we stayed in Vernon-on-the-lake with dear friends, attended a memorable wedding in Penticton ... and I started a new hobby: horse riding, something I've wanted to do for years.

In July we travelled to BC again to photograph a wedding in Surrey. Although the day itself was gorgeous--and the bride beyond beautiful--the week was psychologically wearying. Rather unexpectedly, R experienced an emotional slide into quite deep depression, and in August we finally sought psychiatric help. (In retrospect, this is something we should have done years ago; if only we'd known then what we know now!)

August went from bad to worse. On the first day I got stung by wasps while helping our landlord redo the deck; R escaped for a week during the noise and chaos of construction ... and my brother had a near-fatal car accident on Aug 7. The next day I nearly got us evicted from our lovely home by starting a no-win argument with my landlord; he was unwell, and I was in shock after hearing Wal's tragic news--not the best combo for a calm conversation between fiery personalities. I tread carefully around certain folk at the best of times. This was not the best of times.

In August and September, both my sister and my mom were admitted to hospital, within weeks of Wal's accident. Mari simply contracted measles, while Mom's health complications continued to plague her for months, ranging from heart failure and other organ malfunctions, to the recent discovery of a growth on her cheek (finally biopsied this week) and cataracts on her eyes.

In October Robin's father passed away.

By Nov/Dec, we realised we needed another little holiday. A generous soul in California graciously hosted us, and we (i.e. my spouse) chose to drive the 40 hours from here to San Diego via Vancouver, joined by two BC companions with whom we'd not travelled before, between Christmas and New Year, in frightful weather conditions....

Much was learned by all parties during our very, very long road trip:-) Need I say more?

One of the trip's highlights shared by all was visiting the giant pandas at the San Diego Zoo (the primary purpose of the trip for our youngest travelling companion); another was visiting the beaches in the area. R enjoyed his day on the USS Midway, as well as exploring various military museums. For me, staying with our host (whom we'd met in Prague in 1995) made the trip more than worthwhile. I enjoyed the company of all four housemates, but it was a comfort and joy staying home and reconnecting with my friend while the other three went out sightseeing and shopping and driving to LA and back!

{Thanks for having us, MR, for feeding us, for playing piano for me, and for being a gracious bachelor despite the invasion of your space. You were most kind.}

All's well that ends well, and R and I enjoyed our drive home from Surrey to Cochrane--with a more pleasant stop in Revelstoke this time around--just before school started in mid-January. These are my Friday night reflections as I head into a busy weekend.

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