January 13, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane

Well, the time has come to say good-bye. The new year is underway and so is my busy travel schedule for yet another year. Sometimes I feel like I have run away with a travelling circus, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I will never admit to whether or not this Travel Girl is a member of the Mile High Club (for no other reason than my mother reads this blog), but I did find a way this past year to pass the time while in the air and sitting in airports... blogging. The only way I was able to keep up this blog was to write at 37,000 feet. Trust me, it totally passes the time when there is no in-flight movie. In today’s fast-paced, wired world we get angry if we have to wait in line, wait in traffic, wait period. We are now programmed to expect everything immediately. But, I recently read a suggestion that every time we have to wait we should reverse our thinking and actually be thankful for having a few minutes to ourselves. Take that moment to think about something YOU want to think about instead of the next deadline. I apply this philosophy when I’m flying as well as blogging. I revel in the time I have to myself and indulge my own thoughts. Thank you to my loyal and interested reader(s). Although this blog was a personal journey, I truly appreciate the time you took out of your life to read about mine. I am now going to take the time I would have spent blogging and apply it to new efforts. Perhaps I'll return to it one day, but until then... In the words of one of my favourite musical artists, Sarah Harmer, “I meant to write it on the plane. High above my earthly pain. But, I slept right through the flight. And that was all.”

Vitamin H

Admittedly, I wasn't really looking forward to our Hawaiian holiday. I had a bad feeling that we were not going to have good weather or a good time. I was also skeptical whether I REALLY needed a vacation. I mean I travel ALL the time... did I really want to go on yet another trip? And, 10 days straight with a challenging six-year-old would be both a blessing and a curse. Things didn't start out all that well including POURING rain. But, we woke up to sunshine on New Year's Day... hopefully a good omen for the year to come. I surprised myself by how quickly I adapted to doing absolutely nothing. Every day was spent on the beach and by the pool and I'd wonder if maybe tomorrow I would get bored? But, then I could hardly wait to wake up and do it all over again. It's amazing how time flies when all you are doing is reading and sipping coconut smoothies only to be interrupted by a swim or a little people watching (which incidentally included Trista & Ryan of The Bachelorette fame). It's also amazing how repeatedly hearing "I love you" from the Fly Girl makes you forgive all her whining and crying. My friends tease me because I worship the sun and take suntanning so seriously that I refer to it as my "second job." But, there is something about it that feeds me. And, it's not just the Vitamin D. I am completely consumed by happiness when I'm in the sun... breathing in the beautiful Hawaiian scenery and smells, watching the humpback whales breaching offshore, and playing in the sand and surf with my family. Who was I kidding?! I truly needed this dose of relaxation and rejuvenation. And, Hawaii was the perfect prescription.

December 28, 2007

The next chapter

The year is drawing to a close and so is the life of this blog. When I started it at the beginning of 2007, I decided I would keep it up for one year. Tomorrow, I leave on a 10-day Hawaiian holiday. When I return, this Travel Girl will write one last post about the trip and then this blog will heed its final call for departure. In its place, I am setting new goals for 2008 which loosely centre on the three R’s: reading, writing and arithmetic. OK, not that last one, but I will be ramping up my running again and that starts with “R.” As embarrassing as it is to admit, I don’t read. Of course, I read the newspaper every day, magazines and endless travel articles at work, but I don’t read books. I used to devour books as a kid and then stopped reading for pleasure in university. I always figured that if I had time to be reading, I should be reading a text book. Incidentally I didn’t read those either... it would have cut into my drinking. But, it is never too late to start again and I have my pool-side reading list ready to go. I have received many compliments about my writing on this blog and truly appreciate every single one. I hope to improve and enhance these skills by potentially taking some writing classes over the coming year and beyond. And, finally of course my goals always include working on my well-being, both my physical and mental health, but also the well-being of my family and community. I wish you health and happiness and a very Happy New Year... Aloha!

December 26, 2007

The day after

Ahh, Boxing Day. A do nothing, don’t get out of your pajamas, don’t get off the couch kind of day. Placing another chocolate in my mouth and calling it breakfast… I felt so relaxed. Yesterday was fun, but exhausting. After only a couple of hours of sleep, we “got the call” from the Fly Girl at 6:45 am on Christmas morning. She was up and so were we. We headed to her mother’s house to watch her open her stocking and have breakfast. Then clean up and head home to open our gifts. Then clean up and start cooking. Then clean up and serve dinner. Then clean up and fall into bed. Everything went like clockwork though. Placing my first ever table cloth on the table and cooking Christmas dinner for my family… I felt so grown up. And, we cooked a mean dinner. Although I swear I didn’t taste my food. The last thing I did before going to bed was open a Christmas card from my Fly Guy. I had been saving it all day for the first quiet moment to myself. Every year he spoils me rotten with thoughtful gifts. Unbelievably thoughtful. But, every Christmas I look forward to that simple Hallmark moment. I would trade any material gift for those few words from the heart... OK, not my new Salomon skis! But, placing my head on the pillow at the end of a long day, and a long year… I felt so loved.

December 24, 2007

Santa's workshop

Almost overnight the Fly Girl has gone from watching the Treehouse network to YTV. What this means is she went from watching relatively educational programing to complete crap. Essentially Dora vs. Pokemon. The most notable change however is now she is exposed to commercials. The first time I watched the onslaught of commercials on this channel, I was shocked by the blatant retail brainwashing. As adults we tune this out (or at least I think we do?), but she watches each commercial and every preview on a DVD as if it were a short film. The result... Butterscotch. This is what she decided to ask Santa for. What is Butterscotch you ask? A life-size, battery-operated, stuffed pony! So, as to not disappoint on Christmas morning, Butterscotch was purchased. I won't tell you what was paid for it, but in return you get real pony movement, real pony sounds and most importantly real pony friendship. It is recommended that you not give Butterscotch to your child until assembled so last night we opened up the box and quickly discovered why... her head comes in a separate box. Yikes! My Fly Guy pointed out that for stupid parents the directions clearly label which is the head and which is the body. I pointed out that they already know we are stupid because we bought the thing in the first place. Anyway, after the twist of a screwdriver and a few batteries, Butterscotch came to life and is now ready to make an appearance on Christmas morning. We all know that Butterscotch will be put out to pasture after tomorrow, but will hopefully delight a six-year-old child for the day. What the Fly Girl wants, the Fly Girl gets. Hmm... what was that I was saying about brainwashing?!

December 15, 2007

Shake and bake

I don’t mean to rub it in, but I am ready for Christmas. The presents are bought and wrapped, the tree is decorated, the baking is done and the Christmas parties are underway. I got an early start this year with my trip home in November to visit mom and dad. I had to hurry up and do my Christmas shopping and after that everything else just kind of fell into place without any stress. Admittedly I have had a few hick-ups along the way, however. The lights on the tree crapped out in the middle of decorating. The Fly Girl misunderstood my announcement that there were now presents under the tree as the OK to start opening them even though it was a miscellaneous Thursday night. And despite my best attempts, my baking for our cookie exchange at work failed. The M&M's didn't stick to my thumbprint cookies so I practically had to break out the duct tape to MacGyver them back together. OK, I melted some chocolate chips and painted them on to act like glue, but this technique was not far off. Then in a panic that I was burning a square, I ended up undercooking it. And finally, after an emergency trip to the grocery store to exchange a can of condensed milk for evaporated milk in the middle of making fudge, I poured the entire can into the pot instead of just 2/3 cup. The fudge had to be eaten with a spoon. Now, I think of my mom as being able to make and bake anything, but she is the first to admit that cooking and baking do not come naturally to her and unfortunately they don’t to me either. I think it’s because I never had an Easy Bake Oven as a child. Needless to say, the Fly Guy will be cooking the Christmas turkey in our house.

December 13, 2007

Lights, camera, action

My family is Swedish and on this day, the Swedes celebrate Santa Lucia Day. This Swedish festival of lights helps to brighten up the long winter nights and celebrates the life of Santa Lucia, known for her kindness and love. On the morning of December 13th, girls in Sweden dress up as Santa Lucia wearing a white dress and crown of candles. Boys wear white pyjamas and pointed hats with gold stars and carry a star wand. They creep into their parents’ bedroom singing Santa Lucia’s traditional song and serve warm lussekater (saffron buns). What child is allowed to light a match or bake on their own, or willingly gets up for school without being poked and prodded, I don’t know? But, this is the practice. Every year, I am reminded of the time in Grade 3 that along with a friend with Danish heritage, we wrote our own play for the school Christmas concert called “A Scandinavian Christmas.” Pretty ambitious, don’t you think?! OK, yes we were geeks. We cast our friend, Candice, as Santa Lucia as she looked the part with blue eyes and blond hair that she wore in two long braids every day. I don’t know what the rest of us were doing, but Candice successfully wore the crown of candles without setting fire to her beautiful locks… or the school. If you want a better visual of what I’m talking about, rent the Christmas movie “The Ref” starring Dennis Leary. I swear I was the only one in the theatre laughing.