and here we be...

So, our move to Bend has happened. Not smoothly, not easily, not without a good amount of effort, tears, and tricky bits. But, it has happened and here we be. I transitioned from my unpacking bubble fairly swiftly into the spirit of the season, and not without a sigh of relief and a self-congratulatory pat on the back (I'll admit it). All of a sudden, a corner was turned and a brightness, a lightness, came back into my days. How lovely was that...? (she asked rhetorically).

However, as of this morning, another wrench has been thrown into the mix. (I'll spare you the details, no need to minimize or aggrandize them, and I'm teetering between the two just now, not yet sure what our reality will be.) As suggested by the above, it's not the first wrench we've been thrown (and caught) in the last many months. My initial thought was to abandon my *ta da!* list for the day (which included this blog post), overcome as I was once again by the dismal, and the heavy, and some pretty decent out-loud cursing. But then, after a spell, I gathered my wits about me and thought better of it (I'm sure the cursing helped). This is just life, after all...sometimes it's plain easier to navigate than at other times...but navigate this latest twist we will, and turn a corner once again we shall.

And, in the meantime, as we muddle through this latest 'whaaaat?'...there is a bright sun shining through the windows, a heap of fresh snow to shovel, a kettle to boil and multiple cups of tea to consume...not to mention cookies to bake, cards still to write, and plans to either execute or to refine.

We'll either be here (at *home*) or there (somewhere north of the 49th) for the holidays, but either way, we will be fine. And just like moving day, Christmas day will come (ready or not), and we will be together (one way or another), and it will all be wonder-full. Wherever (and with whomever), you may find yourself, I wish you the same...xo.

...that thing they say about there still being light where there is darkness?

...that thing they say about there still being light where there is darkness?

...there were 3 more walking down the path to join them...chortling, and chuckling, and ho ho ho'ing...and all of a sudden all was quite merry and bright.

...there were 3 more walking down the path to join them...chortling, and chuckling, and ho ho ho'ing...and all of a sudden all was quite merry and bright.

...and then the snow came.

...and then the snow came.

...love.

...love.

...meeting the neighbours, who are none too shy.

...meeting the neighbours, who are none too shy.

...because, record-breaking snowy days, eggnog spiked lattes and rum balls...a winter Rx if ever there was one.

...because, record-breaking snowy days, eggnog spiked lattes and rum balls...a winter Rx if ever there was one.

...'tis the season.

...'tis the season.

...zzzzzz.

...zzzzzz.

...tell me about your despair, yours, and i will tell you mine...| meanwhile, the wild geese | high in the clean blue air | are heading home again. (mary oliver)

...tell me about your despair, yours, and i will tell you mine...| meanwhile, the wild geese | high in the clean blue air | are heading home again. (mary oliver)

to the shore

It's official. The Jacksons, or at least two fifths of us, are on the move...again. This time, work is taking Mr. J and I to Bend, Oregon. It will be the first time in 25+ years that we move as a couple without and away from our kiddos, clearly marking our next chapter as empty nesters. (That just sounds and feels plain weird to me, but there you...or rather I...have it.)

I recently visited Howe in our soon to be new hometown, where he is already working. For the weekend portion, we headed to the central Oregon coast. It was a wonderful appetizer for all the exploring we plan to do...the thought of which will help keep me sane through the coming weeks of sorting, packing, cleaning, saying goodbyes, and then finally making my way to Bend.

I go down to the shore in the morning | and depending on the hour the waves | are rolling in or moving out, | and I say, oh, I am miserable, | what shall- | what should I do? And the sea says | in its lovely voice: | Excuse me, I have work to do. (Mary Oliver)

(i think he was smiling pretty much the entire weekend)

(i think he was smiling pretty much the entire weekend)

keep it loose, keep it tight

This past weekend family and friends gathered to watch two sincerely special people join their lives in wedded matrimony. Since we were all together and all prettied up, well, you already know the story...a {rather lengthy} family photo session ensued, and then there was a beautiful ceremony, followed by some impressive leg shaking and rug cutting.

sometimes we forget who we got | who they are | oh, who they are not | there is so much more in love | than black and white | keep it loose child | gotta keep it tight | keep it loose child | keep it tight. (amos lee)

for the record...

for the record...

a certain someone caught the bride's bouquet and gave it to another certain someone, and then that someone had to get on a plane, so they gave it to me...and now it sits in a vase in my living room, reminding me of an exquisite weekend of love and loving.

a certain someone caught the bride's bouquet and gave it to another certain someone, and then that someone had to get on a plane, so they gave it to me...and now it sits in a vase in my living room, reminding me of an exquisite weekend of love and loving.

how i spent my summer holidays

...or at least, how i spent my early summer holidays.

june, she'll change her tune | in restless walks she'll prowl the night | july, she will fly | and give no warning to her flight. (simon & garfunkel)

the graduate

This girl is one of those lucky few who has known what she's wanted to be and do when all grown up, long before being all grown up. Her path has been steady but arduous, requiring of her much effort, risk taking, and tenacity. Even though her work and schooling have taken her to another province, we've had the honour of witnessing in person several major milestones along the way. It's an extraordinary thing, to watch your children find and take their place in the big wide world...I have yet to find the words to properly describe it.

(you might say that at this particular point she's having her cake and eating it too.)

(you might say that at this particular point she's having her cake and eating it too.)

turn a lifestyle into a paradise

From a recent (as in May) wander up the west west coast.

hey my baby, well ain't that nice | turn a lifestyle into a paradise | living on the beach and eating fish everyday... (Current Swell)

(can you see him?)

(can you see him?)

the Innchanter, our lodging for the weekend.

the Innchanter, our lodging for the weekend.

biggest frying pan ever.

biggest frying pan ever.

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mode of transport during our stay.

mode of transport during our stay.

Mac (rescuer extraordinaire).

Mac (rescuer extraordinaire).

boardwalk to the hot springs. 4km round trip, a ridiculous number of stairs. individually carved boards to commemorate everything from vessel names, special events to a marriage proposal. (she said yes.)

boardwalk to the hot springs. 4km round trip, a ridiculous number of stairs. individually carved boards to commemorate everything from vessel names, special events to a marriage proposal. (she said yes.)

scouting for whales. seriously.

scouting for whales. seriously.

riding shotgun.

riding shotgun.

as seen from the air, all 40-50 feet of him.

as seen from the air, all 40-50 feet of him.

on approach to Tofino.

on approach to Tofino.

obligatory pose by the prop shot..

obligatory pose by the prop shot..

wood, water, boats, blur.

wood, water, boats, blur.

mandatory stop at The Common Loaf for some road trip home sustenance.

mandatory stop at The Common Loaf for some road trip home sustenance.

the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs

Well, all of a sudden it's May, and it's spring becoming summer, and we (as in my camera and I), are finally coming out of hibernation. I think. Maybe.

A trip to the lake a few weeks back with our kiddos, plus one who feels like a brother from another mother, helped to clear the cobwebs. Add in some strumming and singing on the porch and already high spirits were lifted even higher...

 

well, i love you so dearly, i love you so clearly | i wake you up in the mornin' so early | just to tell you i got the wanderin' blues | i got the wanderin' blues | and i'm gonna quit these ramblin' ways | one of these days soon and i'll, and i'll sing | the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs | the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs | the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs | the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs. (be good tanyas)

i can't trace time

(The usual 'while I have you all here at once, can I please take a photo?' session...and as usual, it's the outtakes baby. It's almost always about the outtakes.)

 

I watch the ripples change their size | But never leave the stream of warm impermanence and so the days float through my eyes | But still the days seem the same | And these children that you spit on | As they try to change their worlds | Are immune to your consultations | They're quite aware of what they're going through...

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes | (Turn and face the strange) | Ch-ch-changes | Oh look out you rock 'n rollers | Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes | (Turn and face the strange) | Ch-ch-changes | Pretty soon now you're gonna get older | Time may change me | But I can't trace time | I said that time may change me | But I can't trace time.

~David Bowie.

same time next year

We have a polar bear swim tradition every January 1. For the past 15 years, whenever humanly and geographically possible, every man, woman and child in our group of family and friends who has gathered to see in the new year, goes into the water. However frigid it, or the air above it, may be.

There have been a few dissenters over the years; besides pregnant women who are always and unquestionably exempt, one family member steadfastly abstains, and a couple of friends have refused to ever try. They think the rest of us are insane. And in all fairness, we are a bit. I'll even admit we are somewhat zealous about the ritual, and not so easy going on those who choose not to partake. We revel in our self-righteousness I suppose.

But here's the thing, there is a certain magic in this ritual I will never want to say no to. For me, the swim (and yes, I use the term loosely), is about the shared experience, about a family tradition and what we do together, every year, at the same time on the same day. Sane or not, we do it. It's also about a moment of intense pain and discomfort...I won't even pretend it to be otherwise...and most importantly, the absolute fact that that moment passes. It's more than survivable. It's completely doable. Hell, we even laugh as we scream and sometimes cry. This year, I was unable to participate except from behind the lens because I was feeling too unwell, and no, it wasn't the champagne from the night before. (Though that's a fair question on January 1.) While some might think this excuse would come as a relief, in fact I felt terribly sad about it. I love that we do this crazy thing. I missed the camaraderie of the swim. I missed the head to toe body tingle that comes after one is back in dry woolens, by the fire, warm drink in hand. I missed the exuberant, slightly smug moment of being able to say 'I did that'.

Personally speaking, and I am speaking in first world terms here, 2015 was a year of the good, the bad and the ugly. I'm not complaining and I wasn't wishing it all away, but I also wasn't all that sad to see it go. Indeed, I relished its departure for the very fact that it landed us in a contented place, feeling a sense of resilience and gratitude. Our polar bear swim is most certainly about tradition, as well as about washing away the old, purifying for the new. But for me it's much more about being able to do that really hard thing and find out that I am up to the task, and about how grateful I am for the people who stand along side me as I do so.

(...cheers to the really brave ones who go in a second time. i know not how they do it, but they tell me it's easier the second time around.)

So, same time next year...you with me?

just as long as we have we

Locations change, children grow, family numbers wax and wane...but there are traditions that remain just the same. One of ours includes getting a good dose of fresh air after a morning of opening gifts and eating treats. Add in a fresh snow fall and happy shenanigans are sure to follow.

Christmas day will always be, just as long as we have we...

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a lot like home

Well, hello. I've been quiet here these last few months, in this on-line space, I know. But life in my off-line space, or spaces, has been far from quiet. Here's the short version...

In August we made the decision to sell our sweet island home.

In September we listed, and sold, and found an equally sweet landing spot in the city.

In October we packed up, pared down, and moved.

In November we unpacked and sorted and further pared down (again and again and again), and began to settle in, to shape a life in this new place, this next stage.

And now, well, now here we be. Life is pretty well sorted, or as sorted as it might ever be. Sure there are a few more boxes to tend to, a few more pictures to be hung, and a rather large stack of papers and mail screaming to be filed, or tossed. But, we are reaching the proverbial end of the tunnel, and yes, there is light. Lots of lovely light. And given the shortness of these December days, it resonates all the more. We are resuming regular daily routines and rhythms, as well as eagerly embracing the spirit and traditions of the season. In fact, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here, and it's beginning to feel a lot like home too.

home farm gardens

This summer I've had the very good fortune to hang out with the flora, fauna and fine folks of Home Farm Gardens. These people are as hard working, kind and gracious a lot as you'll ever meet; the animals are completely charming characters in their own right; and the farm itself teems with both a vibrancy of life and a soul-filling peace...in short, it's magic. Here follows some postcards from Home...it's one of my favourite places to be.

ice cream castles

Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air, and feathered canyons everywhere...

full hearts

Last month I had occasion to spend some time with my middle kiddo who is living, working and studying in Alberta. This one has always moved full steam ahead, damn the torpedoes, and break down {or bounce off} the walls {literally} if need be to get where she's headed. I have always known she is meant for the big ol' world. But, she has some pretty strong home-body tendencies too...so to be a guest in her home and treated to her hospitality while witnessing her adeptly manage a myriad of challenges and responsibilities was quite a thrill. We squeezed in the perfect amount of girl time...chatting, dining, shopping...and on our final morning together while we shared a cup of tea I seized the opportunity to capture a few shots of this whirling dervish. Her days and life are incredibly full, but her heart is even more so...and that about makes my heart burst. #5minuteproject

true places

"It is not down in any map; true places never are." (Herman Melville)

While you will find Tofino on a map of any variety, you will not find the place this place touches deep inside of me...but the one always takes me to the other.

when spring came

Truth be told, while I love all the seasons and can't imagine myself living where there are not distinctly four of them, no matter where I live I have always found spring's arrival somewhat tricky to embrace. (I know, I know, I'm odd like that.) This year, she announced herself several weeks ahead of schedule and seems well and truly here to stay. I find the unsettling weather systems she brings, well, unsettling. I dislike leaving the house for a day in town with multiple layers of sweaters, coats and rain gear, boots as well as shoes...all just in case. I'm not a huge fan of the map created on wooden floors by our old lab's and tabby's muddy wanderings. I cringe when 'winter interest' in the garden becomes nothing more than a patently clear sign of my fall sloth. And finally, I am a creature of cold weather comforts and simply not yet ready to let go of my cozy hibernation. But then, at last, all my whingeing comes to a full stop, because where I live now there are these...and I am well and truly, happily here.

'When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest.' Ernest Hemingway

 

this little bird

This past week our wee blond bird left the nest. She's gone before (for university, work and travel), but no previous move included the emptying of her room entirely. Our not-so-empty nest is now considerably emptier. She's more than ready though, and we're more than pleased to see her transition into this next stage of her life. It is, after all, an inevitable, right and necessary step, and what we as parents are raising our children to do...

Oh, and she got a haircut. #5minuteproject

about a boy

Our third born came home from uni for reading break last week. Over the course of the week we had more than a few occasions to hang out, one on one, he and I. Not the norm when he's home for a visit at this time of year and the local ski slopes and friends beckon. But conditions and circumstances were different this year, and in my opinion thankfully so.

We used to frequently refer to him as 'the boy', given he followed two girls. But, truth be told, he is hardly a boy anymore. At 6'2", 215 lbs, and now 20 years old (all of which completely confounds me I'll be honest), we now refer to him as 'the man-child'.

This one is my most reluctant subject when the camera comes out and so I opted to honour that by keeping my camera proper, for the most part, tucked away. I've become all too familiar with how few and fleeting these one-on-one times are, and I know they're well worth being totally present for, and that sometimes, for me, means not recording them. (Key words here are 'for the most part' and 'sometimes'...as you'll see.)

One particular day after a slew of appointments in the city and before catching our ferry home, we found ourselves with some unanticipated spare time. We opted to find a beach on which we could let the dog run free. Turns out it wasn't just the dog who had a need to frolic and play. The man-child is still very much a boy at heart who loves to throw sticks for our old pup, scramble up boulders, and swing his legs out over the water. Together we watched kayaks paddle by, listened to the waves roll in, and wondered aloud about whether, should he ever have to choose between the two, he would choose a life in the mountains or a life on the water. All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon's interlude.  And, clearly I found it irresistible to not play around some myself. I had my mobile phone after all, and it has a camera...and you get where this is going. With an explanation of my #5minuteproject given and his permission granted, I was off to the {5 minute} races.

Otherwise, well, it was about a boy.



petals

'Got no deeds to do, no promises to keep. I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep. Let the morning time drop all its petals on me. Life I love you, all is groovy...'

(#5minuteproject, feature #2.)