Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What is 100 years?

Once upon a time, a young lady met a guy at a dance. That one moment started the line that resulted in me.

This is a picture of the Bogaart family at Christmas in 2006. In the middle, there, that's my grandmother. Today, she turns 100 years old.

Today my flowers will be delivered to her and I'll visit her during the Christmas break and it feels woefully inadequate.

A century.  I can't even fathom it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dear Life:

Team Halloween at my new job
Life, sometimes I want things to be different. But you seem to have your own ideas.

There's been a lot of change in the past little while. Some of it has been amazing. Some of it uncomfortable. Sometimes things I thought I wanted aren't exactly as I'd imagined.

I've started imagining new goals. This is life. This is the human condition. Achieve one thing and it's OK... for a while. But what's next? Achieving, achieving, always wanting what's just beyond my grasp.

That's what all this change is teaching me. I don't know what will happen. It will just happen and I can't control it. When I get there, I'll have something to learn. I might love it, I might learn to love it, or I might just understand myself and the world around me better.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

LandsCrapping: Backyard update

The backyard: The "before" photo
It started out with great intentions and modest idea.

A little snip here; a small tuck there and the backyard, we thought, could be "fine."

Perhaps that's the operative word. "Fine" wasn't a word that said "happy" and "awesome" or "forever" to us.

The plans grew: A vegetable garden. Privacy. More useable space. Sun AND shade. Pretty. Low maintenance. A spot for our bikes.

Suddenly, it was a big production. Five designs later, we had something better than "fine."

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Taking the Cape: A couple's travels in New England

The Langham, Boston, and other photos of New England
Our room at the Langham... and a spy camera, of course
We came home to cat pee. Lots of cat pee on every seating surface. Oh, and poo. Don't forget the poo.

And so ended the high of a New England vacation.

It had started out so well: coffee and shortbread cookies in a comfy chair bathed in sunlight with a magazine. Sorry, FREE coffee and shortbread as Porter started out my morning right. We landed in Boston early, picked up our cute little rental car, picked up Gordon's latest spy camera in Cambridge (don't ask - OK, GoPro) and drove to our hotel, the Langham Boston, the cutest five-star hotel in downtown Boston.

Friday, August 09, 2013

My last days in Maui: Day 9 & 10

Waiting out tropical storm Flossie in Kihei, Maui
I did NOT get eaten by tropical storm Flossie.

I have a magic back-pocket solution called "my husband" who is obsessed with extreme weather. He told me it was coming and where I should stay to be most protected and when the worst should hit.

So the first thing I did was look at the sun-shine in the sky and go get a fish taco from Coconut's Fish Cafe in Kihei. Ya, um, totally worth it! $12 for two seriously amazing fish tacos that made a giant mess. What could be better? (Photo here.)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Day 7 & 8, Maui

Saying g'bye to Ka'anapali Beach I had to leave Ka'anapali Beach (I was staying at the Maui Eldorado and only had a week there), sadly. But it meant that there was a "next phase" of the adventure.

I booked a few days in Paia, a surf town on the north shore that's popular for windsurfing, but also serves as a gateway to two popular tourist attractions: the Road to Hana and Haleakalā National Park.

So the morning I had to leave, I -- what else? -- went snorkelling. I walked to Black Rock, which is about a 7-minute walk from the condo. It was around 8am and there were already a bunch of snorkellers out there. Other people reported seeing rays and an eel. I didn't see those things. I did, however, have a moment of panic when I was having trouble swimming back around the point against the current. But aside from some extra/unexpected exercise, I was fine.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Day 6, Maui

Not a picture of me and my lei, but I'm tired and most of the photos I took today were with the REGULAR camera and I forgot to take the cord for it so that I can download my photos. So this was the best I could do: a photo from my bathroom mirror.

I'm showing off my lei from the Old Lahaina Luau. The luaua is supposed to be the best one. I'm sure it is the best one, but luau food is just OK and the dancing I'd seen already at FREE shows at the local shopping centres. So it was nothing new.

It was a beautiful location on the beach and if I hadn't had the free shows and already tried some of the hawaiian food elsewhere, I'm sure I'd have LOVED it.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Day 5, Maui

Today at 6pm Maui-time, I turned 38. At that moment, I was in Lahaina Grill, about to enjoy the birthday dinner that my husband had purchased from across the ocean.

I was sporting the hand-made blown-glass pendant that I'd just bought from an artist collective down the street.

I don't think I've been this happy about getting older in a long time.

It was another fabulous day: I woke up early as usual and made myself a pot of Hawaiian coffee. I was out the door by 7am, driving north along the coast to Honolua Bay.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day 4, Maui

My view of Ka'anapali BeachNothing.
That's what I did today.

 Well, that's not technically true:
  • I made coffee, breakfast AND lunch
  • I booked a snorkelling trip for my birthday
  • I walked down to the cabana on the beach
  • I read my book
  • I faithfully applied (and re-applied!) sunscreen
  • I read about a quarter of my book, "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • I floated in the water when I got hot
  • I watched the sun set
I'm exhausted!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 3, Maui

Photos of Maluaka Beach, Makena
This photo of Maluaka Beach is courtesy of TripAdvisor
I'm sitting on my lanai, which is Hawaiian for verandah.

Although I'm very close to the parking garage and can hear the tires of every car squeaking as they go around the corners, it still feels like something special. The humid air reminds me that I'm on a tropical island. So do the palm trees that surround me. And a few foreign bird or insect sounds.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day 2, Maui

Today I work up early and made myself Hawaiian coffee. As it turns out, overpriced Hawaiian coffee, as Safeway is actually MORE expensive than the tourist shop, Maui General Store. Go figure. Still, it was good. And it meant I could stay in my room while I researched a bunch of things online.

It was cloudy out, so my initial idea to go out snorkelling was overruled by weather and why NOT do research and drink coffee instead? Indeed.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 1, Maui

Sunset at Lahaina
When I took two weeks off inbetween jobs, I decided to go to Maui. I booked everything the day before I left. Flight, condo, car rental.

I arrived at 10:30pm in Maui on Saturday, July 20. I walked off the plane with my carry-on luggage and out to the Enterprise shuttle, which took off immediately. There, I got a car and directions and was on my way to the Maui Eldorado condo that I'd rented for the week. $2000-ish poorer (flight, car, condo), but on my way.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Landscaping: Decisions, decisions

Our "landscaping" last spring
We finally got our landscape plan (see my last post on landscaping).

Features in the plan:

  • No grass to mow! 
  • A place to grow herbs and some basic edibles (hot peppers) 
  • A (stone-look-alike) patio
  • A built-in cedar bench
  • Privacy from my neighbours 

What it doesn't include:
  • A bike shed (although the plan is for us to source one and place it at the back where there is currently an urn and a lilac bush)
  • A spot for a rain barrel 
  • A spot my composter, though he suggested placing it behind the evergreens where cars are parked
  • A spot in the sun to lounge and read my book - although I could buy such a piece of furniture and place it in such a place
  • A complete redo of the deck - only new stairs and railings. And we'd have to paint it all ourselves, refinishing the existing part along with it.

Friday, April 05, 2013

The right thing

I spend a lot of time thinking about what I'm doing, thinking and feeling, lately. I wonder if it's right.

When something happens that I don't like, when I feel crappy or angry, I stop and deliberately think, "Why do I feel this way? Why am I doing this?"

I ask "why" and "why" and "why" of myself multiple times until I get down the real reasons.

Why do I do this?

Because I was unhappy and I didn't want to be. I have a perfectly great life and yet I was unhappy. I decided there was a way to be happy, no matter what my situation was.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Taking stock of the landscape

I've been renovating since I bought this house in 2008. I knew that someday I would do something about the backyard. It ranged from basic to wild.

I had dreams.

But they were on hold until I could live in my house. I mean, really LIVE in it. The time has come.

I'm embarking on a landscaping adventure. I plan spend an idyllic summer outside, enjoying my non-ghetto oasis. Finally.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Youth and being "right sized"

A character who thinks himself more or better -- destined for a higher calling. Who hates himself as he can't consummate this understanding of himself -- thinking himself less than those he imagines living the life he wants. Who thus isolates himself in his self-loathing.

What a joyless character. And yet, I feel that character could be me.

Confined to the house after surgery, I decided to read. I love reading and have often chastised myself for not reading enough. It's a common theme for me: falling short of a perfect vision of myself.

I at once hated and intimately understood the narrator. He frustrates me. But the story has so much to teach me.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Financial life: There's an app for that? (Please God)

What does it take to make a financial plan?

I grew up the daughter of a Dutch farmer. I don't know if you know what that means. I'll say it, I'm not embarrassed: I'm cheap. In fact, I think I'm rather proud of this fact.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2012: Achievements despite myself

There were important things that happened in 2012. And then there was my life in 2012.

It was a year of deciding I'm going to do something and then NOT doing it. Figuring stuff out. I guess sometimes that has to happen. But I'm an achievement-oriented person. I'm working on this failing, but alas, wiping out a lifetime of grading my life based on my productivity is a tough go. Progress, not perfection.

So, while I battle, I bring you my assessment of my 2012 achievements.