28 Years of Marital Bliss

Kristin and I just celebrated our 28th anniversary this past weekend. Kristin camping

How did we celebrate? Well, we went camping. Actually, we went moose hunting and stayed in a tent while we were in the bush. Yes, I am a romantic genius. Actually, it is interesting how this unique anniversary trip happened. (And btw, no moose were harmed in the celebrating of our marriage. Not yet.)

For years I have hunted and Kristin has not. We have always, since our courting days, canoed; more recently we began hiking.

One day this spring we were out hiking along the Peace River and I asked Kristin if she was enjoying herself. She said she certainly was! I pointed out that what we were doing- walking along through the gullies along game trails, looking for signs of animals as well as the animals themselves- was exactly what we would be doing if we were hunting, though in the latter case we would be carrying guns. I said “If you enjoy this you will enjoy hunting.”

Shortly thereafter, of her own volition, Kristin took the CORE course which gave her the right to buy a hunting license. We applied for a shared moose hunt and were drawn; hence the anniversary celebration.

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The Cork Board

Wherever I go I try to have the same basic layout in my home office. Motorized Geek Desk against the longest wall; printer and scanner to one side, file cabinet to the other; bookshelves directly behind; office supplies and active files on the desk in their eternally preordained locations, etc.

The one thing that tends to float around more than anything else from location to location is my cork board. Different rooms just have a different logical location for it. It needs to be both visible and easily accessible, ideally on the same wall the desk butts up against so I can easily glance at it when needed.

office cork boardNow, why do I need to glance at it? Well, a quick review of my newly repopulated board, pictured here, will reveal a mix of wisdom, humour and philosophy, as well as assorted trinkets of questionable value. These provide the following benefits:

  1. Like any wall hanging, this board and its slowly changing inhabitants provides an immediate sense of familiarity in a new office and helps me feel at home. We have noticed in our many moves that one of the things that changes a new house/condo into a home is the presence of OUR pictures on the walls. This board contains several dozen of my personal selections and turns any new office into MY office.
  2. I have often been blessed with very scenic office views. When this is the case, my first choice for thinking, taking a break or regrouping my thoughts in the midst of a project is to look out the window. However the view rarely changes and, as is the case in my current home office, sometimes leaves much to be desired. Enter the cork board, with its variety of stimulating words and objects. It provides both a mini-escape as well as an of-task stimulus that often triggers some relevant and even profound content related to what I am working on at that moment.
  3. Since the board contains many of the most concise summaries of wisdom that have caught my eyes over the year, including several that tap my deepest beliefs and passions, a glance at the board quickly reminds me what is important and ultimately why I am doing what I am doing or, in some cases, how I ought to be doing it. For example “Don’t trade what you want most for what you want today.” This often calls me back from low value, short term tasks to high value actions that may not pay off immediately, but whose payoff is more important to me than any short term reward. Another example: On the lower left area of the board is a postcard with two sketched figures, one holding their arms up and one holding them wide. I think the original intent of it was to address the need to be aware of both our vertical relationship with our Creator, and our horizontal relationships with people. However, due to other content at the conference in Chicago where I received it, it is for me a reminder of “head and heart”, the idea that to communicate effectively we must address both the head- logical issues, information, facts- and the heart- emotions, passions, core beliefs.

In a time when we could probably find all the distractions and stimulation and escape we need on the screen in front of us, I find it very helpful to step away from the desk, stretch my legs if only a little, and look at some non-digital content to renew my heart and mind.

What about you? Do you have a cork board? What do you do to take a mini-break in your office? I’d love to hear from you below.

Biggest News of the Year

IMG_1296It’s been a while- she’s already over 6 months old- but our first grandchild Rhys Anberlin Grace arrived in February. She has reorganized the life of my son and daughter in law, and is starting to affect our plans for the future! And here I naively thought that once our children had moved away we would be totally free an unencumbered. Now we are finding ourselves happily attached to this new family member. IMG_1291

It is hard to explain the differences between being a parent and a grand parent. Yes, there is the much celebrated “you get to spoil them and then give them back to their parents!” but it is much deeper than that. It is somewhat disorienting when your children- who were themselves infants only yesterday- now have their own children. It hasn’t made me feel old, but it sure has emphasized how quickly time passes.

A lot of other things have happened in our lives this year, but this news surpasses everything else.

Summer 2014 Paddles

Revelstoke Lake
Revelstoke Lake

Kristin and I got in a couple canoe trips this summer, in addition to the usual paddling in the local lakes.

The first was an attempt to paddle Goldstream north of Revelstoke. But the access road was washed out a ways from the takeout when we scouted it ahead of time, so we decided to camp on Lake Revelstoke instead, and just do paddles from our campsite. We were surprise by the beauty of this lake, given that it is a reservoir. However we were a fair ways north (roughly 90 km) so it was quite narrow and almost river-like. We agreed that we would go back again.

Lake Revelstoke
Lake Revelstoke

Later that same week we put in at Penticton, paddled to Commando Bay in Okanagan Park where there is one of the many little marine campsites. We camped there two nights, hiking up from the lake into Wildhorse Canyon one day. Then we paddled out to Bertram park where our daughter picked us up. It was quite hot all three days- mid thirties- and the final stretch home was into a very stiff headwind. We noted that it would have made sense to paddle a bit further to Cedar Creek Park where we wouldn’t have to carry our canoe and gear several hundred yards up to the vehicle.

Okanagan Lake
Okanagan Lake
Okanagan Lake
Hiking above Okanagan Lake

Now we are up at Fort St John for a while so we are looking forward to paddling in the area and have already found some people who have paddled most of the rivers in the area. The Peace was looking pretty nice in low fall water when we got up here, so we hope to paddled the stretch from Hudson’s Hope to Taylor, just below FSJ, before the Site C dam is built.

In the meantime, we are getting the know the cross-country ski trails in the area, which are a mere 15 minutes away, making it easy to get out and stay in reasonable shape for paddling season.

Rattlesnake Island
Rattlesnake Island

Cross Country Ski Lessons

I was checking the weather and schedule up at Sovereign Lake last Saturday when I noticed that there were some classic lessons being offered. Since neither Kristin nor I had ever taken formal lessons, I thought it might be a good idea so called up and registered us. The receptionist asked “Are you beginners?” and I said “I don’t know.”

We’ve been back into cross country skiing for three years now, and Saturday was our 21st time out this season. While the skaters tend to fly by us for the most part, very few recreational level classic skiers do, so I felt like we weren’t really beginners, but I have learned from experience that “the basics” in any area are worth learning right. So we showed up as beginners and joined a class with two ladies who had only skied four times total.

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