The Art of Staycationing

stay·ca·tion
ˌstāˈkāSHn/
noun; informal
noun: staycation; plural noun: staycations; noun: stay-cation; plural noun: stay-cations
  1. a vacation spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

We had gone over and over again how we wanted to spend our family week off during Chaeli’s March Break. Ideas included a Mexican cruise, Disneyland, Portugal, renting a cottage and of course, what we’ve been doing these past two years – skiing in Quebec.

Turned out, what we really need was a staycation. We needed to have no plans. We needed to chill out and have a loose schedule. We needed, also, to do some sorting and chucking. But mainly, we just needed to do a lot of nothing.

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I could start everyday with this avocado toast and scrambled eggs!

Of course, doing a lot of nothing usually amounts to doing something. But without the pressure of ‘having to see this’ and ‘having to do that.’

This past weekend was a bit more work – I spent a lot of my time sorting and chucking a very neglected walk-in closet. It’s nearly done – and I can’t wait. The last time my walk-in closet was this clean and organized, I would find myself sitting on the floor in the middle of it with a glass of wine, marveling at my results.

And you bet I’m going to do it again! Only this time it might be with a cold flute of Prosecco or Sparking Cava. My level of sophistication has elevated throughout the years after all.

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The final beautiful view of a frozen pond mid-point of our hike before we made our way back.

The real staycation day started today. My day played out wonderfully, starting with a 1 hour cardio at the gym while the lazier family members (i.e. everyone but me) slept in. When I came home mid-morning, I made a healthy breakfast for all then we went for an hour winter hike.

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Our reluctant teen who rather have stayed home to spend all day on the PS3

Whenever people hear how often we like to go adventuring outdoors – whether it be hiking, snowshoeing or camping – they share the same sentiment with one another, You guys are setting such an example for your daughter! She is so lucky to live such a rich life!

Not so sure she would agree. I remember in St. Maarten, one of the cruise ports, we explored by feet, sometimes going off the beaten path. She watched in horror as we went further and further away from the port until the vision of the ship became a disappearing small dot in the horizon. The thing is, she is young. But it’s evident Doug and I are more athletic and have more stamina.

I’m sure one day she will look back and really be thankful of what we ‘make’ her do. And even though she’s not as enthusiastic when we’re getting ready for our hike, once she gets going, she does get into her own meditative state. And I can see it relaxing her. Of course, that state seems to disappear as she runs into the door when we arrive back home and before I know it, she’s jibber-jabbing away with one of her friends on Facetime.

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At least our other ‘kid’ is crazy about outdoor adventuring – plus his fur matches the backdrop of the woods

I’m pooped now. The hike took over an hour and after a rest upon returning home (and a nap on the coach), I did some strength training, P90X3 style. My body is feeling it which is why I’m indeed having some Sparking Cave, listening to Sarah McLachlan and was just reading A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding. I’m halfway through and enjoying it very much.

This. This is my ideal way of enjoying a staycation. To work on my body, mind and spirit.

Plus – it will prove for a restful sleep tonight!

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Hobbes the dog will be one pooped dog for sure!

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A story behind each banner image

I’ve added more images to my rotating header (what I especially like about this WordPress theme – aside from just a clean look). I have now 16 images that randomly rotate and appear at the top of my blog each time the page is refreshed.

Each of them have a story of their own:

Regal Princess at Antigua port

Antigua sunset

Antigua and Barbuda – Our last port during our 2016 Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Regal Princess. This was a new port for us. We took the excursion to Sting Ray City and snorkeled over the coral reef and with the giant rays. We were fortunate to catch the sunset from our balcony. We watched the sun disappear behind a mountain peak.

Old Montreal

Old Montreal – During March Break 2016, we stopped in Old Montreal for one night on our way back from skiing/boarding in Mont Sutton. I hadn’t been back in over a decade and it’s just as beautiful as I remembered it to be.

mason jar chandelier

Magog, Quebec – These mason jar ceiling lights caught my fancy as we left the Microbrasserie la Memphré for the first night’s dining choice during our Quebec ski/board trip in March, 2015)

Third Street Promenade - Santa Monica

Third Street Promenade – Ah Santa Monica. My third of four visits – and hopefully I will return again and again. This was taken December 2014 during my first business trip to the head office. Each night, after dinner, I would walk the pier and Third Street Promenade. There was always live music which fit the mood of the beautiful Christmas lights.

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Santa Monica Pier – I always stop and watch the indoor carousel every first visit to the pier. I have bad timing though – seems that whenever I go, the carousel is closed for the day or has been rented out for a private event. I simply just love old-style carousels.

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Frozen – I took it the morning of December 22nd, 2013 after a freezing rain storm which had swept across our city for the past couple of days. It finally did end sometime later that day but the ice stayed for several days after, causing major blackouts throughout the province. Some people were left without power for 2 weeks. Red Cross set up camp at local community centers where we went to donate water and food for those who could not stay home (no heat – they would have froze to death). The branches were so heavy from the ice, one of our trees in the backyard split in half and our patio is had been  completely blocked off from part of that tree.

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Rue D’ Baga – Snapped from our Port Orleans resort streets while we stayed in Disney World earlier this year. The street name was called, “Rue D’Baga” which was where our room was located during our February 2013 vacation.

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Sea shells – This was from our last full day while visiting Ada and Hoa in Vancouver (while they were still living there) in the summer of 2012. The sea shells were dangling from the deck just outside this little place called Go Fish. best fish taco’s ever!

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The Roundhouse – Another photo from our Vancouver 2012 trip. We snapped this photo while just Doug, Chaeli and I were exploring randomly on our own through areas of downtown Vancouver – Gastown, water front and where this photo was taken, Yaletown.

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Neys Park – Our first time using our little old trailer! We took a road trip to Thunder Bay in 2011, tugging Doug’s late grandfather’s trailer back, while stopping at Neys Provincial Park to camp out for one night. It was a beautiful park but way too cold to enjoy once the sun set. I was glad it was only just for a night before we drove to a nice, warm motel in the Souix.

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Rain on windshield – Taken during our little day trip to Niagara Falls on our 8th wedding anniversary. Yes, it was a rainy day but actually, it made for a nice, quiet day since not many people were traveling through the Niagara wine route.

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Killbear Park – The next two photos were taken during our summer camping trip of 2010 in Killbear Provincial Park. Hobbes was only 3 1/2 months old and had only been with us for three weeks. And what happens? He encounters a black bear!

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Peacocks – This particular image of three proud, male peacocks, was taken when we went to the zoo with Tai, B and their kids, M & E. It was their first trip to the zoo as a family. All the kids look so different now. I am favouring this one at the moment because of the beautiful, intense blue.

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Northern California – These next two goes back to 2007 where Doug and I did an anniversary trip to San Francisco, Monterey Bay and Carmel. The trip also doubled as an excuse to visit friends who just had a baby girl. The above photo is part of the 17 Mile Drive, followed by another taken along Highway 1’s coast.

treating myself

mid-winter indulgence shopping

i admit it, i’ve been giving into small indulgences. some of the mid-winter sales are a bit hard to resist. above are my recent purchases. aside  from the travel mug, everything else was pretty much a steal.

note – i tend to go on for a very long time between shopping for myself unless they are truly things that i need. for example, last weekend, i finally went shopping for underwear at costco. 6 cotton, undies – $2 each! comfortable but no granny-panties. all pastel colours of pink, peach, yellow, baby blue, etc. why pastel? i am a woman that tends to wear a lot of black, grey and other neutral/earthy colours. i try to add splashes of colours into my wardrobe and while i’m succeeding at it, some colours i can only wear unseen underneath my clothes.

i’m sure you wanted to know that.

as i was saying about my underwear purchase, i had to. i really had to buckle down and get some underwear. i had a bunch from my drawer that i try to wear on weekends as they are too big, but it was getting ridiculous. when one walks, they should not feel their underwear moving in all sorts of directions. when one stands up from bending over or sitting, one should not need to always hitch their underwear back up. when one changes out of pants, the underwear should not come off with the said pair of pants. underwear needs to be comfortable, yes, but it also needs to be functional. and my old pairs of underwear, perhaps 2 sizes too large, were not functional anymore.

that was definitely a tangent to what i meant to post, but there you have it. that is my underwear story.

anyway, the above purchases were:

  1. Aqua Finley Leather Journal
    • my therapist agreed that i should keep a journal. my friend, ada, gave me the idea about making sure i purchase a journal that feels right to me. not only did i love the colour, which reminds me of some of the aqua-blue colours of the ocean during our cruise, but the texture feels good in my hands.
  2. Starbucks Double Wall Faceted Mug
    • go team canada! i couldn’t resist the red and white colours – totally fitting to the olympic spirit during the sochi winter games. i have a larger, more durable travel mug with a handle. but sometimes, if i’m going to the library or needing a cup of hot beverage to take in the car with me, i just want a simple, small tumbler. and the weight of the ceramic feels good to hold.
  3. Women’s Old Navy Active 1/4-Zip Jackets
    • once in awhile, it is a bit cold in the basement or fitness studio during one of my yoga practices. i had talked about getting an active, long sleeve layer with holes in the sleeve for my thumbs. that way, i can wear it as an outer layer to shed once my body warms up. it would also be great as an inner layer for snowboarding. the thing is that even a cheaper brand costs $30. old navy had a sale plus an additional 30% off so in the end, i bought this for $12! TWELVE DOLLARS! i should have bought one in every colour at that price.
  4. Women’s Heart-Icon Hoodies
    • perhaps to continue with the team canada’s olympic spirit but more because i wanted a white hoodie and i wanted something with a heart on it. i don’t tend to have things that are ‘girly’ like that so this is reaching out a bit from my comfort zone. the price made it easier to go ahead with the purchase.
  5. Blue Marble Leather Journal
    • another leather journal ready and in place once the aqua-blue one is filled. same reason as to why i bought the other journal – i loved the look and feel to this one as well. i couldn’t decide between the two but as they were both on the clearance rack, i decided to get both.

finding joy, not order

i simply love this post from dooce:

I was recently having a conversation with a friend about the things in my life that make me joyous in an effort to experience more of that emotion in my life. She was very specific to point out that my anxiety likes to confuse feelings of joy with feelings of safety, and for me to really dig deep and make the distinction. That’s the really shitty thing about anxiety, it can take the kid inside you who used to marvel at rainbows and dance around in public and tell her that there is way too much to worry about to ever feel like that again. continue reading…

she goes on about how she finds joy in daily things such as exercising, diet, organizing… but in the end, all those things she listed were really just relief from the order it gave her life.

i am, as i am discovering, the exact same way. i suppose on some level, i really do enjoy some aspects of my workout… such as yoga. it gives me joy simply because when i am doing yoga, my body feels so alive and, well, loved. i’m giving many moments during my yoga practice to be kind to my body. and therefore, show myself how much i do love the inner me.

and while i think a lot of other things i do in my fitness regime is fun, the bottom line is that i like the order it creates in my daily grind. it’s a way to control something… in this case, it’s having some control over my body.

she also goes on to explain how one true joy is the laughter of her children – and i couldn’t agree more. and so, one way she finds joy in her everyday life is to add some level of silliness with her children.

this brought me back to our last trip to disney world.

to be honest, the exact moment and location escapes me. but basically, doug, chaeli and i were sitting at some restaurant within one of the theme parks, talking about what we planned to do that day. i believe we had plans to head into epcot and how we would make sure to drop by and see crush the talking turtle. (and yes, he talks to the kids in the audience, this animated turtle on a screen that looks like you’re looking into an aquarium, in real time – apparently, it uses digital-puppetry.)

doug and i both started to talk like crush the turtle and this set chaeli into fits of giggles. sure, people were probably walking by, thinking we were nuts. then again, this was disney. people who go to disney and love disney and want to wrap themselves in all-things-disney GET it. no need to explain. “see those people? they get being here. they’re happy. why wouldn’t they be talking like crush the turtle?”

i look back in my ten years and honestly, it’s like i’ve forgotten how to just be in that moment where i find joy. and it’s always over the small stuff. it’s not like a big production is needed. at all.

dooce is right. anxiety really does take the kid out of a person.

and it’s times like these that i realize that the best teacher to teach me about how to have that type of fun again… is my own kid.

dreaming of someplace else

st kitts beach vancouver

st. kitts beach, vancouver

i had my 3rd blood test today within the four months of learning i have diabetes type 2. as usual, i got there around 7:30am – half an hour before the lab opens for business. i learned long ago not to be even five minutes past this time. it’s the only way to ensure that i’m one of the first 3 people, and therefore, the only way to ensure little waiting time. by quarter-to, the line-up was standing people were already down the hall and arround the corner where the elevators were located.

i had folded up my old, long black coat into a cushion to sit on. i had my book, friendship, hateship, courtship, loveship, marriage by alice munro with me to help pass time.

being first in line, i was received into the room almost right away. the tiny room that seemed more like stalls as each person was instructed to go in and wait. with no food in our stomachs and worse, no coffee, most of the patients there were weary-eyed and tired. maybe a little weak, too.

i felt fine, though. fasting for 12 hours is nothing to me. in fact, i was only starting to feel a little hungry before entering the waiting area.

and so the process begins. an elastic band is tied tightly around my lower bicep area. i make a fist as the technician taps around for my vein. you have small veins, is the usual comment. yes, i know. it’s one of the things i worry about as i get older and maybe one day, will require an IV for a lengthy period of time. and the nurses will comment again about how my veins are too small and that there might be a problem.

but she finally finds one to tap into. after a slight prick, i watch as my blood flows down a tube into the three separate vials. my blood is flowing slower today. much slower and i’m not sure what to make of it. a mental note, perhaps, to ask my doctor when i visit him about my results.

afterwards, i find a tim hortons close by. believe me, i would have rather have found a starbucks. but it wasn’t so much as filling my empty stomach as it was to find a place for me to have my breakfast so i can also take my meds. meds must be accompanied by food.

as usual, it’s not always easy for me to order at a fast food place while being mindful of my diabetic lifestyle. thankfully, they have egg white and turkey sausage now. only, i asked the tim hortons’ employee, would it be possible to get the egg white and turkey sausage on the multi-grain flat bread they use for the panini breakfast sandwich.

i have not yet mastered how to ask for this specific order without causing confusion. it’s not confusing, really, but for whatever reason, anytime i go to tim hortons to make a request regarding the bread type for my breakfast sandwich, i end up having to wait for the employee to go to their supervisor/manager. as they are not sure if this request is allowed. or how to enter it on the cash register.

but it’s always allowed.

one time, i had such great difficulties asking for this request that i waited a very long time as the supervisor was busy. the cashier next to me, while i was waiting, put in the exact order for the gentleman beside me.

*sigh* it should be easier than this.

alas, i found myself a stool by the window where i could look out at the cold, winter scenery. the sandwich, even with all the trouble it took to receive it, was good. and while the coffee tasted like the usual water-down coffee tim hortons is famous for, the warmth served its purpose.

as i looked out onto the snow, i was suddenly reminded of our time spent in vancouver a couple of summers ago. i remember how being there for only several days, i felt completely like it was home to me. in an instant i felt a strong nostalgic pull towards all the wonderful memories made on that trip.

i miss the food, the people, the sights and sound. i miss the culture and the lifestyle. i miss being just a walk away from the beach one direction, granville island another direction, and just steps away from the city bus which took us downtown (a mere 10-15 minutes ride compared the 45-60min commute i would need to head to the heart of the city here in toronto).

perhaps i also miss how simple life was just two years ago. i didn’t know it at the time, but compared to so much that’s going on now, those were definitely simpler times.