Still here

After a 6 week blogging hiatus, I wanted to check back in and share some of our adventures.

In the past 6 weeks we have:

driven down the Florida Keys

trekked through the the Everglades

enjoyed a relaxing boat ride

explored the Eastern Caribbean

and seen some of the best sunsets we have ever seen. After returning home from vacation, we ushered in spring,

and celebrated Easter with several egg hunts- including this one that left Jeff searching for a Lindt chocolate bunny in the living room for several hours (look up at the ceiling fan!)

We puttered away at our bathroom renovation (photos coming soon) and tried maintain some of the relaxed pace of vacation as we returned to the rhythm of school, work, business trips and…. life.
I am now back at Royal Roads University in Victoria for 3 weeks, completing the second residency term of my master’s degree. It has been another very busy (and tiring and brain-overloaded!) stint on campus but the weather has been glorious and I have made it a priority to make it outside more than last year.

Italian Gardens beside Hatley Castle

Garden angel

Giant poppies beside Hatley Castle

Italian Gardens

Some of the wildlife
Japanese Garden
Japanese garden

All of these adventures probably require more words and images to do them justice… and I’ll do my best when I get back home. Once I get my thesis proposal submitted at the end of June, I’ll be back here on a more regular basis.


Boeing suprise

An old friend of mine posted a favourable review of the Everett, WA Boeing tour and Future of Flight museum on his Facebook page back in October, thus planting an idea in my head. Jeff and I capped our great weekend in Warm Beach with some shopping- necessary (in my opinion!) but certainly not on Jeff’s top 10 list of favourite things to do. In thanks for appeasing his bargain-hunting wife, I surprised Jeff with a Boeing visit. He somehow thought we were going to a performance of “Messiah” with the Seattle symphony and as we approached the HUGE Boeing factory, he laughed and said “I don’t think there will be an orchestra or choir in here!”. It was so much fun to surprise him.

Jeff and I both really enjoyed the Future of Flight museum, albeit for different reasons. The historian in our partnership was fascinated by the rapidly developing history of commercial aircraft over the past 60 years while the mechanical engineer was all about the engines, construction and design.

Our work has given both Jeff and I an understanding of manufacturing process but both of us were amazed by the size and scale of Boeing. These photos are from the Boeing website but give an idea of how huge this operation really is. After seeing the 747 assembly line, I could almost understand why the price tag on each of these plans (without engines, seats or lavatories) is $395 million. To help with scale- each of those blue doors on the main factory is the size of a football field.

I fell for the new 787 Dreamliner. We saw numbers 27, 28 and 29 in production (#29 for Air Canada!) and sat in a model of the new cabin design. It is spacious, bright and comfortable with large tinted windows, skylights, double sized lavatories (complete with sanitized floors for each use) and at $150 million (including engines), a great bargain. Its lighter composite material fusilage is manufactured in Italy and transported, in three sections, inside a modified 747 “Dreamlifter” (pictured below) to Everett. Jeff was quite taken with the new design and building materials (that offer a 20% fuel reduction) while I just thought it was really pretty.

Can you tell- I also really enjoyed the tour?! While most of the technical stuff went way over my head, I was really intrigued by aviation’s history and influence on modern society. Flying has become commonplace during my generation and has changed not only the way we live and do business, but the way we view ourselves and the world around us. I think that much of our world is defined by an awareness of and connection to people and places different from our own- and can only imagine that this has happened, in part, thanks to the airline industry.

When we left the museum, a 747 cargo plane was about to take off on a test flight. Payne Field air traffic control was broadcast over loudspeakers in the museum parking lot and it was pretty funny to hear the 747 pilots have to wait for takeoff clearance until a little Cesna landed!

Lights of Christmas

For a number of years, Jeff’s parents have gone to Warm Beach Camp (close to Mount Vernon, WA) to help set up the amazing Lights of Christmas. We tagged along for the weekend, undeterred by the snowstorm that hit Vancouver Island.

It was a busy weekend of decorating- I was tasked with putting up a Scandinavian display of Christmas trees and Jeff fluffed miles of garland and put up lights. Walking around the final evening, we couldn’t help but marvel at the lights.

Past Home for the weekend

Ontario is my “past home” and it was wonderful to spend part of Thanksgiving weekend there for my dear friend Pam’s wedding. Jeff and I had such a great time and while the weekend was short, we were able to fit in a few visits with friends and go to my church on Sunday morning. And- kick up our heels at Pam’s wedding. It was a great time and Jeff’s practice whirling me around the kitchen paid off, with our first ever dance to a whole song. Pam should be proud- Jeff doesn’t dance for just anybody.

Pam’s family adopted me during my decade in Ontario, and it was so wonderful to see and spend time with them over the weekend. Our time was so short that I was focused on spending time with people rather than capturing the beauty of an Ontario autumn. I think in the end, that’s what counts.

Summer Vacation Part 2

After 4 days in Saskatchewan, Jeff and I set off for home, on the second major roadtrip of our marriage (actually, the first that I was awake for). We crossed the great plains,

the Alberta Badlands,

the Rockies (around Mount Norquay

to Glacier National Park

and through Rogers Pass)

before we finally arrived at the Pacific. This was taken on the front of the ferry, leaving Horshoe Bay to sail home.

It was a great trip and reminded me that my country is nothing short of spectacular.

Summer Vacation

Summer vacation arrived not a day too soon! After 6 very busy months at work, Jeff and I were both long overdue for a change of scenery and energy. We started off in separate directions (not recommended but unavoidable this year) with Jeff on a road trip with his sister to Alberta, and me across the country for a quick weekend with my women’s group and my dear friend Louise’s wedding.

I spent 45 hours in Ottawa with Jeff’s other sister and family, enjoying a picnic at the Ottawa River (and supervising sand creature construction), Canada Day fireworks and the first half of my birthday. I had completely dreaded turning 35, but celebrating with cupcakes baked by my nephew and iced by my niece (with help from their fantastic mom) made it a great day.

The second half of my birthday was spent on a flight to Saskatoon to meet up with Jeff and see my parent’s brand new house. While outside still looked a little like a construction zone, the inside was beautiful. I’m still pretty jealous of their cupboards and closets.

We had followed the past year of construction closely with phone calls and many email photos, but it was no substitute for being there in person. The view down their new street is pretty good, especially at sunset.

Saskatchewan is a second childhood home for me as we spent every summer vacation there. I probably have a much more idyllic view of it than is necessary, but there is no denying the beauty of its massive blue sky and wide open spaces. Jeff had never been to the great plains before and it was so much fun to make the introduction.