We're an adventurous family, taking all opportunities to travel and get out and about as much as possible. From our quick day trippin' to weekenders to week and even month long trips I hope to capture as much as I can in this Blog.

Please enjoy our photos and my words and feel free to leave a comment at the end of the post; I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Californian Dreamin' Part II...slow coming...

Big B and I found out the other day, that an acquaintances wife passed away at the age of 57. She was in good health one moment, and sick the next. A few months later and she's gone. Not to be back. Bye bye. NOT gonna see you later. Don't set a place at the dinner table....GONE.

This is a huge fear of my own. What if I die young, and leave my babies without a mother. Who would they run to when they fell and scraped their knees? Who'd wipe their tears away? Who'd tuck them every night and rub their back until they fell asleep?

This really has nothing to do with Part II of my Californian vacation story other than I truly believe every day should be lived to it's absolute fullest, I guess my paranoia of death may be one of many catalysts that send me on these adventures in the first place.
Live, laugh, love...OFTEN! Cuz you could be dead tomorrow. (this was also my mothers mantra)

On that bright note, let's get back to Governor Schwarzenegger's land o' plenty. After barging through highway blockades and sailing over Sisque Pass, we stayed the night in Redding Ca. While on the road and living as frugally as possible 99% of the time we stay at Motel 6's. I refer to them as
Super 6's. This aggravated Big B to no end, but I can't honestly remember what the frick they're called, and combining Motel 6 and Super 8 just seems logical in my pea brain. Especially after 18 hours of H. E. double L trapped in the truck with 2 lunatic children, a gassy dog, and Mario Andretti.
The Motel 6's ALL look the same once you are nestled inside. Drab white walls, plain furniture, old televisions, NO alarm clocks, beds that sag, pillows that would be fit for a mouse, and comforters with cheery summer scenes.
Bright and early on our 2nd day of travel we hit up I.H.O.P. for some delicious pancakes, eggs sausages and hash browns. I fell in love with their new breakfast special Coffee Cake Pancakes; so much, so we ate at ALOT more I.H.O.P.S before coming home. Brent grabbed a mocha at the drive through coffee hut and we hit the road.
We had planned on getting to Redding the day prior at lunchtime so Big B could indulge in his all time fave California Burger at In n' Out, but snow, ice, shitty drivers, and road blocks got us there well past bed time. I snapped a picture in remembrance and off we went. (pisc to come later)
The next day was a blur as we whipped through Northern and Central California arriving at our destination at about 5pm. Little B was fast asleep and I woke him up as Big B was checking into our hotel to show him we had finally arrived at Pismo Beach.
to be continued..............

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Guest Blog. By Big B.

I hate winter. Period. I try to stay positive and embrace the seasons. I have actually started to enjoy spring and fall, probably because I am slightly overweight and 70 to 80 degrees is more comfortable for me than 90 to 100…but I’ll take 90 to 115 over (switching to Celsius now) 0 degrees or less. Like momma said, I can’t find joy in being uncomfortable in 5 layers of clothing. Have you ever tried to lace up your big frickin winter boots, with your insulated coveralls on and your slightly oversized belly in the way. FU*&!!! Needless to say I LOVE my trips to California, Arizona and Nevada. Luckily for me the desire is actually genetic so I have to go.

My dad’s dad was born in Bermuda, June 1914. Legend has it that he moved to Montreal when he was around 10 years old. (What were they thinking??) As a young adult he and my Nana slowly worked their way across Canada finally settling in Vancouver in the late ‘30s. A very successful shoe salesman he was, and by the early ‘60s my grandparents were going to Palm Springs and Las Vegas in the winter. It started as a couple week jaunt and escalated to the max stay of 6 months less a day. They managed this from the late ‘70s until 2003! YES for nearly 50 years Nana and Grampa would go to California in the winter! After Gramp B’s last trip to Palm Springs, he told me, with a sparkle in his eye, ”One thing you should do in life is make sure you go south every winter…even if you have to go into debt to do it!”

My mom’s dad was born in Vancouver, also in 1914. At the young age of 21 he and his adventurous spirit led him to California as well. Grampa R is still alive and well today at 94 years old! Funny thing is, he’s been alive for soooo long that his perception of what we should remember is much different than his…he asked me if I can remember what the trip was like before the I5. I had to remind him that I am only 33 and that I’m pretty sure the I5 has been around for longer than me! He worked down there for a couple of years, but ended up coming back to Canada to start his “real life”.

Big B and Grampa R, AKA "Pa"

Real life? Real life is what ever is happening in the flesh! My four year boy, Little B, is always referring to situations as “for real life Daddy”. Well this is it!! What ever it is that we are actually doing, is…Real Life. Whether or not it is what society tells us we should be doing. It’s the Real thing baby! So basically I will tell you this. Real life is what ever you limit it to. I think the perfect formula is to do whatever pleases you, so long as it doesn’t take any casualties along the way…The hardest part of the formula (one I have yet, to figure out) is how to balance the chance that I may live into my 90s like every one of my grandparents…or gulp, have this precious life taken from me, like too many of my friends and my mother in law. How do we live it to the fullest, with out going over the top? I think probably by living at the limit! I think that the most successful people around us, are the ones who have the natural ability to maintain a life at the very finite edge of the limit! Where am I going with all this rambling, you ask? HOPEFULLY SOUTH!

Big B.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Radical Stimulus Needed.

Motivation. If I could find just a little, a smidgen, a teensy bit to inject in my veins today.
Motivation. I am utterly without. If motivation came in dirt form, sprinkled on the sidewalk outside my door I’d even be tempted to go as far as to kneel on the cold hard ground and dab it up with my tongue.
Motivation. Maybe I really don’t want it. Maybe it’s society’s mantra ringing in my ears, “Get motivated, get things done, work work work!!” Either society’s or my boss’s!

Earplugs may do the trick and help soften the vibration of the nasty sound waves traveling to wards my ears. Earplugs and my warm soft bed.
I’d love to have one of those days, enveloped in my sheets and comforter, practically sucking on my thumb in jubilation that I could spend a whole day under the covers completely
UNmotivated and loving every second of it. Cats curled up keeping my butt warm. Dog at my feet, Mystery Novel weaving a pictorial in my brain.
When I am 65, retired, kids grown and off to college or the race track, or across the ocean playing vagabond; that’s when I’ll let the sleep bug crawl back up my a#@.
Until then I have to get bloody motivated.
Any ideas?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Denial and the Californian Sun Part I

I can't put it off any longer. The nagging naked-truth wrenching at my soul like my 4 year old tugging on my jacket as we wander past the toy isle in Wal Mart is undeniable and painful to say the least. The betrayal, the misrepresentation...ALL on my part is grossly embarrassing. It's time to fess up, time to lay down my cards and hope you'll all be there tomorrow and the day after as life weaves me out of the horrific tapestry it's entangled me in for 34 years. Can you handle it? I hope so............

It's just that......well........I........HATE..........the......WINTER!!!!!!!!!

Ok, so I was a little dramatic. Maybe even infantile. But seriously folks, I had the greatest fortune of spending 2 1/2 weeks in Southern California U.S.A. with my family (and the dog...don't forget the dog) and as I sit here in -20 degree, snow covered Canada. I can honestly say "I HATE THE DAMN WINTER!"

I don't understand it, don't get a charge out of it, can't possible begin to see myself enjoying it ANY time soon. All it means to me is frozen dog water, shoveling, snot, static hair, chapped lips, frost bitten ears, dressing up in umpteen layers just to take the garbage out, dressing and undressing your 4 yr old as he wanders outside a hundred times a day to play in the snow, come in to pee, play in the snow more, come in for hot cocoa (lather, rinse, repeat), icy roads, cold toes, no sun.
I mean, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings but I'm trying really hard to come up with any reasons to like the Winter. I want to trade it in for the Summer. I'll even take the fall and the Spring for good measure. I can't live in the cold North for much longer, I'm telling you. Life is measurably less fun and joyous when it's winter. The days get shorter yet there's so much more to do. JUST getting ready for work you have to warm up the truck, clear the snow from the windows, find your missing glove only to realize the dog ate it in the middle of the night (Ok, that happens in the summer with socks too, but you're missing my point)

Summer = Get out of bed, put on shorts and tank top, leave house.
Winter = Do not get out of bed for fear of freezing to death, jump out of bed and into shower only to find it has to warm up for 5 minutes, stand in cold shower cursing the day, freeze your b*$#ls off getting out of shower, dress in long johns before anything else making "fashionable" obsolete, and so on and so on.

Ok, horse dead, stop beating.

So in light of my hatred for this particular season coupled with an equal disgust from Big B, we've made an annual trip to California nearly every year for awhile now. This year as the economy is in the toilet, my hours have been cut back at work, Big B's hours were pretty much annihilated, our annual trip seemed it may befall on hard times.

But yes Virginia there IS a Santa Clause and his name is Big B. Dear husband decided on a whim we'd leave for California as sure as shootin', turn a blind eye on economics, and hit the road (in 2 days none the less!) Bosses were informed, Cat-Sitters pleaded with (thanks Nana!!!) Bags packed, dogs bundled up, diapers, treats, toys, DVD players, Laptops, coolers, and GPS 's thrown in for good measure and off we went.
If there had been any lingering doubt as to whether or not this trip at this particular time was a good idea, we only have to show you the photos of our departing day. They shout "Leave NOW, run run as far away as you can...go quick before the roads close!!"

Now anyone who has ever traveled with small children on long trips can attest to the fact that when and IF you arrive at your destination and you have NOT thrown said kids out of the window or left them on a busy freeway to fend for themselves it is a gosh darn miracle. I am sure there are many historical fact to back me up when I say 2 kids + 2 parents + 12 hours of travel = disaster. Nerves, actually they sizzle, explode, and take your head with them.

The inventor of the much loved and cherished portable DVD player gets my award for Nobel Peace Prize of the 20th century. Although we limit TV at home, when imprisoned inside a moving vehicle for the majority of the day, be it the parent OR the child, it is a natural life saver. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the little thing.

Big B takes no prisoners when it comes to making time on the asphalt. We had a tight schedule, were only allocated 2 nights in hotels along the way, and were scheduled to arrive in Pismo Beach Tuesday afternoon. As soon as we woke up on our departing day I knew there was going to be trouble. Snow, snow and more snow, plus the unpleasant truth that no one can take care of their roads like Canadians, left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I have complete faith and trust in Big B's driving ability so this thank god was a blessing.

Road blocks were dealt with, thousands upon thousands of Semi trucks paused along the highway were passed, kids buckled in tightly as could be, chains bought and unceremoniously hurled in the back of the pick up truck - we crept up the dark and abandoned highway making our way for the Siskiyou pass and the Californian border. There was a fleeting moment when Big B looked alarmingly worried, and for me that was not exactly encouraging given his extreme courage navigating snowy roads. I was strapped in for the ride though so I kept my apprehension to myself and battened down the hatches. A small internal television in my brain replayed the fateful story of a young couple and their 5-month-old baby getting lost and trapped in a severe blizzard while traveling from Northern California to Idaho. Thankfully they made it out alive, missing some fingers and toes maybe, but alive and well none the less. (True story!)

What we as a young Canadian couple had let slip from our memories was that no where on earth aside from Canada AKA The Great White North, does ANYONE know how to drive in the frickin' snow. Road blocks. Miles of Big Rigs pulled over for road closures. Flashing lights warning of imminent danger. "Chains required" flashing on overhead signs. It was pure and simple snow terrorism at it's finest. Once we had passed the hub of the terror, we encountered an unoccupied, well grated and sanded, perfectly safe to drive on highway. California here we come!

Stay tuned for installment #2 later next week....