I mentioned yesterday that Mittens came with me to my parents. She is the best little traveling cat there is. Most cats make a racket anytime they’re forced into a car, but not Mittens. The only time she makes a sound is to tell me she prefers music over talk radio. I even catch her purring when I get back in the car after being on the ferry or make a brief stop.
A highlight of this year’s trip was her appearance during Christmas dinner. For the most part she just hangs out in the bedroom where I stay. Occasionally she’ll venture out to have a nap by the Christmas tree. So when she jumped up on the table nearly landing in the platter of turkey we were all quite surprised.
Once we got back home to Vancouver, Mittens was given a gift by a couple of my friends. Her very own cat Snuggie. Doesn’t she look happy?
Mittens enjoying her Snuggie
It’s officially Christmas now. Phewf! The past few weeks seem to have flown by in a whirlwind of packing, unpacking, eating, cleaning, napping and knitting. Mittens and I made the trip up to my parents’ home. We went a day later than planned in order to get caught up on a few things at home first. And of course that morning we woke up to a true west coast storm. It was pouring rain and super windy, but having already delayed our departure by a day I packed up the car and headed out.
It was three years ago that I was in Spain for the month of December. Midway through the trip I took a ferry over to Tangier, Morocco for a night. The trip back was the roughest seas I’ve ever experienced. Having grown up on and around boats, I’ve never been bothered by rough weather, but ever since my Morocco experience I’ve been a skittish ferry passenger.
The crossing to Nanaimo brought back many memories of the trip from Tangier to Algeciras. So much so that when I got back home to Vancouver I dug out my journal to reread my description of the trip. Here’s a bit of it…
Finally, two hours after the ferry was supposed to leave, we headed out into the Strait of Gibraltar. We we exited the port, the swells began to pick up. They were fairly sizable waves, making my stomach turn a little and making me literally sit on the edge of my seat. I thought as we left the Atlantic Ocean and headed into the Mediterranean Sea the swells would get smaller. Unfortunately I was wrong. Instead of coffee and beer, the crew were offering scented blue garbage bags to barf in. I’m not sure who was the first to start, but one by one all the people around me were throwing up. All I could hear was the creaking of the old rusty ship and the rustling of plastic bags.
I remember being young and asking Mom what the point of prayers like the Hail Mary were. She told me that sometimes when people are really scared they find comfort in saying prayers like that. I finally understood what she meant. I literally prayed my way across the Strait of Gibraltar. Mine would start out “Hail Mary, full of grace….oh f**k that’s a big wave…The lord is with…oh s**t, hang on that’s another big one…”
The worst of it came when we had to cut back along the coast to head into the harbour. Instead of heading straight into the swells, we ended up parallel to them and rocking back and forth. Dishes were smashing, chairs with people in them sliding across the room, and people rolling off benches they’d been lying on.
Obviously I survived the experience, but I doubt any ferry ride will ever be the same for me. I’m now thankful that BC Ferries’ announcements are in English and that I can see life jackets and life rafts, things I probably took for granted before.
You know what the worst part of getting food poisoning the day after finishing a final exam is? Having to miss out on speed dating because of it.
I seem to think I was only going to be a supportive friend to someone who wanted to go, but let’s be honest, I was pretty excited about it. I figured it would be entertaining at the very least. I had so many questions about what it would be.
Should one have a set of questions ready to ask each “contestant”?
What would be appropriate attire?
And the appropriate amount to eat and drink?
What percentage of the men will be in the upper bracket of the age range (30-45…the upper half were going to be too old)?
What percentage of the men were going to be short?
And just plain weird?
I guess I’ll never know. Thanks to the bad sushi. (Aside: When you think to yourself “this sushi tastes funny”…STOP EATING!!)
Apparently Reverb10 doesn’t mix well with a final exam, ending one job, training for a new job and the general madness that is December. I had good intentions but it’s just not going to happen at the moment and I’m okay with that.
I’ve still gained something from the experience. Now I know that in 2011 I want to set more reasonable and realistic expectations of myself.
And on that note, I’m off to study. I’m trying a new study technique this time round. Reading the textbook. Amazing!
Prompt: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeff Davis)
For me a sense of wonder comes from being outdoors in an environment that isn’t a part of my everyday routine. Without a doubt I experience a sense of wonder when I climb up to Garibaldi Lake. I did a day hike up there during my staycation.
This picture is from a camping trip I did there a few years ago. Being there gives me a feeling of being such a small part of something much larger than what I see or know in my everyday life. This Earth. It’s an amazing place to be.
From the base of Black Tusk
Prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. (Author : Ali Edwards)
I missed doing this post yesterday on the real day three. It had been an exhausting week full of ups and downs and I took the opportunity to unplug. I’m also working on being kind to myself, which is surprisingly difficult for me. So here I am, nonetheless.
I’ve been thinking through the many memories I have from the last year and am trying to pick one where I felt alive. The one that is jumping out the most for me is my date to see Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza. I’ve always dreamed of going to a Cirque show, but the price of tickets always seemed unrealistic for me. I knew they would be in Vancouver last summer, but just didn’t think I’d be able to make it work.
While on a date I mentioned how I’d always wanted to go. The guy then said “Why don’t we go on Friday then?” I thought he was joking, but he was serious. So a few days later off we went. It was the height of summer and the evening was warm. I had a black summer dress on and a flower in my hair. Inside the big tent it was freezing cold. I had a sweater with me and we snuggled up to keep warm. The show was spectacular. I remember just being so present to everything that was happening around me. The music, the choreography, the make up and costumes, the smell of popcorn and all of the people around me.
I remember feeling so lucky to have that experience. It was the Friday during a week of vacation and it was the perfect date to end my vacation with. I felt relaxed, at ease and alive.
Prompt: Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)
This is easy.
A few months ago, I agreed to a bet about what kind of noodles we were eating. It was something stupid about whether they were egg or wheat noodles. The bet? 24 hours without Facebook. I lost and the 24 hours nearly killed me. I was convinced something earth shattering was going to happen.
It didn’t. Nothing changed. Other than tortuous posts to my wall by friends who knew I’d want to log on to see what was happening.
In the end I realized what a good exercise it was. I need to learn to unplug. I’ve thought about unplugging for an evening, a day or a weekend every now and then. Maybe it’s something I’ll try out in the new year. I’ll set aside a day to unplug and write with a real pen and paper. Imagine! Pen! Paper! It will be just like the good ol’ days.
As if December isn’t busy enough with Christmas and final exams, I decided to sign up for something called Reverb10. The idea is that you’re sent a daily prompt to help you reflect on the past year and to manifest the one coming up. I don’t like the word manifest, but I’m taking it as an opportunity to think of what I would like to project for the year ahead.
Today’s prompt was to choose one word that represents this past year and one word that you hope represents next year.
2010 = Adventure.
The last year has been an adventure of trying new things and becoming comfortable with the unknown. I’ve pushed myself to do things that scare me and things that I never thought I would do. I recently got a message from a friend, who I think knows me pretty well, that I continued to surprise him in awesome ways. I’ve allowed myself to relax and be kind to myself.
2011 = Laughter
I love laughing. I want to do it all the time. When I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m unsure. I recently made a comment about some unfortunate events and said “in a year from now, I’ll be laughing at my life.” And that’s just what I want to be doing. I want to not just laugh at my life, but with my life. As I’m writing this I’ve got a stupid grin on my face. It makes me happy just thinking about laughing.