The Good Beach Life

Just like the seaside, a lifestyle is not always calm. There are moments of quiet reflection, even meditation. But as the wind picks up and the atmospheric pressure changes, so will the internal storm rise. This kind of ebb and flow is how I enjoy my beach life most. For it is with fortitude we trudge through the low points making the highs so sweet.

I have to admit, we had mostly high points this past week. But, maybe my graph for this kind of chart is changing. The lows lifting up to more of a medium point and my highs becoming incredibly tall. Could be. That is my story and I’m sticking to it.

There were so many moments to be thankful for this week. I’m picking a few:

  • Weather – pleasantly warm, enough to work on our tan, (even a little sunburnt children who swore they had sunscreen on), but cool in the evenings
  • Food – excellent wherever we turned. Taco’s on the beach for lunch, cookout for dinner. Fresh seafood in Stanley Park, dockside in Steveston and on the rooftop patio of the Boathouse
  • Exercise – the kids sprinted after their skim boards we walked dozens of miles, up and down the 300′ hill to the beach
  • Space – we had enough for everyone. That is a luxury we often don’t have on a family vacation, but something not to be overlooked, particularly as the kids are teens and tweens
  • Activities – new and old. The kids kicked their skimming skills up a notch. My sister and I learned to add beads into a knitting project
  • Shopping – books, everyone got something, beach reading and beyond

We had a little bit of clouds and rain yesterday. Some might view that as a low point. My mood can sink low when the sun doesn’t shine, but we made the most of it. We combed the beach at Lighthouse Park and my nephew packed out quite a haul of beach glass.

I think we managed fun for the whole family this week. But, most important, I had a great time.

Beaded Cowl_web Books_web

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First Frost

It is official at my house. The warm days are gone for 2013. We had our first frost on Thursday night.

Every day up until this point, I like to fantasize that we can still get some decent heat. It would be great to get more than brief moments. A burst of sun on a patio, but the angle is wrong. The light is there, but the effect is not the same, we have tilted away.

The signs are all around me, no matter how I wish to blink my eyes and be back in the long lazy days of 2 months ago.

  • The central heating has been turned on. My husband broke down in the first week of October. My daughter thinks she needs even more heat down in her room.
  • The rug colors have changed from the bright greens of Summer to the reds of Winter. (That changes up the whole look of the house every 6 months).
  • My garden is almost tucked in for the winter. A bit more trimming to do.
  • The patio furniture is ready for a big tarp, the cushions are in storage.
  • The deck will get a long runner of carpet to allow a trail of safe passage through the frost.
  • My kids have fallen back into the routine of school. The field trips have started. First one on Thursday to go skating. (Indoor rinks here on the Coast).
  • Evening family movies start-up again. With the long days of summer, we spent all our time outside, doing stuff.
  • Knitting big chunky wooly things doesn’t seem crazy anymore. I knit all summer too, looks a bit strange at the beach.
  • Nature puts on a fantastic show before heading into the long slumber.
  • The “V” formations of birds heading South are tracking overhead.
  • The last days of the Farmer’s markets, offering so many kinds of squash!
  • We start to feel more introspective. We read, we learn.

Steve Sabol wrote this poem called, “The Autumn Wind”. A humorous look at the weather which can either beat down your mood or cause a stiffening of resolve to soldier on.

The Autumn Wind is a pirate,
Blustering in from sea,
With a rollocking song, he sweeps along,
Swaggering boisterously.

His face is weather beaten.
He wears a hooded sash,
With a silver hat about his head,
And a bristling black mustache.

He growls as he storms the country,
A villain big and bold.
And the trees all shake and quiver and quake,
As he robs them of their gold.

The Autumn Wind is a raider,
Pillaging just for fun.
He’ll knock you ’round and upside down,
And laugh when he’s conquered and won.

Summer heat in September

It feels so nice. The warm sun on your skin. No cool breeze. Windows fully open after dark, yet still pleasant temperatures. No bugs anymore.

Although we have not had any frost yet, this warm weather has come after some pretty cool and rainy weather. So the term, Indian Summer still applies. It is a bit strange to realize that the temperature this evening, (here at the beach), is still 23 degrees C and feels like 28. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining.

Because we live in a Northern rainforest, the temperatures do not get really warm. Even in the height of summer, sea breezes moderate the heat. Humidity can make it feel warmer, or cooler, depending on the season. That is a strange situation for visitors from drier parts.

I decided a long time ago, I would never grumble about the heat. To my way of thinking, the sun is good for you. I realize there are many health concerns regarding over-exposure, but I practice balance. A healthy dose of vitamin D when it makes sense and a generous layer of sun screen at other times.

By this time of year, my skin has a healthy glow to it. I feel most comfortable like this. The hours of rest and relaxation that are required to achieve this, have been well-earned.

And like so many other things in life, I don’t want this time of year to come to an end. I want the feeling of summer, the warmth of the sun, the heat on my skin to last forever.

I am super lucky this year. In just 36 days, I’ll be boarding a plane bound for Malta. The weather there should be similar to what we are experiencing here now. Could be slightly cooler, but will feel much like summer here on the West Coast. After the conference, (days and nights of solid work time, mostly hunched over a lap top), my husband joins me for 6 nights!

The Westin Dragonara - Malta

The Westin Dragonara – Malta

Then, to finish off the year, back to La Paz, Mexico. The weather last year was very similar to our summer and that was considered to be cool compared to normal. Who knows what we will get, but I will enjoy every sunny moment of it.

Costa Baja Resort, La Paz, Mexico - 2013 January

Costa Baja Resort, La Paz, Mexico – 2013 January

May flowers

March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers.   English proverb 1886


It has always been difficult to plan activities based on the weather forecasts, here in Canada. Even old English proverbs only serve to remind us of the conditions to expect and then Mother nature will give us a show. And if you read about the history of this proverb, there could also be hail, sleet and snow.

The nice thing about Spring is the time frame. All bursts of weather are short-lived, but the general trend is warming. If you have a blanket of snow in May, it will be melted away in no time. Then to counteract that, as we saw this year, a super warm Easter in March. Patio furniture was out, BBQ’s were fired up and the clothing of winter dropped away. There were even a number of sunburns walking around town.

The only thing to do is take advantage of the place you find yourself. Rain jackets and umbrella’s, a sweater, a warm coat and warm boots are just some of the choices. On the other hand, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses and sun screen are not to be forgotten as the sun shines more seriously.

But for now, it is still Spring. I like to dash out into the sun when she shines and catch a few of her rays whenever I can. Even if it is just for a 15 minute walk, read the newspaper or just sit and relax. Last evening I did just that and here are a few of the images from my journey through the yard.

Artichoke, (actually a flower)

Artichoke, (actually a flower)

Chives....almost a weed

Chives….almost a weed

Thyme - couldn't live without it

Thyme – couldn’t live without it

Pansies - the most reliable beauty in the garden

Pansies – the most reliable beauty in the garden

White Lilac, (her scent is fantastic, too bad I have a cold right now, too hopped up on medication to smell anything)

White Lilac, (her scent is fantastic, too bad I have a cold right now, too hopped up on medication to smell anything)

Buttercup, (don't be fooled by her - invasive weed that she is - parading around my backyard like a tramp)

Buttercup, (don’t be fooled by her – invasive weed that she is – parading around my backyard like a tramp)

The Sun

Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

The sun finally came out today. There had been a small glimpse of it yesterday, but then a rain storm came through that was very strong for this time of year. The temperature dropped about 12 degrees C and the wind did some damage. But today, it was warm enough to put on some sun screen.

In anticipation of my photography e-course that starts tomorrow, I ran around taking some photo’s. And the light cooperated with my efforts. It was fun to get the creative juices going. Thinking about all the techniques that I sort of know like scale, proportion, depth of field, etc.

With all this rain, we have mushrooms growing in our grass. That is a common sight in December, but is very unusual in late June. Still, they are cute, I think.

So many of the plants are taking over. This is our front walkway and you can’t walk there now. When those hosta leaves are wet, it makes your whole leg look like you stepped in the ocean.

When I am walking around with a camera, I tend to notice very tiny things in the lens. It was really great to see this bee and to get confirmation that it is a native honey bee no less.

The beach towel hanging up on the end of the fence is from my daughters field trip to the beach this week. That was one fragrant towel, bringing home the smell of every, once living thing from this part of the Pacific Ocean.

And around the corner from this fence is our hot tub. Once the lid was off, the chemicals were topped up, it was time to have a quick soak with a book. Our chlorine floater is anchored to the edge of the tub with a fishing weight. That way it doesn’t sink itself into the filter basket.

We’re here for a good time – Trooper

We’re here for a good time
Not a long time (not a long time)
So have a good time
The sun can’t shine every day

The golden hour of the evening came. That brief period of time when you almost have to run around to get all the shots you might like to.

The sun can’t shine everyday

Today was a sunny day in Vancouver. And when you get sun like this at the end of November, you almost want to dance for the joy of it. For those of you who don’t know, Vancouver is the Southern part of the world’s northernmost rainforest. (Make sense?)

There is a song by the Canadian band Trooper called – “We’re here for a good time (not a long time)”. The members of this band resided in Vancouver and these are lyrics we all live by:

We’re here for a good time
Not a long time (not a long time)
So have a good time
The sun can’t shine everyday

And the sun is shinin,
In this rainy city,
And the sun is shinin,
Ooh isn’t a pity?
That every year has its share of tears,
Every now and then it’s gotta rain

On a recent sunny day, (there was 2 this month!), my husband and I took a walk around Prospect Point in Stanley Park. This park is truly amazing and in fact the third largest in North America. Originally home to Burrard, Musqueam and Squamish First Nations people, Stanley Park as it is today was not one designer’s grand scheme but more an evolution of a pioneer city’s hopes and dreams; a place for its citizens to recreate themselves through active sport or passive repose.

And a couple of great photo’s from a sunny day in November, 2011.

Burrard Inlet

Cabin life – Sun-kissed day 3

Cabin dolphins basking in the sun

Why is the feeling of the sun warming skin so uplifting? Some people describe that feeling as sun-kissed, which is a fantastic way to articulate it. However with all the damage of over exposure to the sun, bear consideration to:

“Everything in moderation, including moderation” – Oscar Wilde.

I live by this principle as well. Too often people are so quick to completely eliminate an otherwise enjoyable activity for fear of possible long-term effects. Conversely, in an effort to improve health, people will add a new food or exercise to their regime that they hate. How good can that be for a person?

Living in the world’s most northern rain forest, there is no possible way to over expose ourselves to the sun. So when it shines, no matter where I am, I let the rays kiss my face and uplift my spirits. That is the good stuff!

Cabin life – Relax day 1

As with anything, life is what you make it. Cabin days are no different. All the ingredients are here to have a great time, but you have to put that final ounce of effort in to truly enjoy it.

Day one was fantastic and in a way, a new experience for me. It was quiet. No hustle and bustle of multiple children’s activities, (although my daughter can talk up a storm and make herself sound like a pack of kids). No tee times to rush off to. No real agenda’s to follow other than pick up your stuff and get out of the sprinkle from the passing thunder-storm, silly.

It was a good day to read. Without so many distractions, I could pay attention to some of the heavier non-fiction I brought with me. And work on my sun-tan at the same time. I know the suns rays are harmful, but I have always loved the warm glow of bronzed skin.  Months from now, when I look at myself I will be transported back to these cabin days. No matter what kind of situation I find myself in, like pouring down with rain, dark and cloudy. (Although the weather yesterday in White Rock was 14 degrees C and rainy, maybe the fall will be beautiful and sunny).

There is a peacefulness that I feel when I can poke around with my camera and look at things in a different way. Or even look at things that I had not noticed before. It may sound strange, but this kind of day ranks very high and may be one of the best for me. Almost a re-charge which I find absolutely necessary in this rather hectic life I tend to live.