It’s with a bit of relief that I step into January. December was an incredible month, but it was also a little bit of insanity.

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We’ve had quite a bit of snow this year.

It’s nice to breathe again.

My wedding was incredible. Despite some mishaps with the catering, everything went smoothly.

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Yup it was cold, but worth it. (Photo by Brian Van Wyk)

The hall that we used as our venue is by no means fully renovated, but we managed to get the last few essentials done the night before the wedding (phew!). It looked incredible and everyone finally understood why we were working so hard to make this venue work.

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Most importantly, everyone enjoyed it, and it was the perfect celebration with the very closest of family and friends.

Then once that was over, it was time for Christmas. More roaring fires, family, friends, and delicious food.

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Cat-proof ornaments

December rather felt like one long celebration.

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This year’s tree topper: Santa Squid

Of course I think I have some residual stress that I haven’t quite gotten rid of. I’m still having a bit of a hard time fully relaxing. So much of my time and energy went into planning the wedding and making sure it went smoothly (I can see why some people opt to just hire wedding planners) that it’s kind of hard to believe it’s actually over. It’s done. I’m married, and life can finally move forward again.

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And now it’s 2017. January. And I come freshly armed with a new camera and a fresh excitement for the new year.

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The ornament I bought in Germany. Just like the ones my Grandmother used to send.

January will be a recovery month, but also a month to start getting back into the groove of real life and my goals.

I hope you Christmas and New Years were wonderful, whether eventful or relaxing.

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Drag

No waste, no waste. Every breath counts.

Inhale exhale inhale.

No waste, can’t waste. Don’t let it burn up unused. It’s such a luxury.

A few minutes and then it’s gone. A few moments of warmth in the lungs. A few moments of warmth against the cold of the world.

What a waste. I’ll miss it when it’s gone.

Less is More

Every year I find myself wanting to do less and less for my birthday. Yesterday I went to work, and then to celebrate, I went to a pub with just a couple friends.

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Mango cake! My favourite!

It was small, intimate, and perfect.

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I do feel incredibly lucky, though, to work at a place where my employers show that they value their employees.

For each employee’s birthday they will buy them a bouquet of flowers.

For me they chose yellow, since I’m a summer baby, and red for my Chinese heritage. It was thoughtful, and generous, and such a nice touch.

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I’m not sure why I did not feel the need for a great bit celebration – I certainly used to enjoy them. And I know I’m not the only one who now prefers smaller parties.

What about you? How do you enjoy celebrating your birthday? Have your celebrations changed over the years?

It’s Kitten Time

My fiancé and I got a kitten! We’ve always wanted a black cat. They’re like fuzzballs with eyes.

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This is Jerry! Also toe beans.

Ryan has had pets before, but this is my first one. My mom is quite allergic to both cats and dogs, so we couldn’t get one when I was younger. I got fish, but it wasn’t quite the same. So I promised myself that when I grew up and moved out I would get a pet. And here I am! My first Kitten! Who is, even as I type this, batting at my fingers because they’re moving.

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He likes to sit on my shoulder.

Jerry is already very, very loved. Claws and all.

What’s your experience with pets? Your favourite moments? Do’s and Don’ts? I would love to hear from you all!

Treasure Hunting

Nature and food. Two treasures that I love.

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Isolated

Lucky for me, I live in a city that has a ton of both. How could I not take advantage of it?

As my first hike of the year, it was probably a good thing that I ended up going on a shorter, easier trail. (I may have huff and puffed anyway…)

My friend Miki called me up and we headed out to Deep Cove to hike up to Quarry Rock. It’s a gorgeous hike, and the view up top is spectacular. It’s a fairly popular hike, and by the time we started to head back, the trail was getting a bit more crowded.

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Feeling accomplished post-hike!

There was not a lot of wildlife to be seen this time around, but seeing a raven hanging out around all the hikers at the top was quite something. It must be quite used to humans, since it did not seem nervous at all despite having at least twenty people  and five dogs sitting or standing around.

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A spectacular view.

There’s something wonderful about being surrounded by trees, secluded, away from the reaches of urban life.

It’s rejuvenating for the body and mind. It’s something that never fails to lift my spirits. The life, the energy, everything about it, I believe, brings out the best in us.

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How could I not?

Of course, after hiking we had to stop by Honey’s for some incredible donuts. The maple donut was well worth the trek across the city.

The weather has been incredible this year, and I plan to take full advantage of it. This means plenty of hikes and time spent outdoors.

I live in a beautiful city full of opportunities to enjoy nature. What about your city? If I were to visit, where would you send me?

 

Forward, Ho!

Something incredibly exciting happened recently: I got engaged!

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Obligatory photo!

I’ll try not to gush too much, but it’s much too exciting not to share it with you all. Marriage was never the end-goal in my life. But the romantic part of me, which usually likes to hide away, really, really loves the idea of getting married to the person I love most.

Apparently my fiancé had been planning the proposal for months. I was oblivious to it all, which made the surprise all the more special. It was private, and intimate, and absolutely perfect. Of course, we’ve had to get the ring resized twice, since apparently my fingers are smaller than estimated.

Now that we’ve had time to enjoy our time as newly-engaged, it’s time to start planning the wedding! This means a lot of work between now and December. This certainly will not become a wedding blog, but there may be various updates on the process. We will be doing a lot of it by ourselves, so there may be some frustrated rants.

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I’ve started drafting wedding invite cards!

On that note, any advice and recommendations are very welcome! We will be having a very small wedding, but I don’t doubt there will be much to do. I would love to hear your experiences and any tips or tricks!

Her Skin Held Time

I could feel time in her skin.

It was soft and dry and thin like the skeleton of a leaf half decayed.

It told me of days and months and years that had all passed. It told me that more had passed than would come.

It told me to hold her close and treasure her.

Rhythm of the Clock

We are painted by time. Our souls the brushes guided by the hours and days and years. Our wrinkles, our scars, strokes of paint the colour of life.

Art that lasts the fleeting forever of our lifetimes.

As we age, we lose our obsession with perfection, and allow time to paint its abstract beauty. For we all lie down to the rhythm of the clock.

Life, and such

I really was not expecting to work quite so much this summer. Before I received my work schedule, I envisioned myself spending at least half the day writing or painting or both. Instead, I ended up working most of the day, and getting home completely exhausted and unable to do much. I did manage to do some writing while on the go, but most of it is sleeping in my notebook, unedited. Eventually, I’m sure, the stories will make their way onto my blog, when they wake up and kick me in the brain.

That’s not to say I’ve been having a bad summer. Far from it. The weather has been amazing, my cousin visited for a month, and I’ve done some excellent reading.

I have also been enjoying the absolutely amazing fruits from the interior. They are, I have to say, the best I’ve ever had. The flavour is unbeatable.

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I had to take a break from blogging, and from any form of work beyond teaching for the last month. I was overwhelmed and was getting sick and anxious from all the stress. Luckily I now have a short break before the fall semester starts, and will take the time to recharge. Hopefully I will get back to my regular blogging routine.

I hope everyone has been having an amazing summer! I feel like I’m rather out of touch with everyone, since I have not been active in almost a month. Here’s to a few more weeks of nice weather before the coziness of autumn arrives.

Birthdays

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An absolutely gorgeous day

I’m not sure when birthdays started to become days much like any other. As a child, I loved birthdays. The whole day was special. Now that I’m working, it’s just like any other day. Except that I’m older now.

I just use it as an excuse to get my friends together on one day. It’s always hard to organize dinners when everyone has such different schedules.

Today is my birthday, but it’s also my first day back to work. And I got scheduled last-minute to teach another class, so I ended up working more than I expected. Not a bad thing, but I thought I’d be more upset that it happened on my birthday. But I’m not.

And I’m undoubtedly not the first, nor the last, to have this realization. But I’m there now, I’ve had it, and I’m not too bothered by it.

I am lucky that the weather turned beautiful. A cloudless sky, a nice cool breeze, and a hot sun. Perfection!

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So I treated myself a bit. Fresh fruit and an excellent read. All in all not a bad day at all. A pretty good return from a wonderful vacation (about which I will post more later this week).

Best of all, tomorrow is Canada day, so I get the day off!

Reflection

He looked up and saw a man staring back. He smiled a weary smile, and it was returned, full of understanding.

They turned, each choosing a chair. Together they faced the setting sun, so very alone.

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I saw a man but I thought there were two. He sat with only his reflection for company. Was he lonely? I wondered as I, myself, sat alone and stared out the window.

You may have noticed

I decided to merge my personal blog with this one. It was too much work maintaining two blogs, and the other one was stagnating, alone and sad in the corner. So from now on, both my personal and writing updates will be posted here. Which also hopefully means more regular updates even when I’m extra busy!

All of my posts from my other blog have been added to this one, and they are mostly listed under the ‘personal’ or ‘photography’ menu at the top (which I also updated, hopefully to make it easier to navigate my blog). Hopefully I’ll have time soon to properly organize everything.

I’m afraid I don’t have any creative writing to post for you all today. My apologies!

Cheers,

Christine

Potential

We met twice in that moment.

Once as our eyes registered. Twice as our souls resonated in waves that we could not, at the time, comprehend.

It was only as we walked away, lonely souls forever lost in the crowds, that we realized what we had missed.

Do you sometimes wonder what would have happened if you had stopped to say hi?