Thursday, 1 January 2015

Another Year End Review -2014

Well here we are in 2015, the Year of the Sheep, I hope it is gentle as a lamb!  2014 started rough and ended rough but for the most part was a very agreeable year for us.

Garry Point Park, a short walk from my office.

Last January we got hit with a nasty storm and a ton of ice in the river which scared the pants off of us. We came close to quitting this lifestyle, thinking it just wasn't worth dying for. My health was at an all time low, I felt like I had maybe 10 percent of life force left. I was dragging myself through my days, hanging on by a thread.

 I turned 55 on January 5 and decided to do something special for myself on my birthday as most years I don't celebrate it at all ( bad time of year to get people to party :( . So on a whim, I spent the night searching online for a holiday destination and we left the next day on a flight to Cuba.

It was just what the Dr. ordered! It was a short trip, just 5 days, but the sunshine, warm ocean, balmy breezes and a magical swim with a dolphin was the best gift I could have ever received. I came back with my gas tank a little fuller, a new resolve to finish the house and enough suntan to carry me into the summer.

Spring brought the bulbs I had planted in the fall and it was fun to watch it all unfold over the months.
The freshet came again as it does every year, but this time we were much more calm about it. It wasn't any worse than last year, no damage done and was perhaps only extraordinary in the sense that I didn't think it would be as high because we got way less precipitation and snow than last year.

Once things had warmed up we got busy on the house again. We made great headway creating a living room and dining room.

There are still some things to be done there but they are totally functional rooms. Friends of ours gave us their old patio French doors and we got those installed on the river side of the house. LOVE them, it really makes all the difference to be able to sit in the room and watch the river flow by as opposed to getting up to look out a window. Its like moving art on the wall. They also let in much more light which really brightens things up considerably.

Once summer got into full swing we didn't want to be indoors anymore so Dave built us a marvelous patio and re-decked the river side dock and the front deck so everything was the same height and flowed into each other. We lucked out and found some great deals on a nice BBQ, gazebo and deck chairs and got a cute 2 seater Jacuzzi for free. We barely ever went indoors after that, we lived , cooked, ate outside and soaked in the tub  only venturing in to sleep at night. We were blessed with a long summer that stretched to the end of October.

I went to Vancouver Island in July for a family reunion. I went a few days early and revisited some of my favorite childhood nature spots. I got another dose of mother nature to rejuvenate my tired old body walking through forest paths and long stretches of pacific beaches. Reconnecting with family and friends was very therapeutic as well and I am so grateful for everyone that went out of their way to join us. I am hoping that we continue to do this more often as I have been family deprived with my nomadic lifestyle and loved connecting with everyone.

The worst part of this year was losing our cat Smoochie. Last year he had been attacked by some animal and had his stomach ripped right open. It cost me $1000.00 to put him back together and a month of constant care to make sure he healed ok with no infection. He survived and we were filled with joy. He was my constant companion around the house and slept cuddled up to me every night. Sadly a few days after I got home from my reunion, he walked up the dock to the shore and we never saw him again. To this day we have no idea what became of him. He was quite nervous outdoor after his last experience so usually didn't wander too far or long. I miss him every day and look for him every night when I get home, I can only pray he didn't suffer.

Minou(left) and Smoochie(right) best of friends!

Getting lots of loving from Smoochie when I got back from my trip, sadly he vanished two days after I took this picture :(

While we were searching for him we came across a small black kitten that I for a moment mistook for Smoochie. It turned out it was the landlords kitten which they had given to their son. The son works away for weeks at a time and the kitten was living outdoors by itself. I couldn't stand to think of something bad happening to it so asked them if I could have him instead. They agreed and Pitou came to live with us. I don't think he liked the outdoors too much as he hasn't left our house in 6 months. That's ok with me, one less cat to worry about!

The newest member of our family, Pitou

 Our other cat Minou was quite distraught when Smoochie vanished and spent weeks looking for him. He would come home, sniff the door to see if Smoochie had returned, get upset when there was no new scent of him, and turn back to carry on searching for him. It was heart breaking to see. It took him a long time before he settled back into the house and gradually befriended the kitten. I have never had a animal vanish before, I have always known what their fate was. I can't imagine the grief of people whose loved ones have vanished. Its hard to not have closure, and your mind runs rampant with horrible scenarios as to what might have happened. We will never forget you Smoochie, I would give anything for another one of your kisses!

 The summer gradually gave way to fall and we turned our attention back to the interior of the house. We continue to insulate and batten down hatches trying to make things more comfortable during the winter. Sometime I wonder if we will ever get it totally warm in here. I really wanted to put in a wood stove but ran out of money. We need a miracle (lottery) to sort that out. Without a cheap source of heat, we are back to just heating a few small rooms to live in and letting the rest of the house freeze. It has damaged our hot water on demand and froze a few pipes already and my beautiful indoor plants have all died of the cold. Thank god winters aren't usually too severe here and I am counting down the days until spring is back.

The month of December became the month of vehicle problems. The only drawback to living where I do, is that I am 75 kms away from work and 7 kms away from the nearest bus stop and even then it would take 4 or more hours to bus it to work if that was necessary.

 First the brakes went on the truck. I decidedly to deal with them at a later date as the truck is not vital to our life. My car is! I can't afford the cost of gas in the truck to go to work, it would be astronomical. Then my car just went haywire. I had all kinds of issues with the headlights not working, then the alternator belt went. I got towed a whole bunch of times in a few week and ended up sleeping at work multiple times because I couldn't get home. I tried to fix the car, spent hundreds of dollars but it kept breaking down. The last straw was getting towed home 75 km on the 23rd.

I was desperate for a running vehicle, stuck out in the boonies and Christmas was right around the corner with everything going to be closed for days. I hate being that stressed out and overwhelmed. I found a car on Craigslist for $1000.00. The guy who owned it had his friend come and pick us up to go take a look at it. Everyone was in a hurry to go get ready for Christmas and get papers signed before the insurance place closed for the holidays, so I only got the briefest look at the car and a quick ride around the block. I ended up buying a Toyota Celica GTS 1990, which is a car I have owned twice before. I love this car and was thrilled to have another one, but I am praying that I didn't get a lemon.

My new ( to me ) car.

We drove into Richmond for Christmas dinner at a friends house and noticed the wheel was making some very disturbing sounds. I finally got it looked at late Friday to have it diagnosed as destroyed wheel bearings. I made an appointment to get it fixed first thing Monday morning. Once they got the wheel off, the news just went from bad to worse and it took $800.00 dollars and a missed day of work before I was back on the road. I still need to fix a few things and would like someone to take a better look at it before I sink much more money into it.

I hate to say it but I think it is time for me to start looking for work closer to home. This is painful as I really love my practice in Steveston. I have great clients, I love my office, the village is awesome and there are many wonderful shops and restaurants to peruse if I have a break. I am more than a little scared of starting from scratch. No one knows me up here and there are way less people living in the area to draw from, so not sure how this will go. My life would definitely be a lot easier though if work was just down the road so I guess its time to go into town and check out the opportunities here.

Now that the house is more or less under control, I would like to turn my attention to some other areas of my life. First on the list is to get my finances under control. I need to get tough about shopping, start saving and pay down my debts. I hate owing anyone anything and it will be a great relief to get control over this part of my life.

I also want to take better care of my body. It is a constant work in progress as I try different things in an effort to find relief for my pain. I have made some good recovery in areas and need to work on others. I say this every year and nothing ever really changes but I sincerely hope to lose some weight and to get  fit so that I can enjoy life more.

I have a list of things that I wrote a few years ago and like to revisit to see if I am making any headway. I put stars next to the things I worked on this year so I can see where I still need to focus my energy. I hope this year is a good year for all of you and that any trials or tribulations are ones you can handle and learn from. Blessings to all of you!

Reminders of the person I want to be:

1.Lose at least one pound a week
2.Seek spiritual guidance every day
3.Be grateful every day*
3.Exercise every day ( before going online)
4.Take a daily picture of something that catches my eye* ( it wasn't daily but I took a lot of pictures)
5.Perform random acts of kindness*
6.Limit sugar
7.Aim for raw food when possible
8.Fast food doesn't exist, make another choice
9.Mindful Eating
10.Clean and sort one closet or drawer every week*( I made good headway with this!)
11.Start saving 10 percent of all income* ( I was doing good saving for about 6 months, then needed to spend it all on necessary repairs)
12.Attend at least one yoga class a week
13.Read a book before bed ( turn off the computer)
14.Play a game once a week
15.Have a "do not spend money" day once a week*
16. Un-clutter a room*
17.Record receipts once a week and file
18.Clear my inbox
20.Learn a new skill*
22.Learn a new language
23.Study a new plant in my neighborhood
24.Work on making a smaller garbadge pile each week*
25.Play an instrument*
26.Be creative*
27. Write*
28.For every new thing I bring home, two things must go out( haha right!!)
29.Learn the words to a song*
30.Visit a friend*
31.Feed the wildlife
32.Take a bit of all food I intend to eat and make an offering to the spirits to say thanks
33.Try a new food
34.Try a new restaurant
35.Pick up litter*
36.Sign a petition*
37.Take a course*
39.Take a bath, make it as healing as possible*
40.Breathe mindfully
42.Get out of town, do something different*
43.Walk in a forest*
44.Sit by a fire*
45.Moon bathe*
46.Skinny dip*
47.Star gaze*
48.Remember and honour someone who is gone*
49.Decorate a place in nature
50.Repair something that is broken*
51.Plant a perennial*
52.Perform rituals and ceremonies to ground yourself and mark your passages

Looking this list over, I see I was more organized this year and got out and about more. I still need to shift my focus when it comes to moving my body more, eating better and putting more energy into my spiritual practice. I still like this list and will endeavor to incorporate more of these ideas into my life this year.

My favorite sunset picture of this year!

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  1. I'm so sad for you about Smoochie... I hope he just knew it was time to go, and he went off privately. The story of your year is so inspiring, with its ups and downs - I'm just amazed by your courage and resourcefulness. I wish you all the best for 2015, May it be filled with light and love, good health and happiness, better finances and a job closer to home, loving cats, and of course, good weather!

    1. Thank you so much for your generous comment Carol, many blessings to you and yours as well this year.

    2. I see you like books, me too. I have well over 3000, mostly reference books. This is the only book I ever made myself

  2. I always get excited when another of your posts shows up in my feed. I love reading your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  3. It is indeed another year. Another time to get worked up and recharged, both in our day to day struggles, and in terms of our cars getting much needed fuel. We shouldn't skimp on that aspect of mechanical realities, which can as always be turned into a opportunity. All the best!

    Abraham Yates @ Apache Oil Company


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment, Rhianna

The Eclectic Ark