Manitoba & A New Slightly Altered Dad

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His recovery was to put it simply… Amazing.  

Our trip was initially meant to be much longer – but travelling solo with Wesley and trying our best not to get in the way…it became clear early on that we wouldn’t stay longer than we were needed.  So 10 days it was.  My sister and her husband Jordan were our hosts along with the two dogs Odie and Maggie.  Dad was driving himself by his second day and it was really nice to know he’d be basically independent.

The weather at first was quite a shock.  We arrived to -16 degree weather, though over the course of a few days spring took hold and began to thaw the snow and ice.  The dogs were a huge source of entertainment for Wesley which was awesome – we were inside quite a bit of the time.

We’d never been to this area of Manitoba before, and in all honesty – I felt like such a tourist!  There were little details I was noticing that the younger me wouldn’t have really paid attention to.  The plants, cats tails, a red squirrel, the geese flying in for spring and the grass turning from brown to green in only a few short days.  We stayed in a trailer at Ron and Madelines property, which was great to escape and sleep in peace and quiet whilst listening to the geese fly overhead.  The property has a very large oak forest which we also had the pleasure of tramping through a few times.  I can only imagine how much more beautiful it is in the summer with the leaves and greenery.

One of the day’s Wesley and I joined Ron (Liz’s boss) and he took us out to do some bird watching.  We spotted 2 eagles and several different species of hawk.  He also took us into a Hutterite colony and we got an up close and personal view of what it’s like inside these exclusive communities.  I might write more about that at a later time.  I did refrain from taking photos – out of respect.  I didn’t want them thinking we were there to gawk.

Agriculture and mass farming is hugely popular in the region.  We were staying in a little town called St. Pierre Jolys which has quite a french influence.  Most of the accents in the region had a slight french style to them which is unusual to find outside of Quebec.

My twin sister also made it down for a day en-route to Alberta to spend some time with the family and meet Wesley for the first time.  Here he was lunging in for a bite.  She was excellent with him, and gave me a bit of a break to shower and was super helpful.

He picked up a few interesting skills whilst we were there including: biting me when he wanted food, eating dog food (almost daily) and throwing a ball for the energetic and friendly Odie.  Thankfully on the way home Wesley stopped the biting.  I’ve a large bruise on my left are from one good chomp he gave me…and refused to release the skin from his teeth.

I drove on the right hand side of the road, which at first was kind of a dangerous transition.  After a day I was ok… but I did blame it on the epic lack of sleep and jet lag.

We ate poutine a couple of times (it was so goooooood) and also brought back some moccasins to keep my toes warm this winter.  They are sheepskin lined and are like heaven on my feet.

All in all it was a successful trip.  We survived the journey to and from (thankfully Wesley is a people person – he made so many friends during each leg of the trip) and it was fairly easy going to and from…lots of games and singing and horsing around on my part to keep wee man entertained.  Travelling with a little baby is daunting, but at the same time it made it alot more fun than usual.  I probably wont be putting my hand up again for that any time soon – but it is nice to know that Wesley loves the planes and is stimulated by all the people.  He was adorable.

Coming home to New Zealand – it was so beautiful to see the green and even though it’s raining and a little chilly we’re sooo pleased to stretch our legs and settle into our little life here again.  Mike had flowers waiting and firewood stacked along the front of our home.  Such a wonderful welcome!

But… I’ll warn you all now.  We have news.  It involves…relocation.  To another country…

Can you guess where we are headed?

I’ll reveal this to you shortly!

Take care all and be well



The Forest Swords

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About a month ago – Mike and I were in a record shop (Diabolik Books & Records) in Mount Hawthorn looking for Cards against Humanity.  If you’ve not heard of this offensive game – please look it up.  We were hosting some friends and stayed up late with deep belly laughter over the rediculousness and creativity that came out of this game and our minds.  Warning – This game is not for the pure of mind.

Back to the record shop – we heard this intricate – unusual music playing. I was almost too embarrassed to ask what it was – but I knew it was obscure and the chance of ever hearing it again would be slim.

I. am. that. person.

desperation in needing to know < potential embarrassment

The sales person was really helpful and wrote down the artist and album for me.  “Forest Swords” the album – “Engravings”.  The entire album flows really nicely – and can indeed feel at times partly medieval spliced with indian sounds.  It’s relaxing and uplifting simultaneously.  If you’re keen to get a full copy – it can be bought on iTunes and was released in August 2013.

If you’re wanting to hear something a little different – or get a feel for what I’m rambling on about:

The Forest Swords – The Weight of Gold

The Forest Swords – Thor’s Stone

Also – I’d like to thank a few friends and family for emailing and putting their hands up for the Australian/Canadian food swap.  I was too pleased to see quite a few emails waiting for me this morning.  Yey, you are all amazing!!  My junk food dreams might become a reality soon!

ps: The photo is from our camping trip in September – that is located in Fitzgerald River National Park.

pps: A slew of new music has been compiling on this list that I’ve been keeping here.

Our dear friends.

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Danae and Bryn.

Some friends are there for you no matter what continent you land yourself… and some relationships fade in due time.  It is enevitable as we all become caught up in the immediate world surrounding us.  I’ve come to accept and also appreciate the fading of old relationships, strengthening the strong, and nurturing of the new.

Danae (and her equally wonderful sister Carly) met Mike and I in Lake Louise, Canada six cold years ago.  It was the deep winter, and we were drinking at an 80’s party.  They had travelled from their lodge up the road to the chalets that Mike and I worked at.  With limited social gatherings, it was really nice to let loose with our neighbours (Baker Creek is situated on a lonely stretch of road that cuts through some majestic and altogether impressive mountains).

It could be a lonely life for some… but for us… it was heaven.  The snowboarding, the log fires, and sense of adventure kept us all connected.  We shared a passion for the great wilderness that is Banff National Park.

It’s been nearly 6 years since we all met…and it’s been awesome to remain close with the Watson’s here in Australia.

Yesterday it was Danae’s birthday.  She is incredibly intelligent, gentle, warm and kind hearted.  We celebrated at Fremantle’s “Little Creatures Brewery” and legitimately ate like kings and queens.

I feel very fortunate to call her and Carly friends.  I know Mike does too.

What personal item do you cherish most?

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Before I met this ring, I never really wore jewellery.  It caught my eye on a cold winter day while I was strolling through the Chateau Lake Louise in Banff National Park (where I worked) with a good friend (Carly!).  I can’t remember what we were doing there at the time, but neither of us had the intention of buying anything.  There was something calming and pleasing to me in the design.  It was modestly priced for silver and fit my nimble (child like) fingers perfectly.  I think I paid about $32.00 for it.

Do you have a personal item that you love?  Where did you find it?  

I’ve been wearing this ring on my hand now for nearly 8 years.  (Carly if you’re reading correct me if I’m wrong).  It’s the only thing apart from my tattoo, that has stayed with me this long unchanged.  I feel safe with it on.

Mike and I were sitting in a natural hot spring on the side of a mountain road once and we saw the chemical change of silver and sulphur mixing.  The ring changed into a dramatic beautiful blue/red/copper temporarily.  It recently changed colour when I cleaned it in some boiling water, with aluminium, sodium bi carb and vinegar… to this soft pale creamy silver.

I’ve fiddled and spun it on my finger in a sort of trance while I’ve been in a waiting line…and it’s given me great grief if It’s ever slipped off or I’ve misplaced it.

Like losing my mind grief.

Never in the history of loving an inanimate object has someone loved a thing as much as me and this ring.

“My precious”.


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I’ve been away in Victoria travelling and at the same time suffering from a broken heart.  I have been at odds with my emotions the past week.  I feel bipolar in the midst of the holiday feel goods, I can quickly go from being holiday high to crushingly low in spirits.  Mike wasn’t able to be with me during the second half of my trip on the Eastern side of Australia (however he was very supportive through our conversations late at night when the day’s wound down).  I was spending time with my friend Emily and her family for the holidays, and often tried to hide my feelings around the family to keep people from absorbing my heartache.

It didn’t remove those sudden drops in my stomach when I focused my mind on what has happened. It didn’t stop me from spacing out and tuning out everything around me for moments forgetting where I was and whom was talking to me.

Some of you might know that recently, and earlier in February this year I flew back to Canada.  On both occasions I rushed to my aunt whom has not been in good health. The most recent visit I travelled to her to say my farewells, which took a lot out of me…as it was final, and one of the most confronting things I’ve ever had to do.

Last week I received the news that my dear friend and aunt had passed away on Christmas Eve.  While I know this relieved her from the long suffering she endured, I still feel pain knowing I’ll not be able to send her a note and receive a magnificent lengthy response (she was a wonderful writer, and would describe the little details in the day that might go unnoticed by some), or have a long chat and walk with her in her neighbourhood or talk about her life, travels, the trials and tribulations of raising children in a country that isn’t home, or the first time she met her amazing husband…

I feel like I’ve lost my mum.
I’ve always felt such an immense gratitude for her embracing me as one of her own even though she didn’t have to…as I was like a riff raff child just turning up at random, whenever I could. I just adored seeing her and my uncle together. I really admired the love between them.

I’ve lost a great friend who was also a compassionate, loving, mother and wife.  This news has been hard to process, but I know whatever pain I’m feeling must be multiplied tenfold for my uncle and their children.

Jane, I know you’re safe.
I will love you forever.

Toto – Africa