that perfect hand…

In Ocean's 11, Danny said that "the house always wins. If you play long enough, never change the stakes, then the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big… and then, you take the house." Here's the hand I've been dealt, sometimes it's risky and sometimes it's safe, but all the time… it's perfect. It's mine.


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10 reasons a trip-to-smithers makes me smile large

…and laugh out loud.

10. Nana double-fisting red wine. She’s not actually drinking it, but she is a firecracker.DSC00647

9. Going for lunch with Shirley and Linda at Javas and then not leaving until 3 or 4 hours later because of table hopping after they left between Matt, Sue, Alana, Megan, Melissa, Cole, Janelle, and Kristin. It took a little while getting used to being in a town where you’re bound to run into people you know no matter how hard you try to avoid it.

8. Meeting some of the most beautiful “I’ve only ever heard about or seen pictures of” children: Gabriella, Riley John, Amya Annabelle, Grace Willow, Malia Ann, and Dayton Karl. It was so fun to meet and cuddle these kids. Here’s Riley making no secret who he’s supporting in the playoffs:DSC00626

And the new babies:

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And Miss Amya, posing away:

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7. Visits with my aunts. And cousins. And Uncles. 5 years changes people… and it was super cool to get to know my aunts as adults or fit into the life of my cousins, like Morgan (I stayed with the Marshalls), if only for a breath. Same with the Pedersons, it was awesome to spend time with them all as well, it had been forever since I had seen most of them.

6. Hiking. I wanted to get out and do more but being a visitor in your hometown is difficult and I find a whole week can pass just sitting on my butt visiting. It’s NOT a bad thing, but the day that Darcy and I went on a walk near the Silvern Lakes trail was the best.

5. Derek and Billy. I never knew how close (bordering awkward) those two are and they made me laugh the whole week I was there with their crib tournament, efforts to find Billy a job, and all around ridiculousness. On my last night they recorded themselves rapping a myriad of videos and they rapped one about Darcy, Auntie Carolene, Mallory, and I (who were eating ice cream downstairs). I wish they would let me have/post the video but they didn’t like that idea. Anyways, the line about me went something like this:

“Kate Stam, why are you even here?
You’re how old, still no career?

Your Civic blows,
I can go faster than it on my tippy toes”

And Mallory’s:

“We don’t have much time to talk about Mallory
Go to the gym, BURN SOME CALORIES!”

Hilarious. Ask them to see it.

4. Old friends. Period. Like Michael or Eric.. It takes a little bit sometimes but you find your way, some little way, to connect with eachother again. And new friends too.

3. Getting my car cleaned. Period. ๐Ÿ˜‰ They treated Bella like the princess she is.

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2. Going out to the farm. The farm always feels like my home away from home and I missed it. And I even got to go TWICE. Seems like a tease though, I don’t think I can ever get enough of my Uncle Orv’s wisdom and encouragement. Among all the other fun things about being there.

1. That no matter how stupid and frustrating it is to have BOTH front tires pop in Williams Lake and be delayed almost three hours of my drive home, a week in Smithers is exhausting, overwhelming, awesome, and busy… in the best way possible. Hopefully it won’t be another 2.5 years til I am back? ๐Ÿ™‚ Fun, I recommend it.

Here’s some more:

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And just because they might be new readers:

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(Sorry, I am no Lucy when it comes to pictures so I have about 45 of Riley and Amya at lunch, and then never took anymore… I am not used to having a camera so I am a disappointment, I realize that now looking at these pictures. OH WELL)


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thoughts

Just wanted to give a shout out to my older brother — I was blasting the Barenaked Ladies yesterday afternoon on my iPod before going to MEC to buy a coat. Needless to say, MEC and Barenaked Ladies has Adrian written all over it…I felt ALMOST like he was there with me.

I went to Beacon Hill Park today for the first time in ten years. There were ducks that we threw pinecones at and then like last Sunday, I fell down again on our way to the ocean. I need to stop moving.

First final exam tomorrow. Awesome.

On a diff. note, here’s a good song — it’s so good. It’s Coldplay’s “Lost” remix with Jay-Z.


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my nana

"Love, and say it with your life."

"Love, and say it with your life."

Life comes at you so fast sometimes, it’s hard to catch your breath when it is all said and done. A number of weeks ago, Nana had an open heart surgery here in Victoria and her recovery period has made me learn things and appreciate more about her.

A couple weeks ago, I spent the whole day with her and she was the best that day than I had seen her since the surgery and it was amazing. From heated discussions (and I mean really, really heated) about President Obama and all things politics, God and trust, family, heart aches for home, my future, and just the occasional flip to ‘Price is Right’ on the TV, I’ve felt like I truly have gotten to know her over the last few weeks, connect with her…particularly that day, and it was a total God-thing.

For example, did you know that Nana’s dream to have a large family (9 kids!) started during the WW2 era when she was working in a orphaned children’s home? The home was atop a large hill and when storms hit, the children would gather into her bed in her room of this house and they would wait out the crashes of thunder and lightning together. It was with this piled of children in her bed that she started to dream of having some of her own. And it was so neat to hear her explain it and to see her eyes as she remembered those days for me.

When I asked her which one of her grandkids she thought would have the most kids of their own, she kind of blushed and said ‘I don’t know’… yet those of us in the room settled on Stef. hehe ๐Ÿ™‚

Nana is a superhero because she delivered my mom on her own in the little old cabin they lived in. She’s also a superhero because she’s the greatest prayer warrior I know and ever will know. She can name all of us grandkids, greatgrandkids, in-laws, and others by name and prays for each of us all of the time, everyday, with no question that Jesus hears her.

One of Nana’s closest friends is one of my closest friend’s mom. Somehow that gives us something to talk about when there’s not really much to say. It makes me wish sometimes that the four of us could hang out together, drinking espresso and hearing more stories. Or that I could just hang out with Nana and have nothing to say at all.

I watched a movie recently that strongly portrayed life and love. I left the theatre coming undone at the power of both of those things. For life is meant to be lived, literally, yet what is it without love? Any kind of love. Of lovers or friends or children or sunsets or passions or desires or whatever. Each cord of life has tremendous beauty and intricacy that love has to find its way there. Otherwise, what is the point?

Nana, with her stubbornness and age, sense of humour and quiet calm, reverent faith, experience and bravery, gentleness and mercifulness, grace and perserverance… somehow recaptured my heart in the moments of transferred care: I got to look after her. And in some small way, God was whispering that life has come full circle and He is to be truly and miraculously celebrated in this. I know that it was hard for her to be dependent on us for awhile, but I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. I am sure I could talk myself in circles over this, but I just learnt a pretty valuable lesson through spending time, and remembering, with my Nana… she has the connected life and love way of doing things figured out. I hope that I inherited some of that in myself. And I sure don’t mind being her prayer warrior for a change; it’s really too bad that she got better and had to go back to Smithers! ๐Ÿ™‚


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jingle all the way…to 2009

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The tree!

christmas-holidays-2008-09-014Mom’s ‘Wilderness Family’ dreams coming true.

christmas-holidays-2008-09-017My ‘wannabe Rider-fan’ dreams coming true (gift from Mark).

christmas-holidays-2008-09-022Nathan and Marli.

christmas-holidays-2008-09-041My beautiful home. The snow you see is the part of the lake that froze over.

christmas-holidays-2008-09-002More of that.

christmas-holidays-2008-09-077My GORGEOUS little sister when we went up to Apex Village to skate.

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Dad.

christmas-holidays-2008-09-111Nothing like showing up to play games when the hostess is in her PJs.

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Her daughter was too. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Playing ‘Wizard’.

christmas-holidays-2008-09-126Awesome.

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Puzzling and snacking. Typical

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Trying to maneouver our new cameras.

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Working hard…hardly working! I worked for the two weeks I was home at the RD.

christmas-holidays-2008-09-096I stayed an extra day to help clean up and get in some more moments of precious visiting. Christmas was a ‘smashing’ success…evident by Jayme smashing the gingerbread house down.

Followed by a hilarious evening of Jayme and I… and mostly my DAD on pins and needles as we watched ‘Nancy Drew’. Dad even made us PAUSE it while he took a packing break.

Happy ’09 my friends… I pray this will be THE year…for receiving everything we hope and wish and work for. Accompanied by an abundance of grace and peace.

Cheers!


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a wanna be groupie

My cousin Taylor has recently uploaded some music on myspace and I am doing some familial marketing on his behalf:

http://www.myspace.com/taylorsimps

He doesn’t know I am doing this, so forgive me buddy if you’d like me to take this off I will, but I am thoroughly in love with his sound and I think “what better way to show him than my blog?”

My favourite tune is “Miss You” and when I went for ice cream today with some friends, I was singing a bit of it just to myself (as I tend to do when people are trying to tell me something and I’ve spaced out)… and two of the girls asked me what it was. So there. Not only does he sound great, but his songs stick in my head as only a few people do… which ranks him up there with Matt Wertz, Dave Matthews, and Kate Voegele… hehe.

What ranks him even higher in my mind is that he has written these songs… amazing.

So check. Him. Out.

Cheers!


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what a steal

Meg, this is for you: I was in Kelowna today shopping with Mom and Jayme and naturally had to go into RW & Co. Not only did I find some awesome work shirts… but I found a JACKET for $19.95… originally $108.00!!! Can you believe it? It’s kind of like a trench coat (not really) but it’s black, goes to mid thigh, and super classy…and for $20!!

ALso, my cleanse is going great — I cheated once and ate a cookie at work. Not too stressful. But I feel fantabulous.


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to wish impossible things

“The stars in the sky illuminate below,
The light is the sign that love will guide you home.”

Nathan, my brother, got into a car accident today. He’s okay, aside from being quite shaken up, so are the other two guys that were in the car with him and so is the driver of the vehicle he hit.

He has had his ‘N’ since March and is an excellent driver. He pulled out a little bit past the stop sign and couldn’t see anyone coming so he made the turn and turned into a van. He just made a little bit of a mistake.
See ever since I got home, Nate has been driving the Nissan Sentra that I’ve been driving the last three years at school. And for the three years before that, Jes drove it. And she started driving it after Nana gave it to us after her many years of driving it. This white, rusted, rickety old car has a legacy not only within our family, but all of our family. So for the past month, he has replaced the brakes and some filter thing and done a ton of work on it, all by himself. The little beater quickly became a labour of love and it was pretty cool watching him driving it like nobody’s business because it reminded me of my grade 11 year and driving the Volkswagen Beetle to school and being invincible. At least feeling so.

Either way, I just hurt for him today because while he had, quite possibly, one of his first real tastes of fear, all of his hard work in a few short weeks came to a flying halt — the car is beyond repair, some call it a “write off”, and it has been a surprisingly sad little evening knowing that the Sentra is off the road for good. And it is totally unfair and sucky (for lack of a better word, honestly) that Nathan has to go through this. Even though there is a lesson in here somewhere, sometimes finding it is pretty annoying. Coupled with the fact that the Stams seem to have the absolute worst luck with vehicles in the history of anyone, I wish for a break for everyone — is that too impossible? Poor guy.

I bet Scott is secretly smiling that it won’t be parked by the Rutherford house anymore, though.


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not for the faint of heart, mind…or stomach

Spoiler Alert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!: This post is disgusting. However, now that I have access to a digital camera, I can post pictures. And tonight was in full need of photographic documentation.

DISCLAIMER: I work for the regional government and consulted with both our environmental coordinator, pest control, and the guy who I have a crush on (he knows about these things, so I needed advice). Ergo, everything you see here is completely legal, legitimate, and not, I repeat NOT, interrupting the circle of life or interfering with the natural vegetation of our area/property or the Okanagan Valley as a whole. So please refrain from calling me an animal killer or inhumane, because this is completely condoned and done by actual contractors within our RD and municipalities. There is a bylaw too but I am not going to scan it on here, just take my word for it.

BACKGROUND: We have a pool in the back yard which is a God-send in the 40 degree weather during the summer months. After slaving over cleaning it and filling it, there is a type of black bird (Starling — “Starlings are very aggressive and will drive native birds out of their territory.They often gather in the tens of thousands, creating a nuisance when roosting in populated areas”) that use the pool (and now the pool cover) for their bathroom. So after scooping and pressure washering and everything else, they don’t leave. In fact, they are nuisance birds that scare away all of the other birds and “wildlife” that habitat here, especially orchards/vineyards (like the one we live on). And a few years ago, our pond was filled in so the guy at work detected that theses birds now use our pool as their “pond” because the other one is gone. Anyways, if it’s not the pool, it’s our vehicles. It’s absolutely disgusting. Below, the picture shows a SAMPLING of what the ENTIRE pool cover looks like, it’s covered, and what the entire bottom of the pool looks like too:
Stupid Birds

SO with the go ahead from coworkers and the law, we have to call the conservation officers who will catch and poison the birds — so they will be killed anyways — because they are interrupting the life balance here. But we’re also allowed to shoot them with pellet guns and slingshots:

That’s Nathan, John, and Riley.

And by golly, they made an example of the little hideous monster:

This is all that’s left of the little guy:

This is what’s left of the crew:

I consider this a pure example of problem-solvers 101. Want to come for a swim?? We’re ready to go!


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out of the mouths of…

Two best things I heard in the last 24 hours:

1. Jayme: Hey guys, guess what I learned about today at school?

Mom/Me: What?

Jayme: The Male Reproductive System. The boys were pretty embarrassed.

Me: Well, What did you learn?

Jayme: Eww, Kate, I don’t want to talk about it!

[awwkward. Heavy on the ‘aww’]

2. Jes: Yea so last night we went for dessert at [some friends] house. [All the people] there had kids or newborns. Mark and I were the only dinks there. It was interesting.

Me: Dinks?

Jes: Yea, dinks. That’s what people call us here — Double Income No Kids.

[I died. I absolutely died.]