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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props to my pops

My dad is a rockstar. I don’t know if you know him, but underneath his harrowing, intense stare and his fridge-like body type, one that you wouldn’t mess with, is a heart of both beauty and bravery… where he is willing to enter into the depths of the most difficult and grueling and challenging test in the history of all competitions. He’s a risk taker, resilient, flexible, committed, and an overall genuinely good sport. SO here’s the stage:

Dad (also goes by Jackie, Papa Gee-Joe, ‘the Hammer’, my bff, etc) is the most brutal critic of his most favourite Christmas treat of all time: peanut brittle. In fact, it’s quite possibly the only thing that I know of that my mom cannot make the best in his mind. For a lifetime, he has loved (as we all do) my Auntie Tanya’s brittle… so much in fact that Dad gets his very own massive tin of it for Christmas every year.

Following?

This year, in the snowy little oasis of Armena, AB, my dear reserved, gentle, wonderful sister Jes decided to get aggressive and make her own brittle to see how it would measure up against our biggest problem: Dad’s taste buds. Upon tasting it Dad felt that Jes’ set, although very airy, was a little overcooked.

Not to be discouraged, we decided that it was time for Dad to stop talking so much about peanut brittle like he’s a connoisseur of the stuff and prove, once and for all, that his aversion to anything but Tanya’s brittle was simply based on taste. Here in lies the challenge:

Christmas Day, Dad is blindfolded by one of Jayme’s new scandalously fashionable scarves (thanks Jayme). We lined up 5 types of peanut brittle in front of the challenger and in something slightly resembling Iron Chef, Dad, the food critic that he is, hunkered down to decide what was his favourite peanut brittle.

The choices were:

1. Carol Simpson (so Uncle Chuck’s ma)
2. Auntie Tanya
3. Jes
4. Store Bought

We didn’t have any of my Mom’s, thankfully. It was delicious, but that would’ve brought far too much bias. He picked Auntie Tanya’s in the end so at least he’s consistent. Oh well. Jes put up the good fight — he said her peanut brittle “floats” in his mouth… whatever that means.

Here’s some photos of the scariness than ensued:

'talking the talk'

the battleground

the warrior - preparing to fight - with his pallet cleanser of milk

assessing, critiquing, peanut-brittle snobbing

spectator - not into it

justifying

graciously losing

ok maybe a little into it

'alright champ, it goes like this..."

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mom went digital

Christmas was such a treat this year. It felt like I experienced all four seasons in the last week — leaving a very mild Victoria behind for an even milder Penticton and as we made our way to cold, snowy Alberta, the temperatures outside dropped and my internal temperature rose — I couldn’t wait to meet my nephew. Arriving in Camrose late Wednesday night, Weston was still awake in his Mama’s arms. Let me tell you, he does not disappoint! The next few days were locked in Jes and Mark’s beautiful, cozy home, relaxing and quiet as we spent time sharing and visiting and playing… while Wes went from one set of eager arms to another. I don’t have my camera cord with me so pictures will have to wait but my goodness, I never thought I could love a little person like that. We are blessed.

One of the most entertaining moments was my Mom’s reaction to my Dad’s Christmas gift to her — a Nikon D90 digital camera. For those of you who don’t know, my mom is the lady with the camera attached to her hands but is so in love with her current film Nikon, coupled with the daunting learning curve that comes with going digital, she’s never made the switch. Until now. It was so awesome! My Dad delights in not telling us what he’s buying mom for Christmas so it’s always a treat for everyone — unless you’re one of the kids who helps him with the picking of the gift (in this case, Nate). So I think half the fun for him is watching all of our own jaws drop! AnywaY (that’s for Chrissy), this camera takes the most beautiful pictures and I rarely heard the whirr of the film winding of her old Nikon in the three days I was there. RIP, old friend.

Unfortunately for me, my own beloved toy cost me a pretty penny today so rather than kicking her in the behind, I am blogging about it. Bella, my car, got herself a new water pump, timing belt, and numerous other belts today… much to my chagrin. I noticed a few weeks ago that something was leaking from it. After consulting the men in my life, it was determined that the coolant was the culprit. My Dad and brother in law reminded me that it was last Christmas when Honda told me the water pump had a hole in it. I guess it was only a matter of time… pray that my faith in my Bella is restored, right now I just see a large, inflated dollar sign hovering above her hood. Aww, well. I’ll just go curl up on the couch with my new poetry book and snuggle in with my pyrex dishes… we’re in love already and they aren’t even out of the package.

Other notables: I miss Alberta… the snow and the cold and the frosty cheeks…the fireplace and the company and the memories. I am more than ok with moving back. In fact, I fell in love with Cochrane on our way through it. Fun. PS Jes and Mark — thanks for the awe-some hospitality, I sure missed your company and friendship. Also, I think being in Victoria is much too far from Weston. I don’t know how I could describe him completely so you’ll just have to take my word for it — he’s the most adorable and content and strong little baby I have ever met. His life is going to be so much fun to witness!

As for me, I am back in Penticton and working for the next few days before heading back to the coast. It’ll be pretty quiet as I am home alone (Mom and Jay went to Smithers from AB). But it’ll be nice… I am none too anxious to get back to school — in three short months I will be teaching and I am oddly terrified. Looking back on 2009, I remember saying “this is it. this is going to be my year.” I don’t know exactly what I meant by that, often ideas form on my lips before I even staturate in them, but if my year meant gaining a nephew, graduating with a degree, realizing my massively huge dream of becoming a teacher, and creating relationships to last a lifetime… then my list of resolutions for 2010 might be exactly the same — not items to change, but blessings to hope and be thankful for.

Cheers!


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being aunt kater

I became an auntie this past week… for real! It was awesome. It IS awesome. What a lesson in patience though as we all waited by our respective cell phones to hear the news. I think I was utterly useless for three days as I prayed and wondered and hoped that my dear sister’s (the warrior woman she is) babe would arrive and thus, the wait — her wait — would be over. He’s such a sweetheart, baby Weston, but could being so far away stink any more? Probably not.

I think this lesson of patience and trust is only going to deepen and continue as the weeks or months pass before I get to meet him. Why did I ever leave Cal-gary, I have no idea… 🙂

Anyways, cute and perfect doesn’t describe him. From the few photos I’ve seen, I think that little man is a much more handsome heart-stealer than the rest of the guys in the world combined. There is a picture frame I’ve seen that says something like “all of God’s grace in one little face” and the perfect beauty of that baby is the greatest gift of love that I can think of to date that shows that God knows exactly what He’s doing.

I wrote the babe a letter a few months ago (found here) and the only thing I would add to it is: don’t grow up too quickly — since I clearly can’t get there fast enough!

Any ideas on how to get through this time of separation? Please, help me.

 

xox sweet one.