…I was hiking the Skookumchuck Trail on the Sunshine Coast with my boyfriend, Wayne, wondering which pocket of his my engagement ring was hidden in. I, who had known for a month that the rings were bought and this trip was planned to facilitate a proposal of the nuptial variety, had carefully applied a little mascara and lip gloss, knowing that at the end of the trail, in front of the swirling rapids, a photo would be taken to commemorate our new status as fiancé/fiancée.
The poor guy thought he was so slick, and to this day tries his darndest to make surprises, well, surprises. It doesn’t usually work (like the time he bought me diamond earrings for Christmas on our joint VISA, then threatened to return them because the surprise was ruined when I looked at the statement).
But today, it worked. The man of my dreams, who is stuck in Quebec and has much more stressful things to worry about, had his father deliver flowers to my office to commemorate that moment three years ago. The card reads: “Remember the Skookumchuck. Love always, Wayne.”
Life only gets better. What a prince! Happy (engagement) anniversary, Wayne!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Today was my first Remembrance Day wearing not only a poppy, but the Military Families of Canada pin. As I watched the parade come down the street to the tune of the bagpipes and saw the flags waving to the rythym of the synchronized march, I couldn't have been more proud to now officially be a part of this special celebration. I can't imagine what it feels like to have lived through WWI - the end of which is the reason we celebrate Remembrance Day. Hopefully, I'll never know what living in war feels like. However, for those who do, I now have a glimpse into the past and can see just a touch of how the families of these valiant men must have felt 90 years ago today, when the Armistice was signed and the Canadians took part in the triumphant entry into Mons, Belgium. While I watched, hoping never to have to experience that for myself, many stood there simply thankful to have seen their loved ones survive.
When the Girl Guides arrived in the field, I had a flashback: I was 10 years old again, wearing my blue Girl Guide dress and hat and tights, with my winter coat over top. I remember standing there for what seemed like hours (though it was barely one) in the rain and the cold, not able to see through the grown-ups in front of me to the riser where the speaker stood. We sang O Canada and God Save the Queen and "Taps." I never fully understood what it was we were honouring - some old men and women who wanted to lay wreaths on a stone? Feet soaked, hair stringy, we'd trudge back to our cars and go home for a hot bath and a tuna melt or some other hot lunch to warm us up. And as soon as we were home, safe in our kitchens, we forgot all about the morningtime, the two minutes of silence, the fly-by, the soldiers.
But now, I remember. Today, I came home to my warm house with my wet and smelly dog, thankful to have a place to call my own, the freedom to live and work and drive a vehicle and cook whatever I find in my fridge. I am thankful to have a husband who had the choice to serve this great country in the Forces - he was not drafted, he didn't have to hide or lie to keep from joining. Thanks to men like our grandfathers and our great-grandfathers, Wayne was given that choice. And to honour them and their sacrifices, he chose the Army life.
Wayne was able to attend their ceremonies today in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and salute the flag during the singing of O Canada, something he'll remember for the rest of his life.
Thank you Grandpa Wood. Thank you, Grandpa Primiani.
Thank you, Wayne.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Our grandparents were...
Hastings and Cambie
Memorial Park South
41st Avenue (2 blocks East of Fraser)
Commercial at Charles
War Memorial Gymnasium
North Vancouver/Lynn Valley
Lonsdale and Keith
Marine Drive at 20th
Willingdon and Pandora
Bennett & Nelson & Imperial
Portier and Winslow
511 Royal Avenue
#3 Road at Granville
Ladner, 47th Street/Delta
Adjacent to Legion Branch 119
Wilson and McAllister
between Lougheed and Dewdney Trunk
224 Street at McIntosh Crescent
2643 128 Street (inside service)
15322 Beuna Vista Avenue
Whalley Legion Branch
Corner of 106th Avenue and 135 A Street
13564 73rd Avenue, Surrey
17710 56A Avenue
Corner of Montrose & Laurel
Langley Branch #21
20702 Eastleigh Crescent
Monday, November 3, 2008
38 days until Wayne graduates. When he comes home, I still don't know. They may release the grads immediately; they may keep them another week for light duty. All I can do is hope for the best but expect the worst.
Sometimes, it feels like he'll walk through the front door. Other times, I feel like my wedding and 2 years of marriage were but a dream. Even seeing him in Montreal for two days was surreal.
My parents recently came into ownership of my grandparents' original wedding and early marriage photo album. These black and white photos, in a used, emerald green, leather-bound book, are so precious. Most of them are dated 1945-1950 and many are in Montreal, where my dad was born. The one photo that really got to me is an image of my recently deceased grandpa (love you, Grandpa) in his Army uniform - going to or coming from battle, I'm not sure - with my uncle John as a baby on his lap, and my stylish nana (then, a real knockout, Ginger Rogers-style!) standing behind him in this incredibly well-tailored women's suit.
One thing I know: when I am standing proud, watching my husband march into the ceremony in his new uniform, gloves, weapon and all, I want to look good. Really good. The way my nana looked in that photo: hair coiffed, lips done, accessories modest but elegant and a smile on my face.
I've decided that this mission calls for:
the ultimate tweed suit.
In the next week or two, I'll be patrolling the local shops, looking for a real knock-em-dead suit that's wearable in a Montreal winter but sexy and conservative at the same time (yes, it can be done!)
So far, other than the image of my nana - and the costume design from every episode of Mad Men on AMC - the photos below are my inspiration:
This one is straight out of the 1940s. Ugh, I was born in the wrong era. Not sure how to walk in snow with pumps, though?
Not a tweed suit, but a business casual take on femininity?
YUMMY. This, I can work with.
***If anyone has suggestions for stores I should check out for these types of styles, please enlighten me! I'm planning to visit:
Dynamite and Zara in Metrotown (if all else fails)