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grandma

My Grandma died today.

We found out she had developed cancer at the end of February at which time it was thought she had 6 months to a year. But then, only a month later, she took a drastic turn for the worse and for the last 3 weeks or so has been living in a hospice in Regina surrounded by family who wanted nothing more than for her suffering to stop.

Today, it finally did. And I am so, SO sad. And so, SO relieved.

Grandma… is amazing. She just turned 90 in November and we threw a big party for her in Regina. I’m so happy she had that party and all those people surrounding her with love before she went downhill. One of the greatest experiences of that weekend was sitting in her living room watching her and my Dad play music together. She was so happy, always so happy, to play the piano. Especially when she had someone to play with or teach. She had perfect piano fingers and I’ve been told that when I was born she was happy to see that it looked like I had them too. Unfortunately, I never had the patience to learn when she tried to teach me but I always LOVED her piano.

I got to spend some really great quality time with her last summer when I went to Saskatchewan for jen’s wedding. It was so nice to hang out with her, just the two of us, for the first time a long time. We sat at her kitchen table and talked about… everything. We went to visit my Grandpa’s grave in Weyburn. We looked through her current journal which documented everything she deemed important to her and her family from 1979 to the week before (including a note about my visit to her that weekend).

When Grandma found out Josh and I were moving to Vancouver she was SO EXCITED. She and Grandpa had lived here during WWII when Grandpa took a job building planes. They rented part of a house in Kitsilano and when Grandpa had to go to California for his job she stayed at the house and continued going to work, taking the streetcar, to the Bank of Montreal on Hastings and Main everyday. Even then it wasn’t a great area (she often had to step over drunk sailors on her way into the building in the morning and the women had to go for lunch in groups for safety) but she really enjoyed her job. And she loved Vancouver. We had many conversations about this town and how she spent her time, what she remembered, what’s changed. After the war they moved back to Saskatchewan, but she always hoped she would be able to come back here.

Growing up I got to spend a lot of time with Grandma and Grandpa since they lived in Lethbridge, just two hours from us in Calgary. More Christmases were spent there than not, along with countless weekends, and other holiday visits. My room was always the TV room connected to the back deck on the pull out couch next to the bookshelf full of family photo albums. She was meticulous with her albums. Whenever we arrived she could always be counted on to meet us at the door with a big smile and a hug and question about how hungry we were (“Do you want a ham bun? Everything’s in the fridge!”). The house was cozy and homey and perfectly suited to them.

When Grandpa died 5 years ago, Grandma decided it was time to move back to Saskatchewan which was the absolute right decision. It’s where most of her family and friends live, including my uncle and three cousins and their families, all of which are just minutes away from her condo. Even though she didn’t have Grandpa anymore she had love in her life every single day. It didn’t really surprise any of us when she decided she wanted to buy a condo instead of moving into a partial assisted living situation. This woman… independence defined. And such a perfect grandmother. When you picture what a Grandma should look like… she was it. Small and cute and smiling with her perfectly curled hair and always put together in nice sweaters and slacks, puttering around her kitchen (“You want a ham bun?”). Always honest (sometimes too honest when you’re a teenager with bad skin and a little extra weight), never afraid to tell you what she thought (she didn’t always think highly of my choice of boyfriends but I got a whispered “You did good!” accompanied with a fervent arm squeeze when she met Josh the first time) and never really caring what anyone thought of her.

To know my Grandma was to love her. Impossible not to. I had her in my life for almost 30 years and I’m going to miss her unbelievably. But at the same time I’m so happy that she isn’t suffering anymore and she can hang out with Grandpa again. It was time.

Bye Grandma. I love you.

7

It has been exactly 7 years (7 years!) since Josh and I started dating, and in exactly 1 year and 10 days we will be married in Ucluelet, BC in the company of our closest family and friends. It will be perfect.

He’s a goof, but he’s my goof, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

totally normal, nothing to see here

it seems appropriate

…that my first post since April’s tribute to my relationship with Josh would be about this.

WE’RE ENGAGED!

Holy crap, holy crap, holy crap.

I’ve thought about it off and on over the years, but for the most part I’ve been pretty indifferent to the idea of marriage. We already live together, our money is separate and will stay that way, I wouldn’t change my name. What’s the point? There is no point!

Except.

I’m not sure when exactly it happened, but I started changing my mind. And then at Christmas, during a random conversation with friends, I declared “Yeah, I totally want to get married.” And surprised myself as much as Josh who responded with, “I was always told I wasn’t allowed!”

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I was mildly obsessed with this new idea. Luckily for me, Josh has been on board with it for years and was just waiting for me to figure out that I was being silly. So when I started conspiring with Miranda to let Josh know just how serious this was for me all it really accomplished was them, in turn, conspiring against me. Ha!

I knew that Josh wouldn’t exactly enjoy ring shopping and I really didn’t know what I wanted so I went online to look at photos of rings to figure out what style to start with. And promptly found the perfect ring for a really great price. So I forwarded the link to Miranda who told me that she would send it to Josh and talk to him for me. (by the way, I realize that all that makes me seem extremely ridiculous, but I didn’t want to end up with Josh and I just deciding that we were getting married – I’m not super traditional, but I’m definitely traditional enough to want a proposal. anyways.) So Miranda did just that and as far as I knew, Josh had received the message but wasn’t doing anything with it. At all. Every impression I got was that he wasn’t thinking about this right now. Especially after he got laid off (oh yeah, Josh’s job laid him off a couple weeks ago which is really quite awesome seeing as he wanted to leave anyways and his severance is good enough that he can take his time finding something new). So I got increasingly mopey and pathetic and downright slap-worthy.

Meanwhile!

Basically the day after Miranda sent Josh the ring link he did a bunch of research on it, figured out that it really was an amazing ring at an amazing price and ordered it (getting it shipped to M&R’s place seeing as shipping it to my work wasn’t an option). Then he just had to wait and figure out the proposal. He also spent some time calling both my parents, which I really absolutely didn’t expect and was so thrilled to find out, and letting his own family know what his plans were.

Which brings us to this past Saturday, February 5. I slept in and had plans in the evening, but it was a beautiful afternoon and Josh suggested that we go outside and do something (“Horseshoe Bay, Lighthouse Park, Whytecliff, something like that”). This wasn’t out of the ordinary at all, we do this often and I thought absolutely nothing of it. I didn’t even bother showering. So away we went to Whytecliff Park (one of my very most favourite places in Vancouver) to enjoy the sun. And it was absolutely glorious. From the herd of seals playing around in the bay to the perfect late afternoon sunlight, it was just a really great way to spend an afternoon.

And then.

Josh: You’re not going to bug me about marriage today, are you?
Me: *sigh* No… I won’t… *pouty von pouter*
Josh: *pulls ring box out of pocket* Do you mind if I bug you about marriage today?
Me: !!!
Josh: Is that a yes then?
Me: Yes!

Therein followed a lot of speechless staring and unintelligible talking during which time I got a little teary and Josh may have gotten some dust in his eyes while we looked at my perfect ring and reveled in how much we really and truly love each other.

I have to say, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect proposal. I really couldn’t. There was no bended knee. There was not even a “will you marry me”. What there was was a surprised girl and a nervous boy and a GoPro camera to capture the moment (which the girl didn’t even know was around until she saw the captures later). There was a conspiracy within a conspiracy in order to ensure that I was well and truly surprised and it worked unbelievably well.

Later that night we made all our important phone calls (parents first followed by the rest of the family and our closest friends) and announced our news on twitter and facebook which exploded for a full day afterwards. We’ve started figuring the basics of what we want our wedding to be and are excited to get going on planning. But even more than that, we’re just really excited.

After nearly 7 years of having a boyfriend I now have a FIANCE. And then I’ll have a HUSBAND. You guys, that is so weird and so awesome.

oh so surprised!

sparkly!

oh man, so pretty

6

Yesterday Josh and I passed the 6 year mark of “us”. Shan and Josh. Josh and Shan.  

It was a good day. We spent it together being productive, getting ready for our trip to Thailand next week (!). Last weekend, for the long weekend, we spent 3.5 days driving up and down the Oregon coast, ending with a day and night in Portland. It was an excellent way for us to spend some time, just us. And SO beautiful, holy crap. I am officially smitten with Oregon.

In thinking about our anniversary this year, I realized that we’ve also crossed over the 3 year mark living in Vancouver. Which means that we’ve been together longer in Vancouver than we were in Calgary. Which weirds me out because before we moved it seemed like we’d been together for a LONG time. But it wasn’t even 3 years. That’s kind of nuts (if you’re me, otherwise it is less than insignificant).

So anyways, our 6th year has been a good one. Extremely eventful. Overall pretty kick ass. And while we didn’t do anything especially for it (the Oregon trip was more cause we had a long weekend and it was about damn time I did that drive), I’m still really happy. Plus, last year was the milestone, the big 5 years. So here! Take a look at our celebration from last year! I’ve already posted this once but I love it so and think you should watch it again. PS, have I mentioned that I love Reilly and Miranda for doing this for us last year? Cause I do. I really, really do.


Photos: Blue Olive Photography. Music: “Swing Life Away” by Rise Against.

what you didn’t see


originally uploaded by tryllbee

I was in the Olympics Closing Ceremony. I swear I was! You just didn’t see it!

For whatever reason, the live CTV coverage didn’t show what my group was doing in the ceremony at all. That’s fine, we put on a good show for the people who were in the audience and I’m hoping that we get a bit of coverage in the edited version that will pop up on Video on Demand in the next day or so.

What you didn’t see was approximately 370 hip hop dancers in brightly coloured hoodies and toques, splattered with black light reflective paint, dancing in the aisles on the first level of seating. We came down from the second level screaming and partying right after k-os finished his performance and were there to highlight what the centre performers (AMAZING b-boys and hip hoppers one of which, Jheric, is one of my regular teachers and the choreographer for the whole hip hop section. Yay Jheric!) were doing. And to make the audience feel like they were right there with us. Because they were! They were sitting right next to us, less than a foot away! And loving every minute of it!

And, quite literally, we CLOSED THE SHOW. We danced, threw our Peace signs to the world and that was it. The show was done and we were running back up to where we came from. That’s AMAZING. What’s even more amazing is the fact that, for the first time in Olympics history, hip hop was incorporated into a ceremony. It’s a big part of the fabric of any urban culture, and Vancouver was the first city to finally bring it to the front. That’s huge and so incredible.

My whole Ceremony experience was absolutely unforgettable. I’m so happy and so proud of all the work we and every other performer, volunteer, production crew, artistic crew, catering, janitorial, the works accomplished. It was a giant daunting task and we pulled it off and I’m so happy with how it turned out. I don’t even mind that the artists that were picked to perform in the concert section weren’t what most Canadians would have chosen first. I understand why they were, though. Those that were asked to perform are, for the most part, Canadians who have made it worldwide. They are known internationally and they come from Canada. What’s not to be proud of in that? They may not be your personal taste, but they worked hard and they made it and have helped put Canada on the map. And that’s cool.

Also cool? Seeing it all (or, some of it anyways) from behind the scenes.

Waiting outside the large loading door at the back of BC Place for our turn to be let in, only to see thousands of twinkling red and white lights and Alanis Morrisette singing beautifully from the bottom of the ramp where the athletes walk in when that door did open. Cheering for the red and white snowboard kids when they came back to the holding area across the street after watching what they created on the TVs set up for us while we waited. Getting photos taken with all the Mounties and hockey players and lumberjacks and explorers while we waited for our turn. Sharing the gold medal moment with 2000 fellow performers glued to those previously mentioned TVs, jumping on chairs and hugging and screaming and singing Oh Canada. Listening to the prompts those same fellow performers were getting during their sections on the headsets we all wore and knowing they were killing it out there. Waving to Michael Buble as he drove past us in a golf cart following his performance, looking sharp in his white tux. Knowing the William Shatner was going to be involved and not being able to tell any of my uber-nerdy friends about it. Seeing more than one of the concert acts perform to a nearly empty stadium during dress rehearsal. Getting told to “Make way for the moose!” during our first BC Place rehearsal as the giant moose were being manhandled through to their storage areas, squishing us (laughing hysterically) against the walls. And so much more.

It was all such a special experience. And kind of unreal that I’d been rehearsing since December and then, once our 2 minute piece of choreography was performed, it was done. And I think we did ourselves proud.