Erin's Journal

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Just a thought... A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself. [Jim Morrison]

Ah, the long weekend has arrived after what, for many, felt like one of the longest weeks of the year! Thousands upon thousands of flight cancellations across Canada and the US, havoc on the roads, school cancellations and more. What a nightmare! And while I settle in at home and try to get used to all of this snow (which has far surpassed the February record in Victoria, set back when World War II was still raging), I've got a fireplace, my own bed and a bathtub that I plan to spend lots of time in. 
 
There's plenty to reflect upon and look forward to in the quiet of home today. The old saying "Don't be sorry it's over, be glad it happened" couldn't be more true. Even saying good-bye to Palm Springs yesterday, as I took off from one of the sweetest partially open-air terminals anywhere, was not accompanied by a sense of loss or sadness. That's because our next adventure is just about to begin!
 
This is the first year that British Columbia has lined up with other provinces marking Family Day weekend; we were one week earlier until 2019. So I won't be providing a journal here on Monday, also because Rob is on the road tomorrow with Molly, heading north through snow and rain to get back home to me. He thanks you for understanding.
 
I was fortunate last night to be met at my flight by a couple who have kept the home fires burning (quite literally) as well as the driveway shovelled during our absence. Melanie and Fred live in Calgary and Mel is the niece of good friends on the island. When the opportunity arose for them to escape the frigid temperatures and daunting snow accumulations in Alberta, they happily agreed to stay at our place, collecting mail, keeping it in order and eliminating any worries we had about leaving our house empty for three months.
 
What they didn't count on was the record amount of snow. Good thing they're not paying or someone might be demanding a refund!
 
Today, they're heading home while I run some errands and get my act together for the road trip that begins next week in Ontario. The house will be eerily quiet, I'm sure, but I'll take that time to do some more writing, and start piling clothes and things I'll need (including winter wear) for our journey. There is just so much to look forward to, and right at the top of the list is a three-day visit with our son-in-law, his wife and little Colin. We can't wait!
 
So, a few reflections on having guests visiting us in the south over the past three months. We were so excited to be able to invite people to a place where they could enjoy a respite from winter, while also reconnecting with us. Kind of a two-for-one deal, wouldn't you say?
 
Our friends were all flexible and understanding when work beckoned; the past couple of weeks, Rob has been unusually anti-social (or so you would think, if you didn't get us) as he sat, headphones on, toiling on our audio book. I'll fill you in on some of the challenges involved there, perhaps next week. He sent off the finished product on Wednesday, barely two weeks after getting word that HarperCollins was indeed interested in the audio book. (I'm not sure how or when the book is going to be sold in that form, but I'll keep you posted here, I promise.)
 
Because we were hosting, we had to immerse ourselves a little more deeply, a little more quickly, in life in our area. We got to visit the famous Aerial Tramway, tried out a few restaurants and chose some fast favourites, took a few scenic drives, got caught in rains of monsoon strength that tore off a protective shield under our car, and even did a bit of cycling and hiking.
 
We swam, we laughed, we ate fruit from citrus trees in the neighbourhood, we sat out by a fire pit and we made use of the hot tub. Keeping the pool at a bath-like 86F cost us more than almost any other expense (other than rent) this winter, but it was totally worth it. Otherwise, it just would have sat there; I know myself that well.
 
I wish I could say I was coming back fitter and thinner than when I left, but having company makes you eat more meals (and dine out more often) than you would at home. But that's why my yoga pants have been such comfy go-to this winter. Now, I'm switching them out for pantyhose and tights for cooler temps, but my goodness, how am I ever going to get back in heels after Skechers, slippers and flip flops? I guess there will be some clomping around the empty house in tighter shoes in the week ahead....
 
Our guests were generous and brought gifts, treated us to meals, bought groceries and pitched in with laundry and cleaning. We couldn't have asked for more. Our friends Lisa and Derek even brought a massive package of toilet paper (the GOOD STUFF ) when they drove down in our MINI! If that isn't friendship, well, I don't know what is. I'd be lying if I said I didn't think of them whenever I used it, although that may really be TMI!
 
Here's to friends that are like family - the ones you love to see arrive and hate to see leave. I wish you a weekend that is cozy and filled with the love that everyone was extolling on Thursday. Because the love of good friends who are there for you truly is priceless. Take good care and I'll be back with you on Tuesday.
 
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