Tag Archives: Christmas

Merry Christmas from Robbin and Co.

The tree is decorated, the cookies are made, the gifts are wrapped; now all that’s left is to wish you a Merry Christmas!

I took this photo above in our front room on one of our rare snowy and chilly nights just days ago.  It looks like Christmas perfection, and luckily my head elf / youngest daughter got us moving towards Christmas this year by picking out the perfect tree, decorating, and even doing a lot of the shopping and wrapping for us!

I’ve been reexamining Christmas and what it means to me, in particular as our world changes so rapidly around us. Although I was raised Catholic, on the surface Christmas appears to be a day we work towards, to come together and share gifts we’ve purchased or made, and eat, drink and be merry. The time together is the real gift however, and it’s should be done more often. I am grateful that Christmas gets us all together, but I am becoming more of the mindset to just leave all the present shopping for birthdays!

Photo: Christmas 2015 at Tohni's house... (Jackie, Tohni, Patrick, Brian, Nathen, Lorraine, Loryn, Mom)
Photo: Christmas 2015 at Tohni’s house… (Jackie, Tohni, Patrick, Brian, Nathen, Lorraine, Loryn, Mom)

My children are all young adults now, and it’s been a long time since I’ve written a Christmas Letter.  This year marks over 5 years that I have been back in Canada after life in The Bahamas, and no regrets. I love being home and I love my country.

My mother Corae has been living with us since September 2015 and all is going well. She turns 83 on December 23rd. For those that do not use Facebook, mom’s become quite the star as I share stories about her under the hashtag #ParentingOurParents.  They are tiny little excerpts of my life as I grapple with trying to be a good daughter, while what seems to be, ‘parenting’ my aging parent.

This year The Bahamas took the brunt of Hurricane Matthew, and I took my ex husband Brian into my home! For those not aware, Brian has Parkinsons, and his health spiraled downhill rather rapidly this summer. He’s been back in Canada since October and although glad to be home, and with family, he has a long road ahead. I’ve been helping him transition back to the real world as he awaits his new healthcare assessments. He’s improved a lot just by being here.

My eldest Loryn (26 years) is now a married working woman, and is speeding through life not only on the snowboarding slopes, but she’s progressing very quickly in her career as a banker. Go see her at HSBC if you are looking to invest.  She and Lorraine (a nurse) have purchased their first home, as well as their first car. The girls live conveniently just down the road from us.

Tohni (now 24 yrs) has been enjoying life in the fast lane and lives in East Vancouver. She’s in a great relationship with Patrick and has been co-managing a fun restaurant called The General Public on Main Street in Vancouver. Do stop in to see her, she’ll give you a super discount. This year Tohni worked her butt off so she could take in as many music festivals as she could over the summer, and traveled a couple times to the USA.

Nathen (22-yrs-old) is studying now at Simon Fraser University and is working at Vision Electronics. Go see him, he’ll also give you a good deal!  While taking on a full course load, he managed to move out last month, so his life is full of responsibility.  He lives just up the hill from us. His present goal is to become a chiropractor like his father, but he said he’ll see how things progress.

Jackie (20-yrs) is the last egg in the nest and has been a huge support around the house with helping take care of her grandmother and father. She’s been working at Dynamite women’s clothing at Coquitlam Centre and is still keeping up as the voice of the ‘community calendar’ on 98.7 FM. She can be heard every hour, on the hour at ckpmfm.com.

As for me, life is full on! I’m still working TheBahamasWeekly.com and this year we celebrated our 10th anniversary. I had hoped to get back for a celebration but the hurricane took care of that.  I’ve taken on several other clients that I do writing or social media work for.

Some 2016 highlights
Some 2016 highlights

This  year I was elected president of the Hoy-Scott Watershed Society which manages a salmon enhancement program in the woods near my house. I love my volunteer work there, and have been furthering the HSWS public relations by building and managing a new website, Youtube and social media accounts. Check us out at hoyscottcreeks.org.

I’ve just completed my first year of dragon boating with the 50+ Nothin’ Dragon Masters, and loved every minute of it.  I raced with the team in 4 or 5 festivals this year, which was very exciting. Our oldest teammate is 80. I’ve also been playing soccer with my daughter Loryn on a Div. 3 team once a week, and it’s special time with her and my favourite game. I took my love for the Coquitlam Crunch, a hiking mountain in our city, to new heights by co-chairing the annual event, the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge, and was featured in the city’s promo video. In fall of this year I joined Ultra Throw, a brand new local club of 20+ athletes training and competing in javelin, shot put, discus, hammer, and weight throwing. In 2017 I will start competing. I am excited (and scared) of this, as competing in sport ‘solo’ is brand new to me.

As for my love life, when a girlfriend from the Bahamas asked if I was dating, I said, “I’m open to it, but any group I join, or people I meet, the guys are either gay, already in relationship or married.” Another girlfriend suggested I join the dating group, “Events and Adventures,” to which I chuckled and replied, “My life is already an event and adventure! I don’t need to pay for it, and I don’t have the time in my schedule.”  Another girlfriend suggested I try online dating. I tried that once – went on one date, and although it was fine (meah), I’ve resolved to waiting to see what life doles out. So yes, I am happy and single.

In 2017 I look forward to keeping my life afloat, and also have some long-range writing goals I hope to get started on if I can find the time!

Below is my interview with Tri-Cities Community TV featured on Shaw TV where I talked about #ParentingOurParents, my salmon work, The Bahamas Weekly, and dragon boating. Click the image to view or HERE.

My interview with Cathy Cena on Tri-Cities Community TV
My interview with Cathy Cena on Tri-Cities Community TV

Whether I’ve seen you this year, or not; whether we only communicate now and again, or via social media; thank you for being in my life.  Have a wonderful holiday season!

Christmas Nostalgia

christmas-3My mother’s smell is the last thing I embrace as I take my excited but weary self off to bed. She’s been in the kitchen all night preparing food for the next day. My home is nothing but Christmas perfection! My mother reigns supreme at creating ambiance. The tree is stunning and the presents at its base come out at least four feet because of our large family of nine persons. Christmas carols play continuously on the stereo. Milk and cookies have been left out for Santa on the dining table.

I’ve just finished watching “Scrooge” on the TV with my older brothers, and although it scares me so, I love it annually. I make my way through the kitchen and into the family room, which is dimly lit to show the tree and lights around the windows. The outside cold is unfelt by me in my cozy home of family memories. I walk past the candy tree – a fantastic favorite each year. Mom chooses just the right branch; sets it into a small pot of soil; sprays it white with paint or artificial snow spray and we get the delight of decorating it with colorful wrapped candies and ribbons.

The coffee table has been covered with red velvet. A huge tray of fruits and nuts looking like a painting from Rembrandt with two pillar candles on either side which light the pages of the bible sitting open to the part that tells of the Virgin Birth.

The organ top is always the place for the nativity scene, but my mother does not just lay our figurines. She creates an entire village on mountains and hills of snow (white tissue).  Lit little homes and the Star of Bethlehem are prominently shining mounted from the wall above. Our stockings are placed on the floor by the tree.

It’s after midnight. I think of “him” as I slip under the heavy quilt and lay my head on my Christmas Dream Pillow – a special pillow slip made with Christmassy motifs for each of us to dream on. As I fall into my sleep I can almost hear those sleigh bells jingling.

The cold wind blows outside, but I am snug in my bed, next to my warm little sister. Then I think about “Him” and say my prayers, and drift off to sleep feeling truly blessed…

(Based on my childhood memories growing up in the prairie province of Alberta, Canada)

Enjoy the Christmas light displays at Trinity Street, Vancouver

My big sister pulled me away from my desk work the other day and on our way into Vancouver for a dinner, she detoured to show me the Trinity Street’s Christmas light display.  I have a friend that used to live on Trinity Street and this annual favourite did not exist like this back then.

When I moved back to Canada in 2011, I noticed a huge decline in Christmas lights.  I’ve seen an increase over the past three years., and I love it.  Seeing Trinity Street was a wonderful treat.

You can vote on Trinity Street Light Festival & Competition for the best light display (House and/or Block) and while doing so, donate $2 to the Harbourside Daycare and Cottage Hospice. The Voting Station is at 2834 Trinity Street.

People are urged to park their cars off Trinity Street, or take transit, and enjoy the lights on foot. It’s the perfect holiday family activity.

Here’s the official Facebook page.

Frosty's House (Photo: Robbin Whachell)
Frosty’s House (Photo: Robbin Whachell)

Marilyn for me…

So I bought this book for him, two Christmases ago.  I finally decided to open it up today and take it out of that sorry, now dusty wrapping paper. This gift has been sitting on his side of the bed against the wall by the night table. Well it was ‘suppose to be ‘his side of the bed,’ but he never showed up…

Why Marilyn? Well his house in Palm Springs is in a retro 50s style. He has a huge print of Marilyn in his kitchen.  He rents his house to tourists when he’s traveling. I figured it would be a great addition to his home.

The last time I was there we went to see the newly placed statue of Marilyn in the center of town. It is fabulous, and if you travel there, you can see her standing larger than life in that famous white dress pose where her dress is flared upward.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to open this gift and throw away that wrapping and bow.  I knew he would not be coming some 3 months ago, when I made the decision to end it. Maybe I was still believing? Maybe I just like people to open the gifts I buy them. Marilyn is for me now. Telling me everything will be alright.

“Some times good things fall apart, so better things can fall together.” – Marilyn Monroe