2015-10-08 21.37.07
My birthday, Leon had an important debate to participate in.  I was his number one cheerleader.  We make a formidable team.

Well it’s December 18. Christmas is a week away.  Actually, by this time next week, we will have celebrated our Danish Christmas on December 24 as well as my own traditional Réveillon.  Christmas Day will include a Smorrebrod at my in laws, where various toppings will be put on slices of bread as people leisurely eat and enjoy a holiday beer.  Not to be a grinch here, but being gluten and dairy free doesn’t offer one much in that sort of menu.  As I emphatically stated last year, I don’t eat turkey either.


So, let me try to back up and explain my absence from blogging this past year.  It all started in December 2014 when I decided I couldn’t continue working due to health concerns.  My doctor recommended a long absence and an early retirement.  Now I have been looking forward to that last year of teaching where we would make plans to travel, then sell the house in Ottawa and relocate to Langley, BC.  It all worked in theory, but this is the reality of what happened:

Leon had been involved with a Liberal candidate for our riding in Orleans and thought it would be great to pursue his interest in the party.  So he decided to run as the candidate for Langley-Aldergrove, our future home in BC.  This meant that he moved to BC as soon as our winter vacation was over in January.  He started by seeking the nomination and finally was named the candidate in early May.

In the meantime, I started intensively pursuing the reasons for my odd leg sensations (numbness, burning, etc.), seeking alternative treatments like naturopathy  and making huge changes to my lifestyle and diet.  All that time, I was told to avoid work, coworkers, computers, you name it, all in an effort to improve my horrible sleep patterns.

In February, I managed to escape a harsh Ontario winter and joined Leon for a few weeks in BC to house hunt and help out with his campaign.  We bought a sweet little townhouse within a week of my arrival and I returned to Ottawa a few weeks later to attend to selling much of our furnishings and readying the house for sale.  Luckily, this all went very well with the help of my sister in law’s sister Claudia, my real estate agent.  Selling the house took exactly 2 weeks.  Selling the furniture was a longer process.  Continuing my health journey was an even longer process.

May rolled in and I signed off on the sale papers and joined Leon for a 2 week visit to our new home.  Leon had moved in at the end of April, his son Bradyn joining him a month later.  Bradyn brought the first load of belongings from Ontario to BC, along with Leon’s car.  Life was a bit more normal for Leon after that.

oasis 2015So I spent those 2 weeks trying to get the dog smell left by the previous occupants out of the house.  I painted our Muskoka chairs a bright shade of blue and created a bit of an oasis on our back patio.  And I got a chance to really look at the place and realize I needed to get rid of even more furniture.

moving out july 2015
moving out of Orleans








train to QC
Took a quick train trip in early July to Quebec City with my lovely daughter.  She had never been to my birthplace.

At the end of the that trip, Leon flew back to Ottawa with me for 2 nights to go to Liberal college and learn all about being part of Team Trudeau.  He flew home, leaving me with a house to empty and a long drive west to prepare for.  Again, that all went surprisingly well.  My co-pilot, son Earl, was great company as we sang along to the Eagles, the Beatles and U2 along the long stretches of highway.  Driving across Canada is long but I love the wide open skies of the prairie.  And then driving towards the Rockies is always spectacular as they seem to suddenly rise up out of the horizon.  Never mind that I got caught in a speed trap leaving Calgary, I still enjoyed the drive.  Except for maybe the Coquihalla.  I mean really, do we need to have a 120km/h speed limit on such a busy truck route with huge downward slopes and large curves?  I wanted to pull over for the night in Merritt and drive home the next morning when I was more rested.  But Earl encouraged me to keep going and he took over the driving when I let him once we got to Hope and flatter lands. Phew!  Made it!

earl in winnipeg 2015
Earl in Winnipeg

As if that wasn’t enough excitement, the election was finally declared in the early days of August.  I thought I’d volunteer to sit at the reception of the campaign office for Leon and John Aldag, MP.  I figured I’d bring a magazine, do some crocheting, have leisurely afternoons 5 days a week.  At least I had discovered the great rec facility near our house so I went to aquafitness 3 times a week.  Boy, was I in for a surprise!

First, Leon needed a financial agent to approve stuff and keep track of the spending. He did ask many people to help out but I ended taking on what seemed like a minor challenge.  I also took on the Treasurer position for the riding association (might as well put my accounting training to good use).  But then it became clear we needed a campaign manager.  After all, Leon couldn’t be knocking on doors, going to events, putting up signs and managing a campaign.  So much data management was required, volunteers had to be found and coordinated, you name it.  Well, being the loving wife that I am, I volunteered until we could find a more suitable candidate.

You guessed it!  That never happened.  I was suddenly on the roller coaster ride of my life!  I met a lot of new people, some in person, some online through managing the Twitter and Facebook accounts.  I got to know a lot of the Liberal candidates in our province and across country and yes, I was personally thanked by PM Justin Trudeau for my efforts. Yes, face to face, eye to eye.  He does have a very penetrating gaze as the media says.  But this blog is about me…

So, 79 frantic days went by, the election came and we came close, but didn’t win.  Yes, we were disappointed.  Yes, we want to do it again.  Yes, we came so close.  Yes, I still have a lot of paperwork to file with Elections Canada.  Sheesh… bubble burst.

That was October 19.  Since then we’ve tried to get our life back on a more “predictable” path.  We finally got the house painted, adding missing storage and I have this week, finally been able to claim the kitchen as my domain.  Maybe now I have a cozy corner to write.  I even have a new computer, although I am not sure newer is better, right Microsoft?

Granny’s kitchen
kitchen after
Catherine’s kitchen

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I forgot to tell you that I retired in July and flew back to Ottawa for a retirement celebration in November.  That will be for another post.

Catherine TiredSo, looking forward to the new year, Leon and I are joining my daughter and her Nick in Ixtapa, Mexico for a week.  I am hoping the sun and surf will have a restorative effect.  I am bloody tired, even though I haven’t worked as a teacher for over a year now.  But I’ve been busy, that’s for sure.