Last-minute session available!

 

For the first time in three years, one of my clients needed to reschedule her appointment – which means I have a last-minute spot available!

It’s next week – Sunday November 11th, at 11 am PST!

And it’s my *only* appointment spot left for 2018!

Because this is a last-minute booking, I’ve decided to extend my October coupon code for *just this one spot* – book it now and use the code FAMILY2018 for $30 off an hour session with me!

I hope to talk with you soon!

EDIT:  WOW!  Gone in under 10 minutes!

I confess!

I confess! I have been having a really tough time getting back into the swing of things! It seems like the years past have all been driven by something major – our business struggling, our move to Tofino, my mother’s diagnosis and death, our move to Ucluelet, my surgery and healing journey – and most recently our wedding!

My goodness, this is the first time I’ve been able to choose a major direction shift in many years! That’s absolutely something to celebrate.

So what’s strange about it is I have several balls in the air – and I *want* to actively be working on all of them, yet when I get a day with some time I could devote to these projects, all I want to do is clean my house or bake a cheesecake! (An epic pumpkin cheesecake with sour cream topping, how could I wait to make that???)

I want to play with my friend’s puppy and go for walks without taking any photos, just being in the moment. I feel like it’s time for a fresh start!

These times in life can give us pause, because I know once I start down a new road, my life may become driven again by the results that come from this shift in choices.

I had planned to begin study for a BA in Health Care Administration. As much as I love my part-time job at the hospital, now that I’m feeling better and have energy, I would like to make good on a promise I made to myself when I was 19. At that age, what I needed more than anything else was independence, and set aside my childhood goal of becoming a veterinarian (after working for the local animal hospital for 5 years and seeing what life as a vet is like) and I had decided that primary care was *definitely* not for me – and decided not to return to college to complete my nursing program.

Other factors that fed into that decision were that I’d entered the two year RN program at the time because it would get me out of my parent’s house and working a decent career quickly without a lot of student debt… and the year I started the program the standard changed from 2 year college program to 4 year BA in nursing – which I didn’t want to do. I made that decision 20 years ago now, and I don’t regret it, because I remember how much I desperately felt the need to get out on my own.

So at that time, I promised myself that I could return to university in my 30s or 40s. And I certainly could… but the same student debt is there waiting for me, and honestly, I am just not into that.

I could spend the next 10 years taking correspondence courses, which requires me to transfer my year of nursing college credits and my accounting college credits to this university out of Alberta which does long-distance education… and I find myself just not excited for that option.

So I’m not going to do that right now. I suppose I could paraphrase my woo-woo sisters and say, I just don’t feel called to do that.

Or I could state it plainly and say, I just don’t want to!

Which is a surprise to me. I always thought that when I reached a point in my life where university was an option… I’d do it! And I am really interested in these courses… So what’s holding me back?

I think my contemplation here at the crossroads is really just about giving myself permission to *not* do this at this point in my life. You know what also gets me excited? Expanding the course I launched this past spring! There is a lot there I would still like to do!

You know what else gets me excited? Horses! Weirdly, it has been extraordinarily difficult for me to get call-backs from potential riding teachers in Port Alberni, though I do have a friend four hours away who has offered to get me involved with her horses. It would make for a *very long* day, but maybe that’s the way I should go.

I see this energy with clients sometimes – that crossroads branching out, opening possibilities, and there isn’t any single correct answer. Just the direction you choose based on what you want more of in your life.

I have slooooooowed right down while I ponder my options, and it’s led to a lot of cooking / baking / cleaning days, while I let my emotions and ambitions negotiate a decision.

That’s my excuse for delaying my podcast episodes! HA!

Actually, the next two episodes I have coming up I am so excited and kind of nervous about, because I have two amazing guests who helped me to tackle an extremely touchy subject in this here spiritual arena!

I’m nervous to post them! I admit it! ARGH!!!! But I’m going to do it of course – it’s like I’ve also been waiting for the energetic prompt to just *get them out there already*!

I think that is my top priority right now, and everything else can wait!

PS – if you missed it, check out the comment section in my last post about Dream Spirit Work.

Dream Spirit Work

A lot of us are *very busy* while we sleep. We carry on conversations, visit relatives or significant figures, we learn about each other and different species.

It is rare and exciting for me to find this clip of a researcher actually sharing her dream experiences with orcas.

Fast forward to 8:52 where she shares her dreams.

https://youtu.be/-pRHO1psAYY

You may remember me talking about Megan who helped me create my class – she’s out there, having had some experience as an animal communicator, and is now doing wildlife research! Of course, information obtained through psychic skills cannot replace research, but can it ever help fill in the imaginative gap – the hypothesis on behaviours, on what these animals experience.

This researcher who has dedicated her life to Orcas near New Zealand has experienced dreams of the orca’s extremely detailed language – having orca words for everything in their environment, allowing them to communicate complex thoughts efficiently.

Humans like to think we are the only ones with complex language, and it’s not true!

It’s so thrilling to me to see researchers engaging their intuitive skills and discussing it openly, without fear of weakening their position in the scientific field.

Dreams supplement out waking reality, and I believe our conscious life continues during our “unconscious” states. Let’s make good use of it!

I’m curious, have you ever kept a dream journal? Can you remember your dreams when you wake up?

I’m not much of a morning person myself, so I’m in no mood to write in a journal while the dreams are still fresh! But I have noticed that I generally have three types of dreams:

Spirit exploration dreams, where I learn, visit and receive visits from others, do work.

Conscious reality processing dreams, where the dreams are a function of my brain processing and integrating information from my waking reality.

Emotional processing dreams, where my dreams are processing my inner emotional experience of my experience in the waking world.

Not every dream has a spiritual experience, but I think most dreams do have a tie to some reality.

Do you remember your dreams? Do you like remembering them? Do you wish you remembered more?

I’m curious!

I’m also working on releasing two very important podcast episodes, so hang tight!

Discount code! Family2018

Cough cough…..

I placed a little discount code at the end of my last blog post 😉  My session spots for the rest of 2018 are booking up quickly!  Yay!

Just in case you didn’t notice it, here you go:

New special coupon code: Family2018

This code will give you a $30 discount off of a one-hour session with me!

At the time of this post, there are only 3 discounted sessions left!

You can book your session to speak to your spirit family here,   and remember to use the coupon code Family2018 for $30 off your session!

If you need any help booking a session, please send my office goddess an email, tofinopsychic@gmail.com

 

 

Travels with Spirits & Is Butchart Gardens Haunted?!

Haunted

There is a popular myth about a magical place near Victoria, BC.

It’s about the graceful expanse of a lovingly cultivated plantation known as Butchart Gardens.

Butchart Gardens was established after Robert Butchart married a young woman named Jeanette Foster Kennedy, better known as Jennie, and the enterprising couple moved to Vancouver Island to Robert’s newly established cement plant and limestone quarry, in 1902.  Their house was built on the property, their family established, the first bags of cement were exported in 1905… and the production stopped just three years later in 1908.  Some say the limestone ran out, other say the limestone was of poor quality and not suited to cement at all.  Whichever was true, the Butcharts had established their home on a beautiful plot of land that had a three and a half acre  gaping wound in the property.

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Jennie Butchart was an avid gardener, and she is described as having “busied” herself with her gardens near their house on the property.  I found out through further reading this past week, that Jennie also “busied” herself with the study of chemistry and pharmacology, that she loved flying and hot air balloons, she was artistically gifted, and she seemed to be a type A personality, who always needed to be working towards a goal.  Prior to marrying Robert, she had attended a prestigious college for young women, and had planned to study art in Europe.  She met Robert through mutual acquaintances, and married him instead!

Despite the failure of their cement business, we can assume that Robert continued to be a prosperous provider, as their family’s wealth seemed to grow, not shrink, even through both world wars and the great depression.  During this time, Jennie’s garden expanded, and her vision for her gardens was brought to fruition through her seemingly limitless access to resources, be it labour, topsoil, garden nurseries, and even a couple of world-famous landscape designers!

Jennie and Robert Butchart are pictured here:

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Throughout their life together, Jennie and Robert became known for their hospitality, serving tea to all who visited – whether they were invited or not!  By 1915, they were welcoming over 18,000 visitors per year!

As interest in Jennie’s garden spread, the Butcharts hired staff and eventually began to charge admission.  Tea was served by staff, and occasionally Jennie would unobtrusively serve tea to guests herself!

By 1921, Jennie had the massive quarry pit completely transformed by having endless cartloads of topsoil brought in by cart horses, and, with the help of a landscape architect,  the barren crater had been transformed into the stunning Sunken Garden!

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As my photos don’t quite do it justice, here’s a photo from Butchart Garden’s pintrest page:

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Butchart Gardens is kind of like Disneyland for middle-aged women (and the middle-aged-at-heart).  When you enter the gardens you’re handed a map of the attractions which are split into little worlds – the Japanese Garden, the formal Italian Garden, the Rose Garden, the Mediterranean Garden, and many spectacular fountains and statues to accent and anchor the landscaping.

All of these gardens were envisioned and brought to fruition by Jennie Butchart, with the support and resources of her husband Robert.  Over the decades, Jennie became such a well-known ambassador of Victoria BC, that she was awarded “Victoria’s Best Citizen”.

Having devoted most of her life and all of her heart and soul to these gardens, it’s no wonder there are rumours that the ghost of Jennie Butchart can still be seen among the flowers!  I certainly wanted to find out for myself!

Sweetie and I actually found out very quickly!

Sweetie sat on a bench in the Piazza while I popped into the washroom – and amazingly, while separated, we both made contact with Jennie at the same moment!  For Sweetie, she gazed up at the second floor of one of the buildings in the Piazza – and was startled to see the face of an authoritative matronly woman looking down on her through the sheer curtains!  There’s something that happens in your body when your brain senses something is different – your brain tells you that someone’s there, but your eyes aren’t quite seeing a solid physical body – something’s “off” so immediately the body reacts with a start.  The moment the adrenaline hits the system, the eyesight sharpens and the figure disappears!  But you *know* you saw something.  Sweetie was pretty sure it was Jennie Butchart.

I, alone in the bathroom, took a moment to ground myself as I always do when entering crowded situations, and heard clear as a bell in my mind’s ear:  I do *not* haunt my home.  I watch over it!  Of course I do!  Where else would I be?  (light intonation, like silent chuckling.)

 I came out of the washroom and told Sweetie, “I think I just heard Mrs. Butchart!”  Sweetie says, “I think I just saw her!!!”

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There are even magical waterfalls which cascade down the steep sides of the ravine.  The entire garden is a masterful exercise is colour, texture, scale and proportion.  Jennie and her designer made this garden beautiful from every angle – especially above!

It’s surprisingly thrilling to be in the presence of such a living masterpiece!

To be clear – Jennie Butchart is *not* haunting her gardens!  But yes, as expected, she does spend quite a lot of time there.

For Jennie, the word “haunting” does not adequately communicate her presence at the gardens.

She enjoys it, she always enjoyed having guests and expanding her vision of the gardens.  Her great-granddaughter owns it now, and the whole family and team maintain the gardens and the business as they believe Jennie would want them to.  They plant the gardens with colorful annuals to complement their showy and exotic collection of specimins from around the world.  Their aim is to thrill, to delight, and to enchant each visitor, whether they’re an avid gardener themselves or a complete gardener novice such as myself.

Of course Jennie Butchart is there!  But don’t you dare say she’s “haunting” the gardens!  She’s still just as she was in life – proud, welcoming, somewhat formal, and very warm.

Jennie didn’t stay with us through our whole journey through the garden – but she did pop in a few times to drop some interesting bits of information.

The Queen *loved* the rose garden, (pointed out many specimens from Germany) and we completely replanted the Italian garden to receive her.  It’s the most beautiful it ever looked – but I said they (the staff) must never try to duplicate the look of the garden on that visit – it was special, just for her!  She requested to see my rose garden.  She appreciated them (for what they truly were, unique gifts and specimens from all over the world, expertly maintained.)

 She went on to explain that she wanted to maintain a sense of formality so that visitors would fully appreciate the gardens.  This is why there were strict rules for guests, created from necessity.  Costumes and cosplay are banned from the gardens, because these things distract from the gardens – the reason most people are visiting in the first place.  Weddings must be formally booked, and if you show up in formal gowns without an appointment, you’ll be asked to leave.

Sweetie and I were surprised that such rules were necessary, and being handed this extensive list of rules along with the map at admission gave us the impression that the gardens were, perhaps, taking themselves a bit too seriously – but Jennie quickly showed us how those who show up in costume are not really there to appreciate the gardens, they are there for themselves.  They impede the flow of people walking through the gardens, sometimes they even go off-path into the gardens themselves, causing damage!

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Jennie showed me people stepping over fences in excitement, and one falling into a pond – what a disgrace, and what disrespect shown to the gardeners who spend long hours, day after day, perfecting the garden’s athestic, lovingly dead-heading, pruning, sometimes training tree growth for years!  To be broken in a moment of carelessness!  No, the gardens are delicate, graceful – really a pure form of beauty, meant to *represent* the perfection of life, in life, within ourselves.  The installation of her Japanese garden taught her that gardens are so much more than superficial beauty – a really special garden, done well, maintained faithfully, will soothe and even uplift the spirit.

This is very serious business.

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Jennie’s vision for the garden includes the manner in which her guests should take the gardens in – their attention not on themselves or other guests, but on nature, and the living art surrounding them, so that the gardens could do their work on the visitors, lifting them up, and creating a unique and delightful experience in their lives.

It was out of respect for her many guests (now one MILLION people a year) that these rules were in place.

As for the queen’s visit, as much as I tried, I never could find confirmation that Queen Mary ever visited Butchart Gardens, although the gardens have since received many royal visitors.  I did a little research on Queen Mary while writing this post, and discovered she was the princess of Teck, a region in Germany.  A few of the specimens of roses from Germany were gifted to Jennie (according to the little signs planted among the bushes) and I wonder if this is what Queen Mary admired in particular, or if she gifted any of these roses to Jennie herself!  (Queen Mary was born and raised in England, not Germany, but there seems to be a connection through the house she represents.)  The rose garden didn’t exist until 1929, so any royal visit to the roses would have happened after that time (though I’m sure there was a smaller rose garden in a different area.)  The Italian garden was still a tennis court before 1926, and Jennie was very proud of having this formal garden in which to welcome her royal visitors, so it seems the visit she was talking about would have happened after 1929 and before 1939 (the start of WWII).

After 1939, Robert Butchart became ill, and he and Jennie moved to Victoria for better access to medical care for him – gifting Butchart Gardens to their grandson Ian Ross on his 21st birthday.  Ian was called to war shortly afterwards, and Ian’s mother (Jennie’s daughter) and his aunt did their best to maintain the gardens themselves with limited manpower during the war.  I feel certain that the royal visit Jennie Butchart is so proud of must have happened prior to this time.

Jennie Butchart is not alone in her spirit oversight of the gardens – she was accompanied by several dogs, a large parrot or cockatoo, and surrounded by human family.  Among them, I’m sure, are her children and grandchildren, a couple of whom have owned and operated the gardens in Jennie’s stead.   The gardens, clearly, are a part of Jennie’s heaven and after-life.

Similar to the garden’s rules about dress and conduct, meant to fully respect and create space to appreciate the magnificence of the gardens themselves, Jennie is quick to correct any notion of her “haunting” the gardens.  She is not attached to her beloved homestead out of trauma, or unfinished business.  The gardens are a part of her, and her spirit is a part of the gardens, for as long as the gardens remain in her family, and maybe even longer still.

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Jennie’s spirit is both formal and warm, busy yet attentive.  I’m sure, had I known her in life, I would have liked her very much.

If you’re ever in the Victoria area, I encourage you to visit these fascinating gardens.  I will definitely return – the garden is constantly changing, and they’ll be different next time I go!  Maybe I can head down there in the spring for the tulips, or the early summer, when the roses are all fresh and in bloom.  This amazing place is the life’s work of Jennie Butchart, her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren, and possibly more generations to come.

It was a pleasure and a privilege to visit!

***

Bear!!!

I would also like to mention our additional travelling companions in spirit:  my mother, grandmother, and great aunt – all of whom LOVED the gardens and got to meet Jennie Butchart in person!

When I travel, I like to wear my mother’s rings as a way of formally inviting her to join us for these adventures, and my mother does her best to send me little signs to show me she is along for the ride!

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A spider literally came along for the ride in our car, generally content on the rear-view mirror until it became restless and we had to put it outside.  Spiders are a sign from my mother – a sort of joke from the afterlife, but sincerely profound at the same time.

I explain the back story about the spiders, and other signs from my mother, here.

True to her promise, we also seem to encounter schnauzers with frequency when we travel as well, but this time, while in Butchart Gardens, my mother sent a very special dog to let me know she was there.

It was a cattle dog.  Just like my big dog, Mocha, whom I miss very much.  This lovely dog came with accommodating owners who let me pet him and give him lots of admiration.

“What’s his name?”  I asked.

“Mocha!” the man replied with a smile!

This was my sign that not only was my mother there, and had managed to send me a dog with the same breed and NAME as my beloved big dog, I also understood it to mean Mocha was with her at that time, and with me as well.

The lesson to really take away from all of this is:  Our family really doesn’t go very far!

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I decided to launch a special coupon code in memory of this trip: Family2018

For the next 30 days, or the next 10 sessions booked, whichever comes first, this code will give you a $30 discount off of a one-hour session with me!  (This code can only be used a limited number of times in total so this special doesn’t run away from me!)

If you’d like to book your session to speak to your spirit family, remember to use the coupon code Family2018 soon!

 

 

 

 

Pet Session Sale! ONE WEEK ONLY!

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Hi Friends!

I’m going to be taking a break from my regularly scheduled life in September, and I want to bring a few extra Pet Sessions into my first week – So!  I am bringing back a Pet Session Price I haven’t offered in years!

Talk to your Petsin Life& in Spirit

Just $105 for a 30 minute session!

 

This is a super-limited special!  I’m only offering a few sessions for ONE WEEK ONLY and I don’t know when or if I will offer this discount again!

I’m sending this out to my clients and blog friends first, before the facebook promotion goes live – so please snap up your spot quickly!

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I’m so looking forward to talking with you and your animal family!

Talk with you soon!  Kate

 

A year for a Deer: A Doe

A Year

I was saying hello to the deer in my neighbourhood this morning, and I was invited into the experience of this mother deer followed by her two growing babies.  She was methodically eating.

“Where are you going?”  I asked.

No clear response, just a vague, Grazing.  She showed me she that her babies follow her, but she has no set course for the day today.  She was just grazing, going from tasty weed to leafy bush, whatever looked good, the next thing, and the next, no plan of any kind.  She was completely in the grazing zone.

It got me thinking about how her grazing state of mind could potentially last for days.  Eating what looks good, wandering in the general area going from plant to plant.  Returning on autopilot to her resting spots and her sleeping spots.

If she didn’t encounter people or predators, she and her babies could continue in this state for days, maybe even weeks, eating and travelling in familiar circles, gradually gaining weight for the winter, recovering from her pregnancy, getting ready to become pregnant again.

I asked her how it felt to be pregnant (and this doe seems to have twins every year.)

Normal.  She replied.  When she felt the new babies start to move around in her belly, it was almost reassuring.  Her years had taken on a routine.  In the fall, when the males begin to rut, they will isolate a fertile female to mate.  It’s a stressful few days.  During those days, the doe doesn’t eat.  She spends most of her time feeling pursued by the bucks.  Her instinct is to run from them, to see their advances as threats, until she sees one who changes her mind.

It’s usually the young buck who chase and harass her.  She goes into the center of town during this time, where she can keep a clear eye out and have room to maneuver away from them.  The bucks follow her, but get distracted with each other, testing their young shoulder strength against each other in mighty clashes of tug and push, antlers interlocked.

The doe does not always successfully evade these young bucks, but she does enjoy it when a more mature male shows up to scare them.

A mature male has a wider rack of antlers.  He doesn’t waste energy running around or with false charges.  He means it.  He is attracted into town by the female’s scent, and the sound of the young male’s fighting.  He is drawn to it as though he is waking up to himself for the first time in a year.  He knows himself.  These young males, they don’t know much.  The large buck does not respect the young bucks, and that message pours out of him as he emerges from the bush to take control of the drama.

The doe likes and prefers a mature male buck.  She likes to watch the mature buck scare the young ones who harass her.  She stays to watch, where as when the young ones fight with each other, she uses the distraction to slip away.

It is satisfying when a large buck arrives.  She does not run from the large bucks.  Her brain goes quiet when she sees him.  He frightens her a bit, and she did run from a large buck once, but he eventually, after a day and a half, tired her out.  Once she realized what the whole encounter was about, she decided not to run from the large bucks, they could always catch her… but the young bucks usually couldn’t.  She could evade and kick at the young bucks.  She didn’t like their smell.  They repelled her.  She couldn’t relax around them.  She liked it when the large male arrived – his presence could be felt before they saw him.  Usually, all the big male had to do was charge once, powerfully, towards the young bucks to inspire fear in them.  They would forget what was so important, and clear off.

This time of stress and being pursued lasts only a week or so, and once she has mated a few times she knows the males will melt away, and her life will go back to normal.  The only difference is this conflict with the young and large bucks tends to scare away her babies, who, by this time, are able to run the grazing circuit by themselves.  She will run into them again, but they will not have as much desire to stay near her, and she will not call them.  Fall and winter is her time to be alone with herself.

She knows this now, when I talked to her this morning.  She has done this so many times that she knows the time of the bucks is coming soon, and the two half-grown fawns who follow her now will be on their own soon.  They will meet still in their usual sun-bathing spots, and watering spots.  They will form groups for companionship and protection during the heaviest rainy months, when the days are short and the predators are hungry.  She knows how to stay safe in the winter, and at some point when the days are getting shorter, she will feel that flutter in her belly that tells her she has company again.

It’s comforting.

All this came in a flash to me, this morning, when I asked her how it feels to be pregnant.

It’s interesting because I’m not sure she makes the connection between the mating and the pregnancy – it’s just that all these year markers seem to happen on a cycle, she knows what to expect by now, and when they do happen it’s reassuring.  Things are happening just as they should, all is well.  The rutting season is stressful but short.  And the winter is long.  Pregnancy begins and slows her down.  Her hips hurt towards the end, so she doesn’t move around much in the spring.  She prefers to stay in the center of town, eating from lawns and gardens.  She will even forgo eating for a few weeks if there is nothing particularly appetizing or easy to eat.

Two years ago, she had her babies in our back yard.  It sounds amazing, and the twin fawns were super-cute, but we were worried about them as it was below freezing outside and the doe had promptly abandoned them as all new deer mothers do – because SHE smelled like afterbirth and would attract wolves and cougars, and fawns are more likely to be safe in the first day or two if they are alone.

And alone they were.  They weren’t even huddled together – one was in my neighbour’s fire pit, the other was on our side of the yard, in the middle of the lawn.

After 24 hours, we were WORRIED!  Had the mother been caught by the wolves?

Thankfully, she returned, and soon her babies were old enough to eat from my garden (seriously guys?  I put up netting to save my strawberries.)

She told me she has not seen the same male every year – always a different one – with the exception of two consecutive years when it was the same fellow, but already he felt *old*.  With her telling it, it seems as though the bucks have a very small window of opportunity – or maybe the males simply move on to other territories?  Or are hunted?  It was surprising to me.  She did recognize the same male two years in a row, so she *does* remember them.

I’ll see if I can ask a buck about this, if I get an opportunity.

Wild animals are so fascinating.  I love my deer.

 

 

Sharing our Wedding Photos!

My friends!  It is with great pleasure and gratitude that I share some of our favourite wedding photos with you!

Here we are walking down the boardwalk “aisle” to a deck on the inlet side of Tofino, where our family and friends waited, overlooking the mountains, the water, and the incredible west coast wildlife.  It was 10 am on the beautiful and sunny June 17th.

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Why yes, my wedding shoes ARE Birkenstocks!  I highly recommend wearing comfortable shoes for this wedding – PLUS, I still wear them every day and enjoy them!

We walked down the aisle to a local musician playing an acoustic version of “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns n Roses.  We chose this because it’s one of our road trip songs, and because the acoustic version is really beautiful!

Okay, time to tell the story about my wedding dress.

Last year, in June, I flew home to visit my family.  I wanted to tell them in person that Sweetie and I were getting married.  It was a great decision, because the hugs I received in spontaneous joy were so much better than an excited voice over the phone!

I spent a couple of days with my sister, and when she asked what I wanted to do, I asked her to help me shop for a wedding dress.  This was particularly special because we knew it was unlikely she would be able to attend the wedding, so buying the dress with her was a great way to have her be a part of the wedding.

We went to The Bay, which, for non-Canadians, is kind of like our Nordstrom.  My sister actually picked this dress out, and when I put it on, I *knew* it was the right one.  It fit beautifully, it flattered me, it felt fantastic.  It was a bit pricey, but my mother used to tell me if I ever got married, to not try and save money on the dress, the flowers, or the photos, because the dress and the flowers made the photos beautiful, and your photos were what you had to keep in memory of your wedding day for the rest of your life.  So I bit the bullet and decided it was better to get this dress, on this day, with my sister.

We went to the checkout… and the dress rang through at 50% off.  This was a brand new dress at the time, *not* on sale, but for some reason the last-season discount was being applied to it.  Actually, the last season discount was only 30% off, so where on earth was this 50% discount coming from!?

My sister elbowed me and pointed to the price.  I elbowed her back, with a wide-eyed “I KNOW!  SHHHH!”  They took my money and we left – absolutely giddy with the massive “deal” we had just been granted!

My sister said, “I think that was Mom.”  I agreed.  “I think you’re right.”  For most of our childhood, if we *reeeeealllly* wanted something “luxurious” like a designer pair of jeans or a Northern Reflections sweatshirt (it was the 90s in Northern Ontario, and that’s what was cool) our mother would pay half.

Were she still alive and with us on that shopping trip, she surely would have paid half the cost of my dress.  It’s wonderful how our family in spirit can still participate in our lives, in these miraculous, unexpected ways!

So that’s the story of my dress.

Here we are at the driftwood “alter”.  That’s Judy, our officiant, who has married hundreds of people over the years and is in thousands of wedding photos.  She also worked at the hospital here, so she was my co-worker for a few years before she retired, and she has married several other hospital couples!  Judy is truly a part of our Tofino family!

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Sweetie is so unbelievably photogenic, I can’t even believe it.  She had those little blush roses braided into her hair that morning.

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Here we are!  Married!  Each with our mothers’ wedding rings.

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Immediately after the ceremony, we went out on to the inlet for some couple’s photos.  These are two of our favorites:

This one I had just told Sweetie a silly joke, probably a pun.

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This photo we had enlarged and framed for our living room:

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Doesn’t she just GLOW!?  I’m so grateful to our photographer, Marnie Recker.

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Here I am.  I really love the effect of our bouquets.  Sweetie and I have the same flowers in our bouquets, but different colors to coordinate with our dress.  If you can see the little red berries in them, those are huckleberries and edible!  They grow wild all over here.

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The peonies in our bouquets are similar to the ones my mother used to grow in her garden at our house in North Bay.  Hygrangea and cala lillies are my favourites, Sweetie picked the tiny roses, the eucalyptus, and the huckleberries.  The broad green leaves are salal, which also grows wild here and produces lovely blueberry-like fruit.

The same flowers decorated our wedding cake:

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This is one of our favorite candid moments.

The cake turned out beautifully.  It is milk-free because Sweetie has a milk allergy, so this resulted in a LOT of time and discussion going into our wedding cake options.  In the end, we went with a chocolate ganash, and the florist provided the flowers to coordinate with our boquets.

We also provided cupcakes for our gluten-free guests, and just for funsies.  The cupcakes had little bits of gold leaf and cute johnny jump-up pansies on them… also flowers which remind me of my mother!  (Sweetie let me pretty much dominate the flower game – she picked most of the music.)

Oh music!  Our dear friend who spend years as a professional DJ, and who has MC’d at most of our friends’ weddings, took Sweetie’s spotify wedding playlist and put together a compilation which played in the background during brunch.

Here is Sweetie’s “Oh Honey,” face.

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After brunch, we received an urgent message from Marnie the photographer.  There was a *sundog* on the beach!!!  Could we get there NOW!?

This is another story.

See, I was really hoping to see a rainbow on our wedding day.  I asked for it, but I wasn’t going to be sad or disappointing if it didn’t happen.  My mother told me she saw a rainbow after her mother’s funeral, and I saw one the day of my mother’s funeral.  I also saw an incredible rainbow display the first time I saw orcas, and I was sure that my own spirit family was there that day.  I wrote about that here.

June 17, 2018 was a HOT day, and miraculously sunny considering we live in the rainforest.  As soon as I saw the weather and felt the heat, I let go of the idea of seeing a rainbow on my wedding day.  Rainbows happen when it’s misty, or rainy, not when it’s 25 C for the first time that year.

And that’s why I consider this sundog to be our private miracle.  We did get a rainbow.  We got a RARE rainbow made from ice crystals in the atmosphere… on a 25 C day!

We got a giant orb in the sky!

I believe this wasn’t only my family, I believe it was both of our families who collaborated to create this incredible atmospheric phenomenon in the sky on our wedding day.  A rainbow, the symbol of gay pride, a ring, the symbol of infinity and marriage, in the sky in time for our beach photos.

Absolutely incredible!

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We had this photo enlarged and framed it too:

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We danced to the sound of the waves and our laughter.

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And every year we take a photo of ourselves wearing sunglasses on the beach.  We took a photo similar to this and posted it to facebook when we changed our status to “in a relationship” and we’ve been collecting sunglasses on the beach photos ever since!

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To the rest of our lives together!  Thank you my blog friends for sharing in our happiness!

 

Freddie Mercury – PODCAST EPISODE is coming!

Friends! Something really cool happened last week: Sweetie and I actually had a day off together, so we were relaxing together on the couch, in the morning, drinking tea, and I was on YouTube, when an ad came up promoting a movie about Queen.

Well, I was excited. I didn’t know much about Freddie Mercury before I met Sweetie, indeed, like John Lennon and several other celebrity musicians we’ve spoken to together, my general ignorance of pop culture has been a great source of entertainment for my wife. But *unlike* most other celebrities, I actually have an emotional investment in the music of Queen.

The lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody was the very first non-choir, non-nursery rhyme song I ever memorized. It was introduced to me by my childhood best friend, who may even be reading this one day as we’re still in each other’s social media circles. Crystal (not her real name) and I were friends from grade 1 through grade 7, even after she moved two hours away. So many of my cherished childhood memories are with Crystal and her family, as they kindly took me along on some of their family vacations. One summer, they took me on a two-week road trip which included Prince Edward Island! It was the first time I saw the ocean, the first time I travelled far enough to see the landscape change, and the first time I was introduced to music outside of my school and home.

So, enter Queen. Two weeks on the road was a long time to be in the Buick with two pre-teen girls, so we went through a LOT of music in that time. I was introduced not only to Queen, but to musicals like Les Misérables (still a favourite today, and also memorized on this trip) as well as Guns n’ Roses (an acoustic version of Sweet Child O’ Mine was played at our wedding as we walked down the boardwalk “aisle”.) It took several days of listening to Bohemian Rhapsody on rotation through province after province until Crystal and I were able to sing along with Queen, “I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me…”

Whenever I hear (or sing) this song, I’m transported to the back seat of the Buick, behind Crystal’s parents who seemed endlessly patient and tolerant of our backseat shenanigans, belting out with words as quickly as they came from the speakers – “Nooooo! We will not let you go!”

Being as young as we were, and they lyrics being as interpretable as they are, despite the numerous repetitions, Bohemian Rhapsody seemed to create new visions in my imagination with every run through, unlike Master of the House, or Don’t Cry, which evoked the same mental images every time. Because of this, I *loved* this song, despite its melancholy overtones.

More than any other musician from any other band we’ve spoken to, I am actually emotionally to tied to Freddie Mercury.

When a documentary popped up on YouTube shortly after the ad for the new movie, I clicked. We watched. And before long, I was talking to Freddie Mercury. I decided to run upstairs and grab my MP3 recorder, so that we could capture this conversation.

Coming soon, my friends, is our conversation with the late, great, Freddie Mercury.

Our Wedding Photos Have Arrived!!!

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More to come! Here is one of my favourites! LOOK at that crazy sundog! That’s not just one family member, smiling down on our wedding – that’s everyone from both sides, working together to create atmospheric ice crystals on a 25C day!

EDIT: I can’t believe I just realized this… it’s a RING in the sky! Like a wedding ring! A RAINBOW RING in the SKY! It’s very literally a symbol of our wedding!

Amazing!

It’ll take us a while to go through the photos and decide which ones to share publically – so MORE TO COME!