Category Archives: The Old-New Country

Posts about Canada, usually British Columbia to be specific. Land of trees, cold water, fleece clothing, lovely family, and great coffee and bookstores.

A Very Canadian Christmas


A very Canadian Christmas

Except for the part where there was no snow, it was a very Canadian Christmas. We did all the things we love doing in Victoria—bundled up and went walking, took in an ice-hockey game, warmed up in good coffee shops, and visited with all of Dave’s family.

Perhaps because I was more concerned about cramming ALL OF CHRISTMAS (!) into our suitcases before leaving, I forgot to pack my Canon, so the pictures on Flickr are courtesy of my phone unfortunately. Still, I hope you enjoy them!


One Community: January!


I’m not even going to try to limit myself to four photos for this month’s One Community roundup! We spent Christmas and New Year in Canada with Dave’s extended family, and the pictures are just too rich to not share!

Treasure. The heart of our visits to Victoria, BC, is always the opportunity for our boys to get to know their grandparents and older cousins, and spend time playing with their younger cousins. Tau asks about Kai (9) and Tait (6) often and opportunities to see them are rare. So when they do get together, it makes for rich little-dude photo ops like these:


Cosy pub lunch after watching Kai’s ice-hockey game

Kai loves his baby cousin

Kai adores his baby cousin

Christmas cousins

Christmas cuzzies

Silver.  We were lucky enough to have two big feasts! One on Christmas day and a second a few days later when our oldest niece Kendra and her fiance Zack flew in from Australia where they live. 

At the first dinner, Dave’s sister Trisha placed a handmade cracker on each plate. Inside? A small gift for that person—holiday perfection.


What this picture doesn’t show is the certifiable CRAZY that defines Walsh get togethers. Twenty-five of us crammed into a home designed for four people, climbing over each other to move from room to room, hunting down your misplaced wine or beer glass, washing and drying dishes in between courses, straining to converse with an aunt or nephew that you haven’t seen in a year over the shouting din. The kids’ table looked like this at the first meal. Not exactly off the pages of Martha Stewart. Right after this, Maceo spilled someone’s juice all over that table.

Just a few of the kids!

Just a few of the kids!

Resolution. There is little room for me-time or reflection on our trips North. I did get out for a nice long walk around our old neighborhood of Oak Bay on Old Year’s Eve though.

Dave and I lived in Victoria for 12 years before moving to San Diego. We married there and put each other through college there. It’s the place where we forged our partnership, struggled to make ends meet, and aspired to live somewhere else. So, returning is bittersweet. Around every corner in this town shrouded in winter is a memory, a feeling, a sense—each one particular and loaded with emotion.

So my walk around the bay, up through the golf course, and back past our old apartment was poignant as I closed out 2013 and looked forward to the new year. Surrounded by our old community, I was very aware of the choices we made twelve years ago to go do something different, and the many blessings we have experienced doing so.

These days, as a working, older mom of small boys, I am beyond torturing myself with New Year’s resolutions. Looking into 2014 is more about focusing on gentle intensions. On small actions that I can give priority, that will lead me to be healthier and more capable. That is all.


Garden gate, Victoria, BC

Winter. We were fortunate to have moderate weather during our visit. Four years ago, we were in Victoria for Christmas and the cold was bitter! This year we packed warmer clothes, fleecy PJs and slippers, a hot water bottle and heating pad. And it made all the difference.

We are spoiled by San Diego winters—the sunshine, the balmy temperatures, the outdoor opportunities. Winter in Victoria reminded me that our sunshine and longer days are like gold!

Sunrise, Christmas morning

Sunrise, Christmas morning

Mid-morning, overlooking Oak Bay

Mid-morning, overlooking Oak Bay


Happy New Year, friends!

See you next month!

One Community is a monthly photo project in which participants photograph their homes and communities with a theme in mind. The theme varies by month. The goal is to both showcase similarities and differences in our communities worldwide – and bring us all closer together in understanding through art.

Each month, one of the hosts picks four words for us to interpret through photographs of what we see around us in our daily lives. You can see my previous entries for July, August and September. Starting this month, we’re opening this project up to anyone who would like to participate! We would love to have you join us! The link-up will begin on October 5th and stay open for one week.

The Rules: Post one or more photos interpreting the words for the month, and add your blog post to the link-up. Please include a link back to the link-up post on your One Community post, and take a look at some of the other links and comment on them. This link-up is all about building community!

Canada the Lovely

Earlier this month, we spent a week up north on Vancouver Island.

In addition to catching up with Dave’s cousins, aunts, parents and siblings, we spent a few days up at the family cottage, on the ocean at Saltair. Dave’s brother Stu and his boys joined us, which made for much fun beach combing, boating and crabbing for the kids.

Tau learned to solo kayak, Maceo became an honorary Canuck, we proved that siblings who drink beer together start to look awfully alike, and I got to savor and demolish a whole crab!

The rest of the pictures are here for your viewing pleasure. I’m reminded every time we visit just how gorgeous British Columbia is in its clean, natural beauty. Enjoy!

Pretend Trip to Canada

Every year at Tau’s school, the kids take a make believe trip to an exotic destination.

Last year it was Hawaii — this year, Canada.

Vancouver to be specific.

In the middle of Winter. Bring me that Maple Syrup Mai Tai!

Home to San Diego

Back from Christmas and New Year in Victoria. We had a great time visting family, and a holiday photoset is on Flickr, but we are always glad to come home!

When Dave asked Tau this morning what his favorite part of the trip was, he answered, “Coming home to San Diego!”

Top Priority for the Next Home We Buy

This post is part of Blog Action Day, a day of environmental discussion and participation by bloggers around the world.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?


Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

No, it’s our laundry. Our humble jeans, shirts and towels hanging on a $9.99 clothes horse, saving us a bit of money and helping to fight global warming.

Did you know that dryers use five to ten percent of residential electricity in the United States? That cutting the number of times you use your dryer by just one load a week reduces CO2 emissions by 200 pounds a year? Hard to know what that means in the global scheme of things but every little bit helps, right?

Dave and I were both raised in South Africa, where the hot, mostly dry climate means that the vast majority of people dry ALL their laundry outdoors in the sunshine on washing lines. Our childhood memories are of folding crisp, bone-dry towels, of chasing our siblings through lines of flapping bedsheets and of learning to hang t-shirts so that they didn’t dry all pulled at the peg marks. Continue reading

See Bill … See Bill Flipping His Government the Bird

I am too close to this to blog objectively. One TN visa, two H1-Bs and six years later, we are still playing the Green Card waiting game.

And trust me, more than most I know that this is a complex issue. But this news is so big and feels so very surreal for folks like us (especially seeing that we moved here from British Columbia) that I couldn’t not touch on it.

From their press release yesterday:

“Microsoft Corp. today announced that it intends to expand its presence in Canada by opening a new software development center in the greater Vancouver, British Columbia, area. The Microsoft Canada Development Centre will open in the fall of 2007 and will be home to software developers from around the world.”

Bill Gates and Co. have long been lobbying government to make things more viable for the thousands of technical professionals working and living in the US on H1-B visas or standing in that ever-so-long line for a Green Card. I guess they know nothing’s going to change soon.

More in the National Post today:

“The company has long been pressuring U.S. immigration officials to increase the number of foreign workers it can employ in the United States. The U.S. government typically issues about 85,000 visas annually to foreign workers with specialized skills and warned in April there would be a shortage this year. Canada, meanwhile, does not impose similar quotas.

Microsoft and other companies have been saying for a long time, ‘If you make it so difficult for U.S. companies to bring in talented foreign nationals that they need, companies are going to fill those positions abroad’ said Ted Ruthizer of U.S. law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis and Frankel.

‘This is just the fulfillment of this promise,’ said Mr. Ruthizer, who runs [Microsoft’s] business-immigration practice.”