Yearly Archives: 2004

Spanish Vacations

Pictures of Spain should now be in. They’re not as incredible as the ones we took in the Azores, but it was still a fantastic trip. We spent four days over on the Mediterranean, visiting between Denia, Alacante and Valencia. These were mostly sun-soaked days of reading books on the beaches, but we did some touring of old Spanish ruins as well. You can see some of the incredible fortresses that overlooked almost every ocean town and city for defence. Some of the architecture we saw was as old as the second century.

We then spent three days in Madrid (I had to work one day) touring around the plazas, castles, cathedrals and monuments. Heidi would tell you that we walked way too much, but we ended up getting subway passes and doing it the quick way as well.

The weather was a truly incredible 90 degrees every day which is right up Heidi’s alley, but is a little beyond my preferences. In terms of places where we visited, Spain was truly incredible but both Heidi and I would go back to Brazil in a minute. If nothing else, it was wonderful to just have some time to ourselves to enjoy the summer and sunshine with a SMILE!

Mountain Grandeur

I’ve uploaded some pictures from this years hike up Mt Katahdin. The disappointing thing is that you really can’t get a sense of the scope and grandeur of where we actually were. It’s obviously quite a hike with snow well below where we were, but the pictures don’t nearly do justice to actually making the climb. If you’ve never done this one, I highly recommend it. We usually climb Cathedral and cross over the Knife’s Edge, but this year we went up Hunt’s Back. Although the hike was much longer, the scenery was probably a little better with incredible horizon shots.

The house! Heidi and I have put in an offer on a small (but cozy) home in Southern New Hampshire and its been accepted. While it probably won’t be a house that we will stay in for the long term, its wonderful just to have a place that we can call home. I guess I shouldn’t be counting chickens yet because we still have financing and almost two months to close, but the big hurdles (terms agreement, inspections) have already been passed. When I have some time, I’ll post some pictures.

Guess what? We’re off to Spain tomorrow for seven days. We’re staying on the east coast in a small town called Denia. We really don’t have any idea of plans or anything like that, but it will be good to just sit back and relax a little. I don’t know how often we’ll be doing that after the baby comes.

The baby? Oh yeah … Smile!

Quick One to Australia

So this past week brought two awesome products to my attention: ERD Commander which allowed me to recover a completely dead installation of Windows 2000, and PC Inspector Smart Recovery which allowed me to retrieve my photos from the camera. I’ve now uploaded some of the pics from Oz for you to look at … not much because I was always the one taking the picture. The excitement from this particular trip was the phenominal restaurants which I got to eat at, going snorkelling with Rob, and seeing my first shark in the wild (albeit not too large). I guess I didn’t fill you in too much on that trip, but it was so fast it seemed like I was hardly there. The first day Rob, Dan and I drove south two hours for fish’n chips – ask me about it sometime. That night we did the zippity quick tour of the aquarium, then crashed. Keep in mind that I had not really slept in almost 48 hours. Then on Friday, Rob and I wandered over through Manly and enjoyed the water, views and some excellant Mexican food.

Did I mention that Heidi and I were in Nova Scotia this past weekend for a well overdue visit home? It was excellant to sit at 130 MacKay street and relax even though the weather was less than perfect. Oh yes, lots of news coming up about trips, our house and the baby! But we’ll save that for next week. Smile.

Miracles

Well …. let’s see now … still not too much happening in our lives. Ouch! Heidi just hit me. Apparently she thinks that expecting our first child is big news. 🙂 Yipper. That’s right. It’s kind of hard NOT to be floating on air after finding out the most wonderful news that we’re expecting in late November. I think hearing that was probably the best news that I’ve heard so far this year – apologies to the other four siblings who are expecting. Heidi and I were at our first ultrasound last week and not only have a picture, but were able to hear the heartbeat and see it move. Wow! You can expect that this will likely bring about some changes to the website over the next few months. Be sure to keep up to date with the site because we have some things planned. In the meantime, what else is happening? Well, I’m leaving for Oz today (and Heidi for Maine). Heidi says she’s not coming because it’s just not warm enough for her. Ouch! Smile.

Expenses to Come

Long time – no update. I have to say that there hasn’t been all that much happening that is of consequence. Let’s see, hockey is done for the season, spring (summer?) is here with a temperature today of 88 degrees, I’ve been out on my bike this week for the first time this year, we’ve put in an offer in on a house …

Hold on a second. Hold on a second. The hockey is really done, but the summer season starts again in May. The motorbike does work great, but I’m not sure if I’ll be keeping it for any length of time, and the deal on the house didn’t acutally go through. Sound familiar?

See? Told you there was nothing too new happening. I did get to work with a friend today on house construction and decided I needed a career change. It was wonderful to be up on scaffolding with a nailgun and skill saw seeing things actually being done with our hands. Just wish sometimes that it could be our house … Smile!

Brazil by Storm

Brazil! Last week included a whirlwind trip down to Sao Paulo for work. It was wonderful flying back in, if only for a day and a half. I didn’t get to explore or relax at the beach this time, but it certainly brought back a lot of memories from our past trip. Heidi and I would love to do this again, but I suppose only our Father knows if this will happen.

Work has been absolutely crazy and consuming my days, with non-work issues being even worse. If work could have it their way, I would be in New York tomorrow, San Francisco the next day and Seattle on Thursday. With a schedule like this, I really would be getting no sleep. I guess in the end it doesn’t really matter though as I’ve probably only averaged 4 hours per night over the last week. Like I said, it truly would be nice to move to the Amazon in Brazil and hide for a decade or two.

No real news on the home front (no pun intended). We’ve been searching incessantly, but the Lord is not allowing us to find anything at the moment. What’s the real estate like where you live? Give me a call. Willing to entertain anything less than a small fortune. Smile all.

Visitors, Trips and Football

Since our Valentine’s Day skiing excursion, we’ve been busy with more company and more trips. Our first visitors were Kaitlyn and Gregory, who stayed with us while their Mommy and Daddy spent their anniversary up in New Hampshire. A fun time was had by all (at least we hope so)but with Mcdonald’s toys and rubber ducks, who wouldn’t?

As soon as Shawn and Lynn and family pulled out of the parking lot, we cleaned up, went grocery shopping, and got ready for the next batch. Six girls!! Leah Severance was home for a week’s visit, so the girls from Palmyra drove down to spend some time with her. Danny decided that he needed to get some things done at work, so unfortunately he missed the party! ;)Our neighbors weren’t incredibly happy with the turn of events and so our conversation and fun was somewhat limited. However, we still managed to play games and have a good chat.

The following week was normal, as far as normal goes, with Danny working more than eight hours a day. With a deadline of March 12th to meet, everyone at Watchfire was relentlessly trying to finish up last minute work. We looked at a few more houses, but nothing too promising caught our eye. Things didn’t slow down on the weekend either. Danny worked from 10am to about 9pm, while I tried my hand at sewing (don’t ask!).

We drove up to Ottawa on Sunday and spent the week there. Danny continued to work late almost every night, even though he found out that he was ahead of schedule! The deadline was pushed back another two weeks, so that gave him some room to breathe again!

We were both able to play some indoor soccer with co-workers from Watchfire on Thursday night. We won the game, but also found out how completely out of shape we were (I guess I can only speak for myself, Danny did very well!). Friday night was hockey night and on Saturday we headed home again. It was a leisurely drive, and we ended up stopping at some outlet stores in Massachusetts for a few hours. It was probably a bad idea, but it’s hard to resist a good bargain! Smile 🙂

It’s Betty

Brazil? I guess its been just a little while since I’ve put anything up here. I could offer up lots of excuses for that, but the bottom line is that when nothing exciting is happening in terms of travel or houses and stuff like that, I don’t seem to find the time to do the update. Regardless, the past month has been filled with the typical activities. Heidi was able to make it up to Nova Scotia for her grandfather’s 90th birthday and her cousin’s wedding shower, while I was working in Toronto that same weekend. Other than that, travel has been limited …

This past weekend, we were able to drive up to Vermont and meet with Shawn & Lynn and family, Mark & Lindsay and family, and ted & Julie. It was wonderful to spend some time together in a truly remarkable old farmhouse. The brothers all went skiing on Saturday, but other than that we sat and talked and just relaxed.

No wait! Heidi & I also went snowboarding together (her first time) at a local hill. I’m sure her account of the riding would be quite different than mine, but let me give you the facts. After making it to the top for the first time, I consulted with the trail map and decided to take her down a nice easy green trail. I must say that I was a bit perplexed at the level of difficulty of the trail, but nevertheless we made it down. When we made it to the bottom, I asked the lift guy what run we had gone down. He informed me that it was the most difficult diamond at the hill. Oops. Anyway, although Heidi was convinced I was trying to kill her, it did mean that she learned excellant control and her second run down the hill (on a green run) went excellant. I don’t know anyone who learned so quickly to ride in control. Who knows? Perhaps everyone should start their first run on a black diamond … Smile!

Sad Farewells

Sorry about that! I meant to do one last update from Brazil, but things got sort of hectic as the return date came closer and we never made it back to the internet cafe. Heidi and I thank the Lord that we made it home safely today after a wonderful two week trip.

So what happened in Brazil? I think you should now have a little flavor of what the local food is like. The last day in Brazil, we went out for BBQ with a local couple for the "best Rotisserie in Florianopolis". No arguements here! You name it. Filet Minion. Lamb. Steaks. Pork. And meats we’ve never heard of … all slow cooked over wood coals. They keep coming and coming around to the tables and slicing off the best cuts you can imagine. I’m more than sure it was one of the best meals I’ve had in my life. One other thing that Heidi said I should mention is that the meal and drinks are brought as they’re ready. This means that some at the table could be done, while others are just getting their food. It means that everything is hot, but is very different than here.

Activities. All is all, we spent most of our time relaxing on the beach or exploring. The only time we went into the city was for meeting. The more active days included volleyball, beach paddle ball, scuba diving (some pictures available), sand boarding and snorkeling. It might seem like we did a lot, but mostly we just swam, relaxed and visited.

Language. It’s truly amazing how much Portugese you pick up in so little time. Our honeymoon was spent in a Portugese country and we learned almost nothing because we kept to ourselves. However, by the end of this trip, we were ordering our food, bartering with the vendors, and picking out the threads of meeting in the local language. They have a CD of all the hymns in their hymn book which I was able to get in MP3 format as well as the hymn book to go along with it. If I set my mind to it, I think I could pick it up extremely quickly (but I’m leaning more towards learning Spanish at the moment). As it is, we picked up on probably over 100 key words and some butchered verb conjugation to go along with it. During the meeting breaks, we would sit around a table and communicate in mixtures of English, Portugese, Spanish and French. I would truly love to get a tape recording of some of these discussions.

Driving. Wow. Driving is not for the weak of heart in Florianopolis. As Heidi and I arrived and drove from the airport to our town in a taxi. It was with white knuckles that I noticed that our driver was doing 130 km/h in an 80 km/h zone, that would have been about a 40 here in America. The roads are narrow like England, and everyone passes everyone on any kind of road you can imagine. Blind curves. Double yellow lines. Oncoming traffic. No problem. Our taxi pulled out to pass someone with oncoming traffic only 100 – 150 metres away. Hey don’t worry. Everyone squeezes, closes their eyes, and hopefully the Lord brings you through safely. Throw into the mix that motorbikes have no sense of lanes and weeve in and out of traffic and down the center, and you have one crazy mess. The bike drivers are either incredibly skilled, incredibly stupid, or both … Speaking of which, one of the local brothers had a Yamaha Virago (my second bike) and he let me drive it after meeting one night. No worries anyone. I drove around the block and just followed the cars.

Weather and sunshine. With the exception of two days, the rest of time was beautiful and sunny with weather in the high 80’s to low 90’s during the day and dropping to mid 60’s in the evening. In my opinion, this is absolutely perfect weather for summer. The breeze off the ocean meant that you were never too hot, but still cool in the evening. I worried about us not having AC in our apartment at night, but there was never any need. I’m not a good guess of water temperature, but it was different depending on the location of the beach, and never too hot or cold. The main differences of the beach was simply on the size of the surf. One of the strange things about coming back to Boston (other than it was 6F when we got here and it was 80F when we left), is the daylight hours. I notice that the most. In Brazil, it was justing getting dark at 20:00 while it’s getting dark right now at 16:30. I suppose that’s the difference between winter and summer.

All in all, I think that Heidi and I agree that it was a fantastic vacation and I would recommend it to absolutely everyone. I haven’t even really touched on the local people in Brazil, but they were all so warm, friendly and hospitable that you felt instantly at home and welcome. They truly knew what it was to spend and be spent for us and it made the trip that much more wonderful. As many of them are new Believers, there was also such a wonderful spirit and fellowship that is difficult to describe. Suffice to say, that I’m thankful the Lord allowed this trip.

Many smiles to all. Don’t forget to look at the pictures.

New Year in Brazil

On to the third update from Brazil. If you haven’t read the previous two updates, you might want to go back to the archives and pick up on them …

I guess this update will be mostly about the meetings, people and conference here in Florianopolis. I wrote some quick notes about the first Lord’s Day, so I won’t go back over all that. Instead, I’ll start with the New Year’s Eve dinner at the house of one of the local brothers.

You should see the “dinners” of the locals. The amount of food and dessert is truly staggering. It was enough that they invited everyone back over the next day to help them eat it all. So back to New Year’s Eve …

Anyone can buy the most deadly and powerful fireworks at the local grocery store apparently. Throughout the day you get used to the gunshot like sounds every hour or so with a little more often at night. At 11:30, we headed down to the beach (50 metres away) for fireworks spectacular. Up and down the coast, for the following 45 minutes, as far as you could see, was one continuous fireworks show. Although there was an official show by one of the local hotels, it was no more or less spectacular than the fireworks display that you did not watch, but were immersed in by standing there. Apparently, everyone contributes and it truly is amazing …

In a heavily Catholic country, there are some traditions that have pagan origens. Firstly, everyone wears white on the beach and it is a seething mass of white. On the stroke of midnight, everyone runs into the water and jumps the first seven waves to bring good luck in the coming year. They also let loose little rafts with idols and roses on them and burning candles …. It was haunting to watch all these float out to sea …

The conference this past weekend was much like American conferences. One of the chief differences was that there was only 15 minutes between meetings instead of the usual 30. John Kemp was there and the meetings were half in english and half in portugese (but translated). The meetings were excellant with the readings taking up Hebrews 2.

I’m going to have to end this here because I’m getting kicked out of the cafe (closing). There will be more to come later. Smile all …