Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays Everyone!!

Happy Holidays Everyone!!
Photo by Alan MacLeod. Uploaded by Mary Sanseverino
If you're lucky enough to be outdoors, you're lucky enough! Mike and I have indeed been lucky in 2010. No big trips or bike rides across a continent, but 2010 saw us out almost every weekend with friends to ramble in the mountains, bicycle the trails, photograph wild flowers, and explore new routes in our local hills.

Stopping for tea in the sun
Winter hiking with Jan and Alan.
This year I was particularly lucky in being able to escape outdoors as work became even busier than usual. I took on a directorship at UVic that keeps me tied to the office for long hours each week. I've had wonderful recognition for my efforts (was awarded a major academic teaching prize in 2010), but I'll be so glad when spring gets here and Mike and I can go on study leave. As of May 1 we're planning on spending time in Scotland where I have an appointment with the University of Glasgow. And, even better, when I return to work at UVic I'll come back at 50% time and will be just a few short years away from the holy grail of full retirement!

This past year Mike has had even more opportunity than me to get out into the hills. He's gone out several times with POP (Preserve our Parks) on route-finding and cleanup operations, put in trails with a group of retirees (he had to work hard to keep up!), and convinced friends and family to follow him into the mountains without me. Mike is the one leading the charge to find and explore "lifers" -- hikes and climbs we've never done before.

Janice's new house in Revelstoke
On the family front my sister Janice decided to try her hand at general contracting as she sold her existing duplex, bought a chunk of land, got it rezoned, got it serviced, went down to Rona Building Supplies and bought a house, had it delivered, and then constructed it. She did all this in about six months. She now has a beautiful house of her own -- no more sharing a wall with neighbours she didn't select! Check out the images at

In 2010 we were able to spend time with Mike's family. In November we went with Marion (Mike's Mom), and brother Eoin to cousin Emma Roberts' wedding in Seattle. Marion got to see her brother Don and meet her latest grandchild Taylor (Mom: Rita, Dad: Mike's brother Arthur). The wedding was a huge success and we caught up with many of Mike's cousins. Mike's brother Steve and sister-in-law Karolle made it out from Quebec, so it was almost a full family reunion. Just missing brother Dave, who stayed in Canada to guard the home front.

Lunch time in the meadow
Al, Mike, and Irene at Callaghan
Lake Provincial Park
We spent Thanksgiving at Whistler with Mike's uncle Al, aunt Irene, and cousins Charlotte and Toria -- we had such a good time we're heading back for Christmas. It's shaping up to be a Whitney Wing-ding with Whitneys arriving from all over.

2010 had a sad note as the last of Dad's brothers and sisters died this year -- Uncle Nick in early spring, and Aunt Mary later in the year. Uncle Nick was just shy of 100 and Aunt Mary was in her late 90's. Both had active, engaged, full lives . Like Dad, they never missed an opportunity to seize the day! I think we should follow their examples and make that a motto to live by.

John, Lisa, Mary, Mike
John and Lisa with Mike and Mary,
hiking on Mt. Work
And speaking of seizing -- Mike had a big event this year -- in June he turned 50. We had a birthday bash, and about 30 friends came to toast and roast Mike as he officially entered "middle age". Please feel free to refer to him in all future correspondence as 'Old Man' Whitney.

Both Mike and I were lucky enough in 2010 --lucky to have fine friends and family to share adventures with; lucky to have good health; and lucky to live in a place with wide open spaces just around the bend. And, as we count our blessings, we are lucky enough to count you as our friends and to wish you and your family a Happy New Year, and the best of what life has to offer in 2011.

Carpe diem (Seize the day)!
Mary and Mike

Looking west down Sandcut Beach