Friday, December 7, 2012

Tied the Knot!

It's official.  Johnathan James Cornelius Venner is mine, for keeps!

The wedding was a blast, and perfectly imperfect.  I'm pretty sure if anything ever went smoothly for us, hell would freeze over. 

John and I flew down a few days before the wedding. 
Wednesday, we met the Officiant, checked in with the florist, and picked up our wedding license. 
Thursday were the bachelor/bachelorette parties. 
Friday- Recouperate. 
Saturday- W day.  Pretty much a day of hurry up, and wait. 

It started pretty early, due to stomach problems.  By seven I decided sleep was not gunna happen and was debating what to do.  Thankfully, Jessica heard me moving around and offered to go downstairs with me to get coffee.  We sat outside, and chatted with a man who happened to be there.  His daughter had gotten married recently and we were discussing the cost of weddings.  I think that was the last peaceful part of my day.  We headed back in and met all the girls in the hair salon.  I got eyelash extensions, makeup and hair done.

In an effort to make everyone feel included I invited mom to get ready with me.  The downside of this was how long we had to wait.  Instead of feeling excited, I just felt anxious that I was torturing my bridesmaids and mom.  I did a lot of pacing, walking up and down the hallways and staring out the window.  When our photographer got done with the guys, she came and did the "getting dressed" pictures and a few in the hotel room.  We bailed after that and went down to the lobby to wait for the limo.  Almost ran John and his groomsmen because they were chilling down there too. 

We took a couple pictures in the casino for giggles and then piled into the limo. 

Once we were at the Springs Preserve, we got to wait some more.  Again, more torturing the girls with boredom.

We decided to do pictures before the wedding, in order to avoid some of that downtime between the ceremony and the reception.  The problem with that is, the big reveal is sort of blown, right?  WRONG!  One of my high school friends had this great picture from her wedding where she and her groom were separated by a corner of a building so they couldn't see each other, while holding hands.  Instead of doing that, parting, and having the reveal at the ceremony, we just stepped forward after the picture and had the reveal then.

John was really handsome that day.... and sweaty, haha.  It was Vegas in September, not a big surprise that it was still hot.  We did our group shots and then made our way to the ceremony site.  This is when the fun started.  The wedding planner lined the girls up in a place we hadn't practicedm and they didn't worry about moving me forward off the dirt.  Instead of being fluffed and ready to walk, I had to carry my train until I got to the walkway, and when I did put it down, the bustle came undone... partway.  My maid of honor had to book it back and help me get rigged up again.  Through this, the people sitting in the last few aisles got to watch the comedy act. 

Dad and I made it down the steps fine, but when I looked up at John, the color had drained from his face.  It looked, to me, like he was ready to run for the hills.  Despite that, and the sun blinding us, we made it through the ceremony (all five minutes of it- dad timed us).  When we had made our exit and hugged John's dad, he explained the awesome reaction he had.  As I turned and looked up, he realized we forgot our wedding license back in our hotel room...

From there, I found out I didn't have a garter to toss, thanks to some very inconvenient misunderstandings. But all hope was not lost.  After dinner, Amanda, John's younger sister, drove back to The Flamingo with the wedding planner and got both our license and... something for me to toss.  The lady at the adult store told Amanda it was a box of 2 garters, but it was actually 2 thongs....  It wasn't a garter, but it was pretty funny anyway.

So, that's it!  We partied until they kicked us out.  We've been married just over two months, and it's been great.  Quite similar to before we got married, but now I get to call him hubby.  The honeymoon was wonderful, which did not make it any easier to come home to "life as usual" and snow.  We met a couple down there which made it even more fun.  I don't suggest laying by the pool, drinking, and skipping lunch.  Bad decisions get made. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Nothing feels different....  on February 11th, 2012 John and I drove down to the border and did my "landing."  Since then I have gotten my Permanent Residence Status, Social Insurance Number, adjusted my Alberta Health status, and gotten my Alberta driver's license.... 

So why don't I feel like I've accomplished anything???  I really thought I would feel more relief or excitement... Maybe after I get a career?  Maybe if our lawyer hadn't lost some of our extremely sentimental letters? Yeah, that could be part of it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


John and I flew down to Kansas the 23rd of November.  American Thanksgiving and Mom's Birthday; two birds, one trip.  Actually, three birds; we got my Visitor Record on our way through immigration, coming home.

Thanksgiving was delicious.  I think we are all becoming fans of smoked turkey, especially, Mom and me.  Pop it in the oven to heat up, and pull it out.  Done.  Mom had done some pre-emptive cooking, so all the sides were about as easy as the turkey.  We changed up the seating arrangements this year, which I thought would encounter some resistance but much to my surprise, it went smoothly.

With the meal prepared and the seating figured out, we sat down to an extremely peaceful dinner.  If there was conversation, I missed it.  I single mindedly dug into green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, potatoes and gravy, and mom's family tradition : Cranberry Fluff.

In the days following, we hung garland and lights, put up an artificial tree and ate turkey sandwiches.  Whenever I go home, I find myself drawn to the back room where my sister's possessions reside.  There are boxes of what I consider to be, life's debris.  Pictures, receipts, letters, notes, clothing tags, instruction manuals, and tickets.  In this way, Kandace and I are very similar.  Not quite the pack rats we could be, but unwilling to toss tangible reminders.  I sorted a few boxes but without the feeling of accomplishment.  It's not enough.  I thought I would get to know more about her via what she kept but I now realize that isn't going to happen.

Her journals would be the direct connection to what I'm looking for, but Kandace was a very private person.  I doubt she would want every thought, concern and opinion read like a tabloid magazine.  Mine are set up as records so that one day my children and family will have that insight into my life.  Not quite a biography, just... me. On paper.  Now I just have to get back to writing in it.

With another trip at an end, I shut the door to the back room and got back to present issues.
We flew home the 27th and were met by severe winds in Calgary.  We were warned that if they didn't die down a bit, we would be rerouted to Edmonton which would make for a very long day.  Twelve planes before us were turned away, but as we approached, the pilots got the go-ahead.  I will summarize the landing by telling you what a flight attendant told us; "We never should have landed."  There is a video clip they have been playing on the weather channel, of a plane landing.  Without a word of a lie, I think it's the one that touched down after us.  It was sideways as it approached the runway, and straightened out just as it touched down... I didn't feel any sideways action, but there was plenty of surging, tipping and dropping.

After that experience you would think I'd be numb, but I still had enough nerves in me to make going through immigration a stressful experience.  It went well, which was to be expected, since we are almost all the way through the process.  The agent handling us was not convinced we satisfied the 'common-law' aspect but we had the letter, stating we had fulfilled the requirements. She gave us the Visitor Record and sent us on our way.

Monday, John emailed it to our lawyer who will pass it on the the Border Agent overseeing our case.  This is the last piece of legal documentation that we needed.  Fingers crossed for a speedy reply.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Friday the 28th of October, John called me with news.  The border agent who is handling our case had contacted our lawyer.

"I have now had an opportunity to examine the additional evidence submitted under cover of your letter dated 29 March 2011, a task made more difficult and time-consuming because it included a good deal of extraneous documents which did not relate to Ms Fisher's residence with Mr Venner, her sponsor.  However, there was sufficient relevant material to make a determination that their relationship does meet the regulatory definition of a common-law partnership, particularly if we are willing to include time not strictly within the period up to the lock-in date.  It is hoped, therefore, that we can proceed without the need for an interview."

He goes on to say that we need to acquire a Visitor Record and after that it looks pretty good.

This is all very positive, except for one small detail... Our lawyer's assistant has been the only person doing anything for us. That wouldn't be a problem but he has a VERY strong Asian accent. He told us a while ago that we needed a "Weezaderecard'. John understood this as Visa Direct Card. We couldn't find anything on it and he never mentioned it again.

If we had Visitor Record explained to us, we could have had one from the beginning maybe we could have had a 'yes' instead of a "probably." Could have freaked out if I had been anywhere near our man. Especially since we could have gotten the record coming over the border on our way home from my cousin, Jake's wedding but we didn't get notified until 3 days after we were back. Yay.

I can't tell you what a relief it will be to finally have an answer.  I already feel the tightness, that has been inhabiting my chest since last November, beginning to ease.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Not even sure where to start...

The last time I looked at this, John and I were getting ready to submit the immigration paperwork.... That was a while ago.  John got approved to sponsor me superquick and it moved onto Buffalo and then Seattle.  We were asked for more information and thought, "This is going so fast!"  I'm pretty sure that is when we jynxed ourselves...

So, now we are waiting... somewhat patiently.  I'm bored and frustrated while John is like the Virgin Mary; just waiting patiently, checking with our immigration lawyer everyonce in a while. 

I'm watching time pass.  It's getting to be Autumn again.  The breeze is getting crisp and cool.  Every evening feels like Halloween.  I almost picked up corn stalks but figured I needed to wait until October 1st at least.  John and I were sitting by a campfire a few nights ago;  It was wonderful.  We had s'mores and spiderdogs.  Mostly, I enjoyed the contrast between the heat on my face and the cool around me.  Well, at least until we had to leave, which is when we got to find out just how cold it was getting.  By the time we got home, the temperature read-out in the car said 2 degrees celsius.  Yikes. 

Another sign of the changing seasons was having our softball tournament.  The team didn't do too well, but we were missing a few of our seasoned players.  Game over for the summer (Joey and I are breathing a sigh of relief).  The perk is that badminton and volleyball are starting up.  Technically badminton was last wednesday but we forgot.  Those will keep us occupied until summer comes back....

I feel like winter didn't end that long ago... why is summer over already?  Oh yeah, I'm in Canada....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Keeping Occupied

Winter has the ability to cut down on what activities you can do; it's no different up North. The big difference is who you know. John introduced me to badminton and a volleyball league, and Katherine got us involved in caving and climbing. John and I have discovered a mutal love of skiing and cat tree construction (minus snipping off the pad of my finger).

While there are only so many cat trees you can build for one apartment, there is always something else to do. Some days it's harder to come up with something than others, but even sitting at home watching movies and playing with our cats, has it's appeal.

The first day we went to badminton, I just wanted to sit on the sidelines and learn the rules. I wore jeans to further illustrate my resolve to not play. Despite my efforts, I was talked into picking up a racked and making a few swipes at birdies. That was 4-5 months ago.

Last wednesday, the older gentlemen who are the heart and soul of our badminton team, had nothing but praise for my improvement! I have a relatively awesome serve, I think about placement instead of just hitting the birdie, and I can apply strategy to my game! As long as the guys don't hit shots right at me I can usually return them!

As for volleyball, the last time I had played was sometime during high school gym class. That's about five years ago! While not excellent, I'm not terrible either. Last week our team of misfit players were kicking some ass! Our serves were awesome, our rally's were impressive and our setups for spikes were improving! It helps to have tall, talented players, haha.

Skiing was my thing in high school. Captain of the girl's team senior year and MVP a few of the years. I did Slalom and GS. I even had the GS suit! Not the most flattering thing in the world. ANYWAY, again, it has been over five years since I participated in this sport. I had developed this mindset that skiing was a waste of time. You go up, just to go down again. Followed by heading back up, just to come down again. What's the point, right? Guess what, they were right; it's all in the location. Kim, one of the guys from badminton, suggested Castle Mountain. Not only is it cheaper than Lake Louise, it's not as touristy or expensive! The view was spectacular and the runs were challenging and "at your own risk." An amazing experience!

The experience that was not so amazing came during the construction of our 'cat tree.' After much debating over design, materials, and time; we finally started construction. Having accomplished fairly little, I managed a slip with a pair of scissors. The twine I was about to cut, leapt out of the way, and in saving itself, sacrificed the pad of my finger. John assures me it wasn't that bad, and at least it was a clean slice; but I will tell you, that did not make me feel any better. (When you can see a vein under the tiniest bit of remaining flesh, nothing will make you calmer). Not having the optional hospital visit scared the crap out of me. "What if it gets infected? I can't clean it, it hurts too much. Is it supposed to look like that?"

John's calm presence was a lifesaver. If he had acted worried, I might have passed out. As it was he got to see the wimpiest side of my personality. "But it's my finger!!!" The crying, the blood rushing out of my facing, and ending up on my back on the bathroom floor cradling the finger he had just bandaged. Yeah, I'm awesome. Alright, I think that's all for now!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Six Feet Under

No one has died, no worries. Six Feet Under is on, I've started watching it again. Mom and I tried to watch it when it first aired on TV (I was kind of a morbid kid). Anyway, we didn't make it very far. Shaw has episodes 27-3o something, so I missed a big chunk of story.

I've been feeling a bit six feet under. Not sick or anything, just down. I don't feel like I'm qualified for any jobs. I didn't take enough specific courses so I'd actually have a strong base to work off of. I've been applying to different jobs, haven't heard back.

I couldn't sleep last night. Started worrying about my car. I need to call my car insurance company to keep my coverage. I need to get a job so I can get my car insured in Canada. I need to get the car imported, and an out of province inspection done. It always comes back to the job...

John is being supportive and not pressuring me. I appreciate it. I appreciate my parents for helping support me during this transition. I appreciate my siblings for their advice and for listening to my concerns.

So here I am. Way up north, but six feet under