With temperatures hovering around 13C, we figured we had no choice but to take Jackie to Risser's Beach for a walk. As it turned out, we had the whole beach to ourselves so were able to let her run off leash for much of our time there, which - needless to say - she loved.
I'd taken my Nikon with me but was too focused on spending quality time with puppy and Husband to break it out. In any case, my iPhone did an okay job in the bright light of midday.
By the time we made it home, we had just enough time to tackle a few chores and squeeze in a short visit with my folks before picking up these two sweeties for a sleepover.
Our evening with them was heaps of fun. We started by making homemade chicken tacos for supper, then filled travel mugs with hot chocolate and marshmallows and headed downtown to take in the local Santa Clause parade, followed by some fabulous firework. Once home, we cooked up some popcorn, played Jenga and read two books together before the girls finally tumbled into bed around 10:00 pm.
It would have been an almost perfect day but for one thing. We learned this morning that my mum's last remaining sibling, our dear Aunt Marg, passed away last night. She was 92 years old and had been ill with cancer for some time so the news wasn't a surprise. Against all odds, she'd hung on long enough to celebrate her birthday on Wednesday before lapsing into unconsciousness the next day and slipping away around 2:00 am.
I spent a lot of time thinking about Aunt Marg as we rushed from one activity to another today - remembering our visits with her over the years. She was an extraordinary person in many ways but two things stand out for me. The first was how bright and intellectually engaged she remained to the very end of her life. She never stopped learning about topics of interest to her and loved nothing more than discussing what she learned with others. The second was her determination to care for herself physically and mentally through diet and regular exercise. I'll never forget how impressed I was when she took up biking and cross-country skiing in her sixties when she began having heart issues. What a wonderful role model - proof positive that fitness can be gained at any age.
So, as I head off to sleep tonight, I'm filled with mixed emotions - deep sadness about Aunt Marg's passing mixed with intense gratitude for a day filled with some of the people and places I love best.