After a crazy busy spring, summer and early autumn, November unfolded far better than I had hoped. It offered a tranquil pace that I had yearned for, granting me the luxury of sleeping in my own bed every single night for the first time in over six months.

Adding to the relaxation, Richard surprised me by preparing dinners three nights a week. And to think, for a good chunk of our marriage, I didn’t even know that he could cook! #itsgoodtoasktherightquestions.

Still, there was quality time with friends.

And weekly outings with this familiar face.

There was much cozy reading in front of the fireplace. Okay, I didn’t usually have my red shoes on, but it did make a fun photo! Besides, I wanted to see if you were paying attention.

Although I didn’t do much hiking, I indulged in frequent local beach and neighborhood walks, savouring the diverse colours of autumn. The allure of mountains and water never fades. Although Richard, who grew up in BC, always asks what I am looking at when I stare in awe at the scenery!

And then, as if to prepare me for December, the pace of the past nine days revved up drastically. There was Bunco on Wednesday, the Qualicum Beach Evening Christmas Market on Thursday, Tom Lavin & the Powder Blues on Friday, more High Tea with Deb on Saturday morning (because we wanted to try out another local place…and we are firm believers that you cannot get enough of a good thing), granddaughter time on Saturday afternoon, Christmas decorating on Sunday, a video call with blogging friends on Tuesday, Christmas Charity Breakfast on Wednesday (see below) and our dog-walking group as well as this post going live today. But somehow, with the quietude of the earlier days this month, the busier days brought perfect balance.

While mentioning events from this past week, I’d like to give a shout-out to Parksville’s 15th Annual Toy Drive. Fully hosted by Tigh Na Mara Seaside Resort in partnership with several local businesses, media outlets and Parksville’s Society of Organized Services (SOS), this drive provides a complimentary all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet to everyone bringing an unwrapped toy, gift card or money donation to support families in need this holiday. Richard and I had early appointments yesterday morning, so we got to this event as soon as it opened at 6 am. Volunteers could not have been more welcoming. They were each beaming with pride at all that was being accomplished. Last year’s event hosted more than 1,000 guests with an equal number of toys donated. This year’s drive brought in cash donations totalling $30,000 as well as 2,500 gifts.During our visit, we reconnected with an old friend and engaged in captivating conversations with those seated near us. A win-win all around! Also worthy to note, last year’s event occurred during a snowstorm at -1C (30F), while this year brought dry, unseasonally warm weather at 6C (42.8F) rising to 9C (48.2F). For comparison, check out the bottom two photos, each captured from our living room window.

How was your November? I’m eager to hear about your experiences.

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