This is the 2nd post (the first post is here, if you missed it) taking a look back through my personal photo archives for pictures of our dear Karen, who we lost last week to cancer. As before, dates are approximate based on my shaky memory.
I chose a grouping from 2008 to 2015 for a couple of reasons. It's when informal Winesdays became the Winesday/MANday (Musical Appreciation Night) scheduled events. It's when I started blogging (2008) and when I really began to record events for posterity. If my memory is shaky now, I can't imagine how it will be in 10-20 years! It all kind of blurs together after a while (I see some of you nodding), and I wanted to be able to look back and really remember things.
Some of these events were blogged more fully in posts; I'll link where appropriate.
December 2009 - It's Festivus! We had a shiny pole, and had a "Feats of Strength" competition (arm-wrestling). Everyone got sick after this party - who knew all that hand-touching would...oh, yes, we all know this now. Original post here, although I barely posted any pictures of the actual party.
Some of the party attendees, including from left: my former boss, Joanne, Karen, Allison, former coworker Natasha (sitting), Chris, Sherylyn (just behind Chris), Caro and Yvonne.
Here's Karen about to wrestle Allison.
L and Nick facing off.
My photo labels tell me this is from June 2009, and it certainly looks like a party at our place. It's likely L's birthday.
I included this picture from January 2010 because it was one that both Karen and I found hilarious.
This is one of our Book Club meetings, in January 2010.
For L's 40th birthday in 2010, we threw a Miami Dolphins-themed party (link to my original post here). We decorated with aqua, orange and white streamers and balloons, and requested that all guests wear those colours.
Karen wore a gorgeous turquoise lace dress with pearl accents and an orange bracelet.
Karen's friend Yim and her husband Steve must have been in town.
A couple of shots of our dear couple.
My birthday party, in October 2010. I nabbed pictures of all my lovely female friends, but only joined in one.
Karen was queen of the fascinators, in addition to always having the perfect dress for any occasion!
December 2010 - must be one of our Christmas parties.
June 2011, likely another one of L's birthday parties.
This is from early August 2011, so this is probably a drink meet-up for Nick's birthday.
Who's taking the picture?
Spence, Kim and their daughter (they only had one then!) came over for a visit in August 2011, so of course we met up for brunch. This is at Milestone's, overlooking the harbour.
Looking across the table.
And back at my side of the table.
In April 2012, we wrangled a group of us to attend the Victoria Steam Expo, for all things steampunk (bigass post here). There are tons of pictures at that link, as we did an Absinthe Tasting on the Friday night, followed by Saturday daytime and evening events.
Karen and I went to the Saturday daytime expo together at the Empress Hotel. Don't we look smashing?
We met up with some of our friends at the Bengal Lounge in the Empress Hotel later on.
This is one of my favourite pictures of Nick and Karen.
One of Book Club meet-ups! We tend not to take pictures at Book Club - this is one that Kathryn hosted.
New Year's Eve, January 2013.
March 2013 - brunch at Swan's.
This in April 2013, on the steps of Victoria High School.
This is around the time that we started to officially plan all of our long weekends to include a hang-out with our Winesday/MANday crew, solidifying the "family we choose" ethic.
The whole gang: going clockwise, starting with Randall in the white shirt: Randall, Ross, Nick, L, Cat, Yvonne, me, Karen, Justin and Vero.
The gals hung out together first. Caro brought her "butt ruffle" (it's a purse!), which of course, we all had to try on.
Now that I see all these pictures together, it's the first time I've seen Karen repeat a dress!
|"Does this make my butt look big?"|
I'm not sure what Vero is doing, but we are all rather wacky folks, ha ha!
The menfolk joined us later. This is at Canoe Club on the water.
We always have such good times.
All of us again.
Somewhere in these years, our Winesday "Core Four" expanded from me, Cat, Caro and Vero to include Karen and Yvonne (the "Thick Six"). Winesdays are planned around us.
This is in October 2013, from Chris' surprise birthday party at the Bard & Banker Pub.
- In front: Chris, Ali, Caro.
- Middle: Karen, Nick, Casey, Yvonne, Vero, me, Cat
- Back: Randall, L, Ronnie, Justin, Ross and Andrew
My birthday party in October 2013 was legendary (original post link here). It was a 70s-themed party.
But wouldn't you know, someone let the punk rockers in!
Karen never went for half-measures, from her punked-out eye make-up to her safety pin "piercings".
Nick is English (sexy accent and all).
Me and Karen - I know this is one of Randall's shots, because I was definitely too tipsy to take any!
Another shot by Randall.
All the women at the 70s party.
My wonderful girlfriends nominated me for the Annual (which turned out to be a one-off) Unlimited Woman Awards as an Unlimited Woman of Style. We all went to the awards at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, in November 2013 (original post here). I didn't win, but we had a blast.
After the awards, we made nuisances of ourselves in the lobby of the hotel.
And there's Yvonne (that's her wedding dress!) and Tracy.
Many thanks to the OBBH employee who volunteered to take pictures of us.
Wait, let me get comfortable.
From the event photo-booth.
I so love this wonderful group of women, with all my heart.
Our New Year's Eve seeing in 2013 was spent at Cafe Brio.
We went to our first Victoria Film Festival Gala - at Elaine's instigation - in February 2014 (massive post here, so many pictures!).
Nick and Karen - another pic from Randall.
A Winesday picture from May 2014.
This is probably a Book Club, from August 2014.
In October 2014, L and I threw a big Hallowe'en party (link here).
Karen did steampunk.
One of my coworkers gave me a gift certificate for a 6-person limo ride - Jordan, I remain eternally grateful to you and Katrina for gifting that to me. I booked in in March 2015, and it is one of our most memorable Winesday Women events, ever. Original post here, loads more pictures.
It was a rainy day, but we started our morning with "special" coffees in the limo.
Me, attempting to do a selfie (poorly).
We stopped at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel to use the washrooms.
And we drove to the top of Mt. Tolmie.
Outside the Garrick's Head, at the end of our 2-hour tour around the city (of which we saw very little, due to the rain).
An annual event we do is L's birthday week Day of Indolence. This is from June 2015 (link here, oodles of pictures of our adventures).
Moving on to the Delta's patio.
Nick moved in for a hug.
We do love to take silly pictures.
Do we have enough mojo for one more action shot?
I made a fan for Karen, completed in 2015 (here, progress and completed pictures).
I don't know what month is was, but it's summer 2015 and we're in Marian's hot tub!
August 2015 - definitely a Winesday, and it's at my house.
So much love. Please raise a glass: To the Family We Choose!
My next and final post for Karen will go up on Sunday, and will cover from 2016 to the present.
Just beautiful. You chose your family well. There is so much love, happiness, energy and fun in these photos. I am sure she will be terribly missed, but what memories you have to help with your grief. Thank you for sharing this. Lynette xReplyDelete
Thank you, Lynette. Writing these and sharing my pictures is helping me process my grief and reminds me how lucky I've been.Delete
Oh my! The smiles, the joy, and the energy are wonderful and feel very special. A life well lived; she is always with you just in a different way. As Lynette said thank you for sharing.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Laurel. Yes, we have so many good memories of our time. So many great times!Delete
What totally fabulous photos! And what a beautifully stylish woman Karen was. At least as well as your memories you have these wonderful photos to look back on.ReplyDelete
She was amazing, Vronni, and we miss her so. I'm glad I have done these posts, to remember her by.Delete
I've really enjoyed seeing these photos, Sheila. It must have taken you ages (and many tears) to decide which ones to share. What a lovely (and happy) way to remember Karen. xxxReplyDelete
Ha, this is almost all of them, Vix. I don't take pictures at every event, so the few I have are precious. Thank you, my dear.Delete
What a lovely way to remember and appreciate the time you spent together. I can imagine it would have been bittersweet for you to go through your photo archives and select these photos, but I'm sure this is helping you in your grief! Sending lots of hugs xxxReplyDelete
It was hard to go through them, Ann. It has really helped me, though. Thank you, my dear friend.Delete
It's so good you have all these pics to look back on and while you have shared your adventures on your blog over time as they happened it's so nice seeing all the pics together. What a great group of friends, I know Karen will be missed very much.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Mica, I agree. I love seeing all my wonderful friends, and remembering all the good times. We miss her so much.Delete
What a wonderful tribute. I'm sure you both laughed and cried putting this together. Hugs.ReplyDelete
I did, thank you, Nana.Delete
When we lose someone close, pictures like this become incredibly important. They're a way to hang on to past experiences. Thanks for sharing these; your friends sure know how to have fun.ReplyDelete
We really do, Ally! It's been so therapeutic to go through these and remember everything.Delete
The family we choose- these people are so special to us!ReplyDelete
Shiela, I loved seeing your lovely photos and all the party fun you and your friends had! X
I'm so grateful for them all, Jess. Thank you.Delete
what a beautiful family you choose! You have had some fantastic moments together your family of friends.... I'm sure you'll have many more and Karen will be there with you in spirit. When we love someone, they are always there with us in a way. This is a wonderful tribute to Karen. I loved seeing you and your friends in all of them. Karen looked incredible in her punk rock and steam punk outfits, she dressed up so well.ReplyDelete
I so agree, Ivana. We've been so lucky and this only increases my gratitude and appreciation for the times we still have. She will always be with us.Delete
I know, I love those two dress-up events. What a badass!
Gosh it must be hard for you to write these post. It s hard for me and I didn t even knew her. But I cant deal with dead anyway. I hate it when people who are so lovely pass away to early. But the parties you have with your friends are amazing! I would love to go to parties like that!ReplyDelete
It's hard, but it's also good, Nancy. It's helping me work through this, and it's good for those who knew her (and those who didn't) to remind us to never take our time for granted. Our parties are legendary.Delete
More lovely pictures - thank you for sharing them, Sheila. What a wonderful "family"!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Alli. They sure are.Delete
What a wonderful family of friends, I adore this. And Karen's smile just shines through.ReplyDelete
She was such a beautiful light, Krysten. Thank you.Delete
Oh what a wonderful group of friends. I got all choked up. And how you must miss Karen. Such a wonderful unique person who really got into the dressing up thing, you are so fond of.ReplyDelete
Lovely tribute Sheila.
They really are amazing, Greetje, I love them all so much. Thank you.Delete
what a wonderful post!, love the idea of our friends as 'the family we choose' as it's so damn true, and it's so moving too!ReplyDelete
besos & abrazos
Thank you, Monica - these people are my family, truly.Delete
thank god for your blog dear friend<3 xoxocaroReplyDelete
HUG, thanks, honey-bun.Delete
Karen and Nik were stellar at putting together outfits for themed events! I would imagine her absence will leave a sizeable hole in the lives of those who loved her. Thank goodness you captured so many of the times you were together on film. I remember when a very dear friend of mine passed away in his 30's I searched everywhere for any photo I had of the two of us together and unfortunately, there weren't very many.ReplyDelete
Yes, they were such a good pair for any dress-up event! She does leave a huge hole, Shelley, and I'm so happy I took a lot of pictures. Oh no, that would be the worst! I'm so sorry.Delete
So many good times Sheila :)ReplyDelete
We were so lucky. We still are.Delete