Thursday, October 28, 2010

Heard Museum, Phoenix

Following the advice of a couple of blogger friends (Lucy and Brenda) who live in the Phoenix area, Lloyd and I did a field trip to the world famous Heard Museum in Phoenix this afternoon.

It's a beautiful museum, established by the Heards in the 1920's and is devoted to the history and artifacts of the native peoples of the Southwest. If you click on this picture to enlarge it, you can read about the founders, Maie and Dwight Heard.

The exhibits and displays were beautiful. We took a guided tour of it and then wandered through the individual special exhibits ourselves. Here is some of what we saw.

This display was of interest to to Lloyd because it mentions the Dine (Navajo) people of Arizona, who are related to the Dene people of Northern Alberta, who Lloyd has been working with for the past 17 years.

This statue is at the entrance to the museum. It represents the native people on the southwest.

Baby carriers from hundreds of years ago.

This is a portion of a long piece of wall depicting a desert fence. These were originally made from the spines of old saguaro cacti. The modern ones shown here are made of clay, sticks and blown glass. Very beautiful when you see the entire wall.

An attempt at capturing the beauty of the entire wall.

These next two pictures were taken in a special exhibit of blown and sand etched glass created by an amazing native American artist. After I took these two pictures, the security guard came and very nicely told me that we were not supposed to take any pictures in the glass I stopped taking any more. Pity - the exhibit was the most beautiful I've seen.

These two masks were in a dark area, on a black wall. Each mask was backlit with what looked like flames behind the glass. Only by looking very carefully could you make out the shape and features of the faces. Very impressive glass blowing.

This is a little boy's outfit - several hundred years old. A lot of fancy beadwork for a child's outfit that he would probably outgrow within a year.

Another special exhibit there was the Andy Warhol one, with his famous Campbell soup can redone with a southwest indian twist.

I loved the colors in this one - it's actually a replica of the Indian head nickle if you look closely.

We saw so much more there that I didn't try to photograph. It's well worth the trip to go see the museum next time any of you are near Phoenix. We also drove around the neighbourhood around the museum. It's historical houses from the 1920s and 1930s. Very beautiful. Every two years they are open for tours. The next tour is on mine and Lloyd's 40th wedding anniversary - March 27, 2011. Maybe we'll be able to go.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Day With Daniel

The reason (excuse?) we're down here in Arizona this week is so that Lloyd, as CEO of NPTC, and his nephew Mark (IT Guy for NPTC)

can meet with Les (Remote Computer Consultant)

to work on reconfiguring the Tribal Council's technology needs. Mark brought his 14-year old son Daniel, who has Downs, with him. So while the guys were working in our dining room, Dan and I hung out in the back yard.

Daniel tells stories. He kept me entertained for a couple of hours with reports of the movies he's watched, stories about his imaginary girlfriend Britany, and jokes. Although I had to strain at times to understand all he was saying, he was great company and we spent a fun afternoon together.

Although it was almost 80F outside, our pool heater is broken so the water was too cold for wimps like us to go swimming. The temptation was too much for Dan though and after awhile he whipped his shirt off, followed by his shoes and socks, and rolled up his jeans and sat dangling his feet in the cold water. Of course, I followed his example (except for the shirt-taking-off part) and we sat and kicked water at each other.

When the guys were finished their meeting, they came out and joined us for awhile, and Lloyd got the camera and took the pictures posted here.

Today Daniel is excited to be going golfing with his dad and Uncle Lloyd while I'm staying at the house waiting for someone to come and fix the pool heater and service the AC...and I'm scrapbooking while I'm waiting, so I'm a happy camper.

It feels good to be here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


"Reflect upon your present blessings - of which every man has many - not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some."
Charles Dickens

Sitting by the pool last night, with the backlights on,
I was able to capture in the still water of the pool, the reflections of the palms.

And again early this morning, the reflections were again easily captured.

"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves,
and not to twist them to fit our own image.
Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them."

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Perils of Flying Separately

The following was written while I sat in the San Francisco airport yesterday. Although I was hooked to the WiFi, I was unable to get it posted. So I'll post it today so you can sympathize with me.

Oct. 24, 2010 (Lloyd's birthday)

Usually I enjoy flying. Just 3 hours gets me out of the frozen north that is Edmonton in winter and into the balmy heat of Arizona.

Not so much today. For one thing, I'm alone. Lloyd's assistant booked his flight and I booked mine using Air Miles. I managed to sync my flights so that we left and arrived within half an hour of each other so we could travel to and from the airport together.

We didn't take the weather and connector flights into consideration though. Lloyd was an hour late arriving in Phoenix because of a delay in Calgary, but that was all right because I got stuck in foggy, rainy San Francisco.

San Francisco Airport - Oct. 24, 2010

We were held up sitting on the tarmac in Edmonton for an hour because of the foggy and congested conditions in San Francisco, then had to circle the SF airport for awhile before we could land, and by then my connector flight had left without me and a bunch of other people.

At the time of this writing, I'm on standby on a flight that leaves 7 hours from now. If I can't get on that one, I'm confirmed on one that leaves at 10:30 tomorrow morning!! Sleeping in an airport will be a new and exciting (?) experience for this 62-year old grandmother! We'll hope I get on standby. Hundreds of people are frantically trying to find their way out of SF - all planes arriving and departing are late because of the dense fog and rain.

I thought I'd make the best of a bad situation and walk around the terminal taking pictures of interesting sights, but after two pictures, my camera's battery died and my arthritic knees were yelling at me to sit down already.

Meantime, in Phoenix, Lloyd has decided to hang out at the airport until he hears whether or not I get on standby tonight. Our van is parked at the Phoenix airport but the keys to it are in my purse here with me! If I can't get out of SF until tomorrow, he'll take a cab home to Surprise and come back for me tomorrow after picking up our spare van keys there. We are not happy campers! Thank goodness we have cell phones and have been able to keep in touch via texting through all of this.

We have vowed NEVER to travel separately on vacations ever again...and we'll use direct flights!!


October 25.

All is well in Camelot! After a very stressful and extremely exhausting day I was incredibly relieved to hear my name called for standby - I even had a great aisle seat, just as I had originally booked. Finally at 10:30 last night we got to our Surprise home, after being in airports and planes since 5:30 that morning.

I was very impressed with the United Air customer service people. They were inundated all day with upset passengers but were very courteous and friendly with me and did their best to see that I got where I was going.

I hope travelling home on Hallowe'en is easier. At least I don't have to worry about being fogged in in San Francisco. What can go wrong with a Minneapolis layover??? We'll think positive and say "Absolutely nothing".

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bumbo Baby

I love the Bumbo - that soft molded chair for infants. It's molded so well to their little bodies that as soon as they can hold their heads up comfortably they can sit in it and participate in family life. Baby Quinn has been using hers for several weeks now - she'll be three months old in three days.

Baby Quinn at 2 months

We don't leave her in it for more than 5 - 10 minutes at a time. I like putting her on the kitchen table so she's on our level and we can talk to her face to face. One of the nice things about the chair is that it leaves her hands free to play with toys. These pictures, taken yesterday, show her first attempt to actually hold a toy and bring it to her mouth. Her eyes look tired because it was 4:30 pm and the little monkey had been up since 4:30 am with only about a half hour sleep in between. A very unusual day for her sleep-wise.

She's our little Bumbo baby.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Favorite Places - 2 - Niagara Falls

In our travels from one end of Canada to the other, we stopped a couple of times at Niagara Falls. Although very much commercialized and touristy, the sheer power and size of the falls makes you realize that all of the man made trappings surrounding it are minor compared to the power of nature.

I wasn't as much into documenting our every movement in photos back then so there's lots of things I remember from those trips to Niagara Falls that I have no photo memory of - things like going through the tunnel that comes out behind a part of the falls, and visiting the museum and seeing the mummys there, of Lloyd and the kids (except for the two smallest who gave me an excuse for avoiding it) riding on the tallest ferris wheel I've ever seen. Guess I'll just have to go back again just so I can get those 'missed' pictures :)

This first picture was taken in 1982 when we were moving from Saskatachewan to Nova Scotia and detoured to Niagara Falls. There's only six kids there because Emily wasn't born until 1986. With such a handful of young children, on that trip we had a buddy system whereby every child was assigned a buddy and never went off on their own. Mary, the youngest, couldn't say 'buddy' so instead called Jenny, the oldest girl, her 'bunny'. That term stuck around our family for a long, long time.

Rob, with 'buddy' Mike, Jenny with 'bunny' Mary, Sara and 'buddy' Amy.

Amazing power of the falls

Sara, Lloyd and Emily on Emily's 13th birthday, May 19, 1999

It was chilly and the mist from the falls obscured our view of the beautiful Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side of the river.

Lloyd and me - 1999

The Maid of the Mist and the smaller American falls.

Because it was Emily's birthday when we were in Niagara Falls, as a birthday gift she and I rode on the Maid of the Mist - a scary, exciting, and very wet experience. It was amazing to look up and see nothing but the millions of tons of water crashing down right beside us. We were all given raincoats as we boarded the boat but we still got quite wet.

Emily, in raincoat, on the Maid of the Mist

So that was my last trip to Niagara Falls. It was never our main destination - just a stop-over on our way home to Nova Scotia and back to home in Alberta - but it's sure worth the detour.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Play Wit' Me Grammie

I spend four days a week taking care of four of my grandchildren. My days are fairly quiet with the two older ones at school all day. A lot of my time is spent holding, feeding, changing the almost 3-month old Quinn. Elly gets restless waiting for me to have time for her and is always saying "play wit' me Grammie". It's a request that has to be taken seriously because if left to her own devices she is drawn like a magnet to markers, pens, paints, pencil crayons...anything that will make a mark on something - walls, paper, furniture, name it. I've brought crayons and coloring books for her, paints and painting books. Her mother bought her a ream of computer paper, more markers, smelly markers, kids paint. Elly loves drawing and does it quite well for an almost 3-year old. When I was at the grocery store yesterday I saw something that would be a nice change for Elly...little shortbread cookies, and icing tubes. This was our project for today.

She had her hallowe'en costume on before we started so I told her to get a shirt on instead so we wouldn't get her fancy costume dirty. No problem...she went up to her bedroom and came down with a shirt in her favorite color...purple. I offered to help her put it on but got her standard response "Me do it." So don't mind that it's backwards.

I showed her how to put the frosting on first and then the colors. She tolerated my help at first but pretty quick I was hearing "Me do it."

She worked very seriously on her projects.

The blue one that looks vaguely like a face is, in fact, "Mommy - she gots blue eyes".

When we were finished she ate only one cookie - with lots of frosting. And there was none on the furniture, walls, or clothes.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Farmers Market

The Edmonton area has lots of farmer's markets in the summer and fall. A new one opened up not far from our place so Lloyd and I decided to go check it out today. This is the third consecutive weekend of beautiful fall weather so it was lovely to be able to go outside and enjoy it.

Here are some of the things we spotted at the market today.

These woven bracelets were a huge splash of color. There were several jewellery stalls but I didn't think I should take pictures of them all.

Rutabagas -or turnips - they're all the same to me. One of my favorite fall vegetables, especially in stew.

Beautiful red ripe tomatoes, on the vine. Don't they look wonderful! We bought a vine containing six of them. Whenever I asked someone if I could take a picture of their products and produce, I felt I should buy something too. Luckily I got over that after half a dozen or so pictures.

These were so cute, especially the baby ones - sassy sayings on Tee shirts.

Pies - pumpkin, apple, Saskatoon berry to name a few. We didn't buy any of them because I'm going to make a lemon meringue pie later this afternoon.

Knitted goods. I love the purple hat in the back and would have bought it if I were a hat person.

I've never been to a farmers market where there wasn't popcorn for sale. Kettle corn is especially yummy! Didn't buy any though.

The lady who owned this stall let me taste two of her honeys - wildflower and clover. I bought a jar of clover honey - tasted just like the honey my grandmother used to make.

I visited awhile with this lovely lady. She's a scrapbooker who recently turned to card making. She had lots of beautiful cards on display. I had to check them all out.

Lovely grapes brought over from British Columbia

...and apples

Beautiful fruit basket at the BC fruit stall. The stall owner let us taste a delicious apple pear so we bought a bag of them.

And carrots - picked yesterday - very sweet and delicious. I bought 3 lbs. for carrot casserole for tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner.

Lovely homemade bread, baked in a stone oven. We bought a white loaf and a whole wheat loaf.

One stall had these cute baby shower 'cakes' made from disposable diapers and baby stuff - very cute in blue, pink, and green and yellow.

It was a great way to spend an hour or so on a lovely fall day. We'll have to go again next week if the weather holds.