Thursday, September 30, 2010

Backyard Drama

Elly and I watched this drama unfold in the back yard today.

"You watch the front, I'll chase him out the back"

"I know there's a mouse in here someplace"

"Come out, come out. I just want to play with you"

(At this point, Mickey pushed the toy truck over on its side. No mouse ran out.)

"He's still here...I can smell him"

"Are you going to help me or not?"

"OK, ok...I'll help"

Percy: "I think I see something."

"I see him." (If you look carefully you can see a little mouse head in the wheel well.)

"Come out and play with me little mousie"

"Are you stuck...I'll help you out".

"Get ready...He's coming!"

"There he goes!" (see the mouse tail in the lower left)

"He wants to negotiate...ok I'll give you a little head start"

"Rats! Foiled again!"

Saturday, September 25, 2010


In July of this year, just 15 minutes north of Edmonton, the most beautiful, amazing, interactive, educational, fun park opened. I finally went to it today with two of my little granddaughters, Kenzie and Sydney. Jurassic Forest certainly lived up to all I had heard about it. It's built in the middle of an old-growth forest. Participants follow a boardwalk through the forest where on all sides very realistic enormous mechanized dinosaurs roam. They are incredibly life-like. There are motion sensors all over so you can see them move and roar all around you. The kids loved it and so did I.

It was one of those beautiful fall days when the air is fresh and crisp - not too cold and not too hot. The colors were changing in the trees, the mosquitos had disappeared for the year, and it was a treat to be outside in the woods.

The names of all the creatures were displayed at the boardwalk but I didn't take note of them - except for this one - the Albertasaurus - named because its bones were found in southern Alberta in the Drumheller area, which is well known for it's dinosaur fossils.

These cute little wagons were available for rent by parents with young children who might get tired.

This guy has a baby (or small) dinosaur in it's mouth and would actually chomp down on it when the motion sensors were activated - really grossed Sydney out.

My little companions of the day - Kenzie and Syd. We had originally planned for their mom, my daughter Amy, and their two little brothers to come with us, but Aidan got sick and the baby was fussy so Amy was forced to stay home with them. (Our men were in a golf tournament all day so this was to be our activity of the day). The girls were so excited to go that I didn't have the heart to tell them we couldn't, and I'm glad we didn't cancel. We had a wonderful time.

This was an impressive guy. He roared and tossed his head around above us. As we rounded a bend in the boardwalk we realized that he was being attacked by a gang of young raptors and was trying to shake one of them off his back.

This was an impressive specimen. I don't know what type of dinosaur he is but I liked him.

This one was eating a dinosaur fish.

I liked these ones too - looked like they had curlers in their hair - kinda cute.

This one laid an egg while we watched.

There was also a good-sized sandy play area for kids - dinosaur head slides where the kids slide out of his head on his toung, climbing heads, and even a paelengology dig where the kids can unearth a dinosaur skeleton. There's also a large picnic area among the trees - lots of picnic tables well shaded by the trees. A beautiful, totally family friendly place to spend the day.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Who Was Toni Anyway???

Back in the 1950s all the mothers of little girls thought that their daughters had to have curly...preferably naturally I just don't understand that. My straight hair was easy to care for - just comb, pull back into a pony-tail and go. But I wasn't in charge of my hair back then between the ages of 2 - 11. My older sister was blessed with naturally curly hair. She was the lucky one. But, Mum always wanted to keep things even so she had a routine with her daughters.

Every Saturday night was bath and hair-wash night...this was the 50s remember. Although not primitive (we did have running water and a working bathroom) Mum's country raising only allowed baths on Wednesday and Saturday and one hair-wash a week. I can remember sitting for what seemed like hours on Saturday night while she twisted my entire head of hair into little pin curls, fastened to my scalp with an 'x' of bobby pins. My sister didn't have to sit as long as me. Mum just finger waved her hair and set it with wave clamps and maybe a few curls around the ends. Then we were sent to bed with our damp curled hair wrapped in a kerchief.

On Sunday morning our hair was combed out - Wendy's always looked sleek and lovely and waved. Mine looked curly for an hour or two. But then Mum discovered TONI! The new revolution in hair dressing. Home permanents easy enough for a mother to torture her daughters with...Oh the smell!!! and the fear of being blinded by the solution accidentally getting in my eyes!!! I can't remember if she ever gave Wendy one, but I had several over the years...the first when I was a little sprout of 6.

I love this picture - I loved that dress - yellow with white swiss dots and a blue velvet ribbon belt. I wish I had still had it for my girls.

Anyway, when Mum perfected her perm skills on me she started doing them for friends and neighbours. Our house often smelled of the distinctive perm solution. I remember in grade 4 when she did one of my friends' hair. Poor Linda K. Her mother didn't know that you had to comb it out and set the curls neatly rather than just comb and let it fly. That was before the day of the afro and it just wasn't acceptable to have wild hair.

Anyway, I had the last laugh. After I had had a couple of kids, my hair became curly on its own - at least with enough body and natural wave to allow me to avoid perms permanently! I've been scarred by my young experiences!!! I did occasionally put pincurls in my daughters hair and tie it up in scarves...just to share the experience...hehehe...there's a bit of my mother in me after all!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Favorite Places - #1 - Prince Edward Island

I think I'd like to share some of my favorite places with you - not all at once, of course, but every now and then when I'm stumped for something to blog about.

I'll start off with Canada's jewel in the ocean, Prince Edward Island, the smallest of the provinces and territories. We take a trip over whenever we go home to Nova Scotia, which isn't very often any more. It's a beautiful island, famous for its red soil, potatoes, miles and miles of beautiful beaches, lobster and seafood restaurants, and home of Green Gables, the setting of the Anne books by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

PEI (small white island) in relation to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick

For years the only access to the island was by huge ferry boats. It took just over an hour to get from Nova Scotia and/or New Brunswick (depending on which ferry landing you took) to Prince Edward Island. The kids especially used to enjoy those ferry rides, however cold and windy they were on the ocean waters of the Northumberland Strait.

Equipped with lifeboats

Lloyd and I enjoyed the ride too - 2005

The Nova Scotia flag flying alongside the Canadian flag on the ship's mast

The first view of PEI from the ferry - Borden, PEI

In 1997 the Confederation Bridge was finally built which made PEI much more accessible to mainland Canada. This 12.8 km (8 mile) long bridge is "the longest in the world crossing ice-covered water", although the Northumberland Strait only has ice in the very coldest months of winter.

Aerial view from the bridge website

Lloyd and me on a dock in Charlottetown, PEI

Of course no trip to PEI is complete without a visit to Cavendish Beach and Green Gables, where the Anne books were set.

Lloyd and Randy were more interested in playing at the Green Gables golf course than in visiting the Anne museum house.

Wendy and I also played miniature golf while the men played the real thing.

While they played Wendy and I walked around the area, stopping to visit the grave of Lucy Maud Montgomery - her headstone has her husband's name on it - MacDonald - with her name in smaller form underneath.

Having visited the house/museum on a previous visit, and having enough Scots blood in us to want to avoid paying the entrance fee again, Wendy and I just walked around the road behind the house and took pictures

Then we all walked down the boardwalk to Cavendish beach. It was a cool windy day so not many people were around.

From another trip back there, this is our granddaughter, Layla, playing in the red sand of Cavendish.

Then we went down the coastal road to the small fishing village of North Rustico, where their chief claim to fame is a huge seafood buffet. It seems that in PEI in the summer you're never very far away from a seafood buffet with loads of lobster, mussels, clams, shrimp and other 'regular' food of course.

The fishing wharves of North Rustico

North Rustico Light with lobster pots scattered around the base.

Lobster traps
So there you have it - one of my very favorite places. If any of you have a chance, it's well worth the trip to see this gorgeous peaceful province.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Aaahhhhs of Summer

With temperatures rapidly falling well below the summer comfort zone, school starting, and winter looming largely on the horizon, I figured it was time to revisit the aaahhh moments of our summers.

Here, in no particular order, and featuring a few of our grandchildren, are some highlights of summer 2010.

Great Sunsets

Fun in the lake

Family golf, Osoyoos, BC

Road trip!

Montana, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia


Two-year olds on trampolines

Backyard wading pools

And water slides

New babies!!

Finding 4-leaf clovers

Blowing bubbles

Backyard croquet

Swimming pool fun in Arizona