Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day 3 - Syd's Soccer

Yesterday was Syd's soccer day.  She's a sweet little 5-year old with an aggressive sporting nature...a real competitor.

Controlling the ball
 She sets her sights on the goal and goes in for it.
Closing in for the kill
 And she scores.  The goalie made an admirable attempt to block her shot.

I couldn't stay and watch the whole game because Aidan had to pee and Tate kept trying to run (crawl) away, and I forgot the bug spray and the mosquitoes were vicious.  Since home was just a block and a half away, it was easy for us to come back for the girls when the game was almost over.

Here's how Syd prepared for the game...

I came out of an upstairs bedroom and found her sitting in a beam of sunlight doing a yoga pose. 

So now I'm into day 4 of babysitting.  Hang in there baby!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Jurassic Forest, Alberta

For five days starting this past Saturday, Lloyd and I have been staying in daughter Amy's home taking care of their four kids while she and Curtis are enjoying R&R in Arizona.

As we guessed, the weekend was the hardest, with having to keep kids aged 8, 5, 3 and 1 busy and entertained all day for two days.  We managed by taking them to a place called "Let's Play" - a loud, busy activity center for kids, that they loved...and a couple of fast-food restaurants and a playground.  Yesterday we took them to Jurassic Forest about an hour north of town - a beautiful kid friendly place with dinosaur trails, playground, picnic area and gift shop.

Tate, Sydney, Kenzie, Aidan in front of some dinosaurs
 It as slow going, and this is why.  Tate wanted out of his stroller all the time so I had to let him do enough crawling to satisfy his need to feel independent.  Papa watched him carefully.

Lloyd and Tate
 The dinosaurs are all mechanized and are sensor activated.  Lloyd and the kids are watching a couple of long-necks being attacked by a band of smaller meat-eaters.

Lloyd, Kenzie, Syd, Aidan and Tate
 These are Kenzie's favorite dinos - the Edmontonsauraus - named after our home town, Edmonton, where bones of this dinosaur were first discovered.

Kenzie and Aidan
By the time we got back home and barbequed burgers and hotdogs for supper, the kids were all exhausted and ready to go to bed by 8:30.  Lloyd and I, exhausted as well,  didn't stay up much longer.

Things will be easier today, tomorrow and Wednesday because Kenzie is at school all day, Syd and Aidan are in school in the mornings and Tate takes two naps a day.  I think I'll live through it after all!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Okanagan Indian Sculptures

When we went to Osoyoos, BC a week or so ago, we were lucky enough to stay at the Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort and Spa, adjacent  to the golf course that DD and SIL manage.

The back view of Spirit Ridge, taken from the golf course

Spirit Ridge, and a lot of the resort town of Osoyoos, is built on land leased from the local Indian Bands and the band is represented on the Board of Governors of the resort. The First Nations influence is very much evident there in the decor, colors and style of Spirit Ridge. The result is beautiful, and relaxing, and speaks to the beauty of the native culture.  One thing in particular I noticed was the metal sculptures, not only at Spirit Ridge, but also at the school our grandchildren go to and the community health center.

 These pictures were taken on a rainy, overcast day.  I didn't Photo Shop them so the grey background color is the color of the overcast sky. I think it provides a better contrast than a bright blue sky would have.

The sculpture at the entrance of the Nk'Mip (pronounced In-ka-meep) Desert Cultural Centre at Spirit Ridge.
Osoyoos is technically part of the Sonora desert.
 In all of these sculptures, what appears to be white painted on the black metal is actually cut out designs.  What you are seeing is the sky through the cut outs in the sculptures.

This large structure is in the center of the resort.

A native drummer on one of the buildings

This is one the sculptures on top of the resort shown in the first picture

This one is facing the previous one, also on top of the resort in the first picture.
I like the way the mountain and trees are visible through the mist.

This is one of a series on the Community Health Center

This one is either on the Health Center or the School

He's on the school.  The white lines on his body are cuts in the metal

This one, I think, is leading the procession on the school roof.

Another one on the school roof.

I think this one is on the school too.

This one is in front of the Health Center.  I don't know if it is the work of the same artist or not.
That's just some of the First Nations art work around the valley.  Mary told me the name of the artist is Smoky.  I searched the internet for information on him/her, but couldn't find anything.  That doesn't stop me from enjoying his/her creations though. Hope you liked them too.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

World's Largest Truck

On our recent trip to BC Lloyd and I stopped at the mining town to Sparwood to see what they claimed was the biggest truck in the world...and it was huge!

This truck is 26 ft. high and 51 ft. long, weighing 660 tons.  It can carry a load of 400 tons wit a 3,750 horsepower engine.
On it's display pad at the mining museum

I'm 5'2" and not half as tall as the tires

Lloyd can easily stand under the bed of the truck

I thought I had heard that the giant trucks used in the Athabasca Oil Sands in Ft. McMurray, Alberta, were the largest in the world so I went on line to check out the Titan's claim and found that the Sparwood Titan Terex is indeed the world's largest truck.

It's on the internet....it must be true!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Riding Lesson

While in BC we had the chance to attend Layla's riding lesson.  This was the 6th or 7th lesson she's had and to our untrained eye, she is doing very well. 

I like horses, from a distance...their colors and forms and the shape of their heads.  But I have no desire to get up on one or even within close touching distance of them.  There's a reason for that.  When I was about 18 and living in Nova Scotia, I was visiting on an uncle's acreage.  While everyone was up at the house I wandered over to the fence where a beautiful horse was grazing.  As I was standing there admiring him, he came over to the fence and I naturally extended my hand to pet his nose.  The vicious beast then raised his head, opened his mouth, and clamped his teeth, none too gently, over my tender boob!  I couldn't get away from there fast enough and ever since then I've been very leery around horses.

"You're pretty, but I still don't trust you"

But I digress...

Layla (6) and Baron (2.5) have no such fear of horses and they look forward to their weekly lessons. Actually it's Layla's lesson but her instructor lets Baron share about 10 minutes of the lesson time.

Before she can actually get on the horse (his name is Cupid), Layla, with Baron's help, has to brush him down.

Then she's up and the teacher leads Cupid around while teaching Layla signals, control and whatever else she needs to learn. Leslie is impressed with how naturally Layla has taken to riding.

Then, of course, Baron gets his turn.  He's not too good at following instructions (he's only 2.5 after all) but Leslie is patient with him and leads him and Cupid around the arena a couple of times.

When it's Layla's turn again she takes a few turns around the arena without Leslie leading Cupid, and she practices her signals and controls the horse all by herself...very impressive.

Here she is doing it just right, always watching between the horse's ears so she sees where she's leading the beast.
When that's done she has to walk Cupid around for a few minutes for a cool down, although I don't think he worked up much of a sweat carting my little grandkids around.

Maybe someday we'll see them in the Equestrian Olympics.  Wouldn't that be fun!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

So Far in BC...

In the two days that we've been visiting Mary's family in British Columbia, we've been busy having fun.

We celebrated Grammie's birthday - Layla and Baron helped blow out candles.
Me, Layla and Baron
Layla made cards covering Easter, Birthday and Mother's Day

Me and Layla
We gave Baron a set of kid sized Tiger Woods golf clubs that he's been wanting for awhile.

And we watched him practice - another family golfer for Papa!
Baron - almost 3 yrs. old
Then Lloyd, Mary, Greg, Baron and Layla went golfing at the course Mary and Greg manage, while I relaxed in the spa getting a pedicure.

Baron, Lloyd and Mary
We checked out the beautiful scenery in the resort town of Osoyoos, BC
Looking across the river
We spent time at Mary and Greg's home...getting lots of love from Chester
We crossed into Washington State for diner at Rancho Chico.  Awesome
Baron, Mary, Layla and Greg
More fun to come today as we go to Layla's horse riding lesson with her.  It's nice visiting with these children/grandchildren that we only get to see two or three times a year.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Frank Slide

On our drive through the mountains yesterday to visit our daughter, Mary, and her family in BC, we stopped at the site of the Frank Slide in the Crowsnest Pass.  This is the site of the worse mountain slide in North America, but it is not widely known about.  There's a fascinating story about it on the
Frank Slide website. 

In brief, in 1903 a hundred million tons of limestone broke off of Turtle Mountain, destroying the town of Frank, Alberta, and the coal mining operation, Canadian Pacific Railway section and everything else in its path.    The huge boulders still litter the valley as a reminder of the tragedy.

The town is buried many meters beneath where Lloyd is standing

I'm leaning against one of the many huge boulders littering the townsite

At the edge of the devastation

The beautiful mountains of the Crowsnest Pas overshadow the Frank Slide area

Looking up over the fallen mountain through a mountain pass

The historic marker at the Frank Slide site.
The site is a sobering testament to the forces of nature.  The site here tells the story beautifully.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I was born on this day 63 years ago.  Some people think I'm old.  My body is beginning to think I'm old.  My 20 grandchildren certainly think I'm old and I imagine my children do too.  I used to think 63 was old, but not anymore.  The definition of 'old' changes as we add more years to our age.

I'm not old.  My mind is an active teen-ager.  My spirit is young and sprightly. I'm a most fortunate person, surrounded by love and laughter, family and friends.  There are many things to enjoy at 63, and time yet to do them.  Like taking road trips with my husband, visiting family in distant locations, watching movies together and just relaxing in the sun.

Isn't it funny when you talk to kids and they can't imagine how we ever lived without television, computers, internet, cell phones, credit cards, and all of the technology we all take for granted now. We didn't need to have our parents arrange play dates for us - we just ran around freely in our neighbourhood stopping for a game of kick-the-can, or jumping rope or hopscotch without a care in the world.  Our lives weren't organized for us from morning to night.  If we wanted to play baseball, we'd round up our friends and head to the school yard for an impromptu game.  We'd screw roller skates to our shoes and clickity-clack our way along the sidewalks. We had loads of fun playing marbles, and paper dolls, skating on outdoor ponds and sledding on local hills.

I was there when the Beatles were 'discovered'.  I remember hearing my first Beatles song when I was 13, and watching them on the Ed Sullivan Show.  I still think that the music of the 1960's is the best there is and listen to it every chance I get.  I was a teenager during the 'summer of love'.  I was too inhibited to join the hippie movement though.  I did have one of my son-in-laws convinced that I was at Woodstock during that memorable event and hung out with Janis Joplin and that crew there.  It broke his heart when he finally learned the truth.

If I had to go back and live a year of my life over, I honestly don't know which year it would be. There was good and bad in all of them, although I remember the good more than the bad.  I'll just enjoy the year I'm living now and hope for many more good moments to add to my treasures.

So, go jump in a river fully clothed, have a sleepover with your young grandchildren, play in the playground, blow bubbles, walk in the sunshine, and smile and laugh often.  You're only as old as you feel.  I love being 60-something.

I was cuter when I was younger though - here's proof.
Mum, Dad, Me, Wendy
1952 - Wendy, Ken, Pat

Me, age 6 1954
1953 - Ken, Wendy, Pat
Grade 4 school picture

In Germany 1961 - Me, Wendy Ken

1966 - High School Grad
1969 - Wendy's Bridesmaid
1971 - Lloyd's Wife
1986 - Our Family is Complete
1967 - Wendy and me on family road trip