Sunday, July 31, 2011


We were talking to one of our neighbours a little while ago while out doing yard work.  She told us that she had three tires slashed the same night we had ours done and pointed out all the houses around us and told us how many tires they had slashed.  We were lucky to get just one!  Everyone is reporting it to the police who told our neighbour that pretty well every car that was parked in the back lanes, even in driveways, in a three block radius of the hospital had their tires slashed the other night.  They are investigating and suspects are already in mind.  Sure hope they catch them - renters who were evicted and wanted to vent!  This is usually a very quiet neighbourhood.

And on the home front, our Anson took off again yesterday and was missing for over an hour.  He climbed through a window to get out this time.  Rob called the police right away to alert them.  Anson was picked up by a firetruck on another busy street (Baseline Rd.) quite a distance from home.  So now, as well as the new locks on doors, Rob is putting removable padlocked bars on his windows.  He doesn't want Anson to feel like he's in prison but he doesn't want him to get lost or hurt either.  We're thinking that these adventures he's having are an extension of the Robin Hood camp he and his family went to in the mountains just over a week ago.  It's a camp for special needs kids and their families and he was free there to run around and go hiking in the mountains and swimming with his family.  It must have been hard for him to come home and not have that freedom any more.  We're hoping it's just a phase and he'll be over it soon.  In the meantime, vigilance is the keyword.


Bad Stuff...and then...Fun With the Kids

Mike and Avril and their three contributions to our grandbaby pool were coming over for a few hours and a barbeque lunch yesterday.  That's always fun.  These three 'away' grandkids are getting more and more comfortable with us and it's fun to visit with them.  Not that there's any competition....but....they live down here surrounded by their mother's family and their 'other' grandparents...and it's important that we get our time in too.

So first thing in the morning Lloyd and I head out to get some groceries so we'll have something to feed them.  We just drove the big Dodge Ram Laredo around the corner when Lloyd said "It feels like we've got a flat tire".  And sure enough...the rear passenger tire was flatter than flat...a brand new tire, less than a month old.  Not having the back, legs, patience, etc. to fix it ourselves, we called CAA (the Canadian arm of AAA) and help was there in less than 15 minutes.  The friendly young man hoisted, jacked, and had the bad tire off and the spare on in no time, and didn't even break a sweat.  And at no charge to us....gotta love the Automobile Association...we always get our money's worth from our membership.

We took the flat tire to Canadian Tire to be fixed and left it there while we got the groceries and breakfast (McDonald's BLT Bagel...yum) and went home to wait for CT to call and say the tire was ready.  They called all right...but the tire wasn't ready.  We were told that it couldn't be fixed because the sidewall had been slashed.  Slashed!... as in deliberately...with some kind of knife!  Who does that??? The truck was in our driveway in the back lane all night.  Some people are such jerks.

So Lloyd had to go to Fountain Tire because Canadian Tire doesn't carry the kind of tire we needed.  The end of the story is that we have a new tire on the truck.  We haven't checked yet this morning but hopefully all four tires are still intact.

Then Mike's family came.  Such sweet kids...Kenny, Alex and Hannah Rose.  While we waited for the hotdogs and hamburgers to be ready, I fed them raw veggies (they all loooove broccoli and carrots) and Cheezies.  I showed them how they can look like walrusses by sticking the curled cheezies under their lip.  That's the kind of stuff Grammies are supposed to teach the kids you know.

Alex and Kenny with walrus tusks
Have some celery Grammie

We had a good time together playing Angry Birds on my iPad and croquet on the back yard.  Then when they were good and tired, they had to go home.

Fun times.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Family Scare

Our son, Rob, who lives near us in Edmonton, called this morning (we're 5 hours away in Lethbridge) to tell us of a fright their family had yesterday.

Their 9-year old son, Anson, is profoundly autistic.  He's a sweet boy who goes to school and participates in after-school programs for special needs children.  Like most autistic children, his social awareness and interactions are limited.  His parents have taken measures to make sure their home is a safe environment for him, his diet is carefully monitored, etc.  Alberta has the best programs in Canada for children with autism and Rob and Cindy are very involved in his care.

Yesterday he went missing from home.  He had been in the fenced back yard but managed to work his way under the fence and went exploring.  They searched their neighbourhood for him and were close to panicking after almost an hour, when they got a call from one of Anson's care workers with the Robin Hood Society.  She was driving home and happened to spot him over a kilometer from his home on a busy city street.  She approached him and he said, "Hi to Carla.  Anson want to go home."  He was in his bare feet and had his t-shirt on inside-out, as he often does when he dresses himself.  Carla called the Society to get Rob's phone number and address, then phoned Rob and brought Anson home.  He wasn't hurt or upset, just tired.  What a relief for his parents though.

Rob was out today buying more locks for their doors and securing the back yard.  Anson doesn't mean to worry his parents,  he wants to explore his world and doesn't understand that he has to always let his parents and care givers know where he is and what he is doing.  Raising an autistic child is a real challenge.  I admire Rob and Cindy and all they've been doing and continue to do to make Anson's life as normal as possible.

Cindy explained the Robin Hood Society this way: "Robin Hood is the association that works with the special needs community in Sherwood Park. They do camp, after/before care, respite, intervention programs, etc. for kids and a whole bunch of other stuff for adults. They are pretty much awesome!" 

Anson (#10) on the trampoline with Aunt Amy, sister Brooklyn and cousin Sydney
  We're just glad our sweet boy is safely home.

Friday, July 29, 2011

On the Road Again

As soon as Lloyd's meeting is over this morning we're heading down to Lethbridge for the long weekend - back on Tuesday.   We've been making this 5-hour drive every couple of weeks this summer in order to keep the lawn mowed down there.  There's been so much rain that the grass has been growing very fast and thick.  Makes for a beautiful lawn though.  And we really don't mind going down there.  It's a beautiful drive.  We're looking forward to the time, soon, when Lloyd retires and we can move down there and live in our little home there on a permanent basis.

Lloyd in front of our Lethbridge home

We'll also be visiting with son Mike and his family and with Lloyd's sisters.  Did I ever mention that Lloyd's sister, Cheryl, was my best friend before I ever met her brother.  Needless to say she's one friend I've never lost track of over the years!

I don't know if this is a long weekend anywhere else in the world, but in Canada the first Monday in August is a civic holiday - just so there's a long weekend in every month during the summer.  Good deal for us.  I hope you all have a good weekend - long or not.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Stuck Up!

What is it about a refrigerator that invites everyone to stick something on it?  the nice broad, shiny empty space?  It's convenient location?  or just because it's there.  Over the years my fridge(s) has had everything from children's art work, reminder notes, pictures, gum, fingerprints, marker scribbles, and who knows what else on it.  I like to think the front of a person's fridge is an indication of what type of person she is...although I could be wrong.  Some people just like to have a beautiful uncluttered surface standing in the middle of their kitchen...sterile and undecorated.  My daughter has a stainless steel fridge to the front of which no magnet will stick.  How awful.  For that reason alone (and the fingerprint issue) I could never willingly have a stainless steel fridge in my house.

Now that I don't have kids at home any more, my fridge art has changed since the school kids days, but there's still some good stuff there.

Here's a peek at what is decorating my fridge these days.  I know you're all incredibly interested in this stuff but hey, it's a slow blog day for me and this is all I've got!!!

I just have stuff on the top portion of the fridge and keep the bottom bare.  The grouping of six business card size photos in the top left has been on my fridge for 12 years.  Three of the pictures were taken at Niagara Falls when we were there on Emily's 13th birthday - she's 25 now but I love those pictures.  The lower left one is of my sister, mother and me at when they came to Edmonton for Sara's wedding 9 years and 4 kids ago.

Here's a close-up of it.

 The frog with flexible arms and legs is a favorite of the grandkids.  They always play with him and put him in different positions - the favorite being the frog doing the potty dance.  The owl is a peg melt craft one of the grands did of one of my favorite things - an owl.

 There are also souvenir magnets of some of my favorite places and things - i.e. Arizona and some saucy women magnets with sayings such as "A clean house is the sign of a wasted life" , "I can only please one person a day and today I'm pleasing me",  and another that says "What if the hokey pokey is what it's all about?"  Oh, and just to show that I can be a little bit cultured, there are three replicas of windows done by Frank Lloyd Wright that we picked up at his famous home in Arizona.

Oh yes, there's also pictures of three of my grandchildren.  There's no rhyme nor reason for which kids get put on the fridge.  I switch them up once in a while.

The front isn't the only part of the fridge to get decorated.  Prominently displayed on the side is a large perpetual calendar that Emily made for me some years ago containing the birthdays and anniversaries of all of our immediate family members.  She even put pictures of the people on.  We've had to write in the new ones as they've been born or joined the family by marriage.  Em will have to make us another one soon as the pictures are sadly out of date.

 And that's it for my fridge decor.  What do you have on your fridge?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Technology Angst

It's one of those days...or this case.  Why oh why did I ever become so dependent on technology!!!

I love using the computer...I spend hours every day checking blogs, emails, facebook, surfing the net, shopping, etc.  and I like doing it effortlessly.  This week, however, my desktop PC with it's large screen, wireless keyboard and mouse and built-in operating system, is in it's final death throes - and we've only had it for 3 years!.  Every morning I turn it on and after maybe an hour ...sometimes...I'm able to access  a program or two.  Most times I get the black screen with white printing saying that "the hard drive is in imminent danger of failing.  There are corrupted files. Back up your files and get it fixed or replaced".  So I backed everything up to an external hard drive and am waiting for it to be 'fixed or replaced' - hopefully in the next week or so.

In the meantime I'm doing all my computing on my handy dandy MacBook, which I love, but not for long term use - the screen is so much smaller than my pc.  And it's a different operating platform so not everything is easily shared.  I have used it mostly when I travel and don't want to miss anything.  Now it's my primary unit.

And another thing,  neither my HP all-in-one printer nor my Epson 1900 photo printer are working - probably because of some network glitch having to do with the crash of the desktop computer.  Aarrgh!

When did I  become so dependent on technology in my daily life?  I can clearly remember how excited we were to get our first telephone back in 1954 when I was 6 years old.  It was amazing that we could talk to people without being in front of them.  Then when we got our first black and white television a couple of years later, complete with rabbit ears, we thought we had a magic world at our fingertips.  We didn't have to worry about having to get up and walk to the tv to change the channel because there was only one channel we could get.  Those were such innocent years.

Now we have two televisions in our home here, two in our home in Lethbridge, and two in Arizona - all complete with remote controls, cable boxes, pvr capabilities and who knows what else.  Our television system here has five remotes.  It makes me crazy!  Sometimes I walk to the set and press the 'off' button with my finger...actually touching the button!!   Shhh - don't tell anyone.

I try to stay technologically current...I really do...but how much do I really need to know?  I have an iPad, iPod, smart phone, GPS system, and they all have many applications and capabilities.  And somehow I've come to believe that I can't exist without them.

Thanks for letting me rant.  I have to go now and watch a tv show I pvr'd yesterday, play Scrabble on my iPad and text Lloyd on my smart phone.

Have a good day.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Quinn's First Birthday

This weekend we celebrated my youngest grandchild's birthday.  Her mom, Sara, arranged a big family party. When I remarked to her that it was a lot of work for someone who doesn't even know it's her birthday, Sara said "It's a party to give us a chance to celebrate Quinn.  She doesn't need to know that its her birthday."   And she's right. 

The day before her birthday Sara, who's a professional photographer, among other things, set up a photo shoot for Quinn for her 'official' first birthday portrait.  The pictures were adorable.

This is the 'official' birthday portrait

For the party yesterday, Sara spread a plastic picnic tablecloth on the livingroom floor for the 10 or so kids who would be there.  She set a small picnic basket full of goodies around the tablecloth for each child.

That worked well because while the kids ate their hotdogs and goodies in the livingroom the adults were free to enjoy lunch in the kitchen and diningroom. 

A friend volunteered to make Quinn's birthday cake - it was huge and beautiful and delicious.

Daddy (Quincey) helped blow out the candle

Let the eating begin!

Quinn dug in with gusto

Now what???

One of the family friends brought a baby lamb with him from his farm.  The kids were thrilled with him and tried to feed him, but he's still bottle fed so didn't want too much solid food from them.

They eventually all went out back to play in the huge bouncy castle Sara had rented for the occasion, and Quinny went out too and met the lamb face to face.

All in all it was quite a big day for the baby of the family.  Happy birthday sweet Quinn.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rainy Day Fun

I didn't blog yesterday because I was scrapbooking all day with Mickey - well for 11 hours anyway.  And in that time I completed a grand total of 4 layouts.  A pretty poor showing some might say.  And it is fewer than I've been doing lately, but in my defense I have to say that the four I did are pretty darn good.  I was using black and white photos which were a challenge to me - picking out proper papers and embellishments. They were beautiful pictures too and I didn't want to ruin them.  The first one alone took me three hours to complete.

As well as the actual work of scrapbooking, Mickey and I went to a friend's in-home on-line store to pick up some scrapbooking items Mickey had ordered. (I showed remarkable restraint and didn't get anything there).  Then we decided while we were out to go and visit my youngest grandchild on her first birthday, but they weren't home (I'll be attending her birthday party later today - guess what tomorrow's blog will be about!).  After that, since it was that time, we went to a lovely sandwich shop for lunch, then to a local scrapbooking store where I got the perfect paper for the black and white pictures I was going to work with.  And then we finally went home and got down to work.  Our only break from scrapbooking after that was stopping to eat some of the chili that had been cooking in the slow cooker all day.

It was a very good day.  At one point Lloyd called - he was on his way home from up north - and, knowing Mickey and I were scrapbooking all day asked, "Who's winning?"   I keep telling him that it isn't a competition but he's a man - what more can I say.  And for the record, Mickey completed 6 layouts, which is fewer than she usually does in a day.  I'll beat her next time!  All in all it was great way to spend a cool rainy day.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I didn't budge outside the house today.  Instead, I started a project that I've been talking about getting to for weeks.  Started - not finished.  That's the way I am with a lot of things.  But I digress.

I have thousands of pictures.  It seems I've become, unofficially, the keeper of the family's pictures.  When my sister moved Mum from her home in Nova Scotia to Winnipeg so that she could take care of her until her Alzheimer's made it necessary to move her into a care facility, she gave me all of Mum's photo albums.  I think Wendy might even have slipped one or two of her own in there too.  So I have all those, besides the dozens of my own, plus all the pictures I've been taking in the past few years because the scrapbooker in me insists that I record every activity of every member of the family so I can scrapbook them.  I don't print them all of the digital ones out, thank goodness, but they're all recorded on my desktop computer (which is in the process of crashing as we speak), my laptop, my iPad, and an external drive.

So, I piled all the pictures from my scrapbook room onto my dining room table and started sorting them.  Well, of course, I got caught up in just looking at the pictures and remembering the fun times.  As I was sorting, I wrote names and dates on the back of all of them.  And I'm embarrassed to admit that some of the babies were hard to identify.  I mean, come on, they're babies!  I can usually identify my seven kids as babies, but when it comes to the 20 grandkids it's a bit tougher.  I find I look at the backgrounds to see what furniture is in the picture, who else is in it with the baby, what house they're in, what clothes the infant has on, etc.  and can usually identify them that way.  Of course, most of them have distinguishing characteristics at an early age but all but two of them were bald and/or blond, and all but two have blue eyes.  I really didn't get too far with my sorting but I left everything out so I can get back to it tomorrow.

Pictures on the dining room table

The scrapbooking table - six feet long
 I won't scrapbook all the pictures - I'd have to live to be 163 to do that, and have my eyesight and memory intact!  But the best and/or most interesting ones will get done.  I'm putting the finished layouts in albums by family so that when I'm no longer here each of my kids will be able to take their albums and see how much their mother loved them and their children.  That's my plan anyway.  Here are some of the layouts I've done lately.

Jenny's son, Sam

Amy's daughter, Sydney

Amy's daughter, Kenzie

Lloyd and me with Mary's kids, Baron and Layla

Mary's daughter, Layla

Butterflies at the Butterfly Pavilion at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, AZ

On Friday I'll be scrapbooking all day and into the evening with Mickey - it's been over two weeks since we've had a scrapbooking day together so I'm really looking forward to it.  I get more done and stay focussed when I have someone to scrapbook with.  Mickey and I met at a scrapbooking event six or seven years ago and have been scrapping together ever since.

But tomorrow I have to do more organizing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Grammie Playdate

I had a playdate with 4 of my grandkids today.  I was out of town for Aidan's 4th birthday last week and told him I'd make it up to him by taking him to McDonalds for lunch.  I knew he'd have more fun if I took his best friend, cousin Elly, with us and as it happened his sister, Sydney, and Elly's brother, Max, were both at loose ends today so I invited them along too.

McDonalds playlands are great kid pleasers and these guys love going there.  I sat them all at a table for 4 and sat by myself at a table for two.

Elly didn't think that was such a great idea so she gathered up her food and trotted it over to my table so I wouldn't have to sit alone.

Aidan wanted to be sure he got noticed in the picture - after all, he is the birthday boy, sort of. That's his sister Sydney in the blurry foreground.

They'd play all day in the tunnel/slide structure if I let them.  Elly is showing off her new picture-taking face.  It's hard to get a shot of her these days without her toung sticking out.

These two sets of cousins have been friends as long as they can remember.  Syd will be 6 in August and Max will be 7 in December so they're pretty close.  Aidan just turned 4 and Elly will be 4 in November so they're even closer.

This is a typical picture of the little ones.  They'd come down the slide one after the other and stop to hug one another.  They love each other to death.  And when they were in their terrible two stage, it was chaos whenever they were together.  I don't know how many boxes of laundry detergent they dumped into Sara's (Elly's mother) dryer, on top of clean clothes, in an attempt to 'help'.  Or how many walls were scribbled on with permanent markers, or bathtubs and sinks filled with water while they stripped down to play in it.    Luckily they've outgrown that stage.

After spending almost two hours at McDonalds, we went to my house right across the street from a huge park and playground that they call Grammie's Playground.  They love it there but we had to cut our fun short because Aidan had an  appointment to go to with his Mum.  Just as well.  Grammie was getting quite worn out by then. 

It was a fun day for us all.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sky Lights

I woke up suddenly about an hour ago (5:30am) to the sound of wind and rain and thunder and the strangest sky color I've ever seen.  I thought at first that there was a fire out there.  My next thought was "get the camera!'...and then "Is it a tornado?".  We've been known to have tornados here in Alberta and this is the month for violent weather.  But then I thought "this'll be my blog entry for today", so I kept taking pictures.  I do have my priorities right!!!  The colors in these photos is natural - just the way they came off the camera.

This first picture was taken through the screen on the window

So was this one.

Then I moved to the other side of the house where the screen was off.

The color changed after about 10 minutes and now the sky is blue with grey clouds, light rain, thunder still rumbling but no wind.  I'm glad I woke up in time to see the eerie colored sky though.

So how did  your day start?