Friday, January 27, 2012

Little Tiger

I took my 4-year old granddaughter, Elly, to her Tai Kwon Do class today for my first time.  It was a fun class to watch.  There were only 5 kids in her class - the Little Tigers.  I told Elly I wanted to take some pictures of her in her Tai Kwon Do costume.

Elly in her too-large costume Uniform

She looked at me very seriously and said, "It's not a costume Grammie, it's a uniform".   A very important distinction in her mind.  She then said, "You can call me Little Tiger". 

I wasn't very prepared for this outing.  After taking two pictures, my camera's battery died.  I should know better.  The pictures I took aren't all that great...I had to zoom in quite a bit because all the action was taking place across the room from where we parents/grandparents sat watching.  I really must learn to take better photographs.

Little Tiger in action
We really must do something about the size of her uniform.  She kept walking on the bottom of her pantlegs and having to hike them up at the waist.  It sure was cute watching her do her moves though.

In true Eloise fashion, she stretched out our half-hour outing to fill the afternoon.  She wanted to go to McDonalds, so we went through the drive-through and brought her kid's meal home to my place where we ate, did a couple of jigsaw puzzles,  read a few books, colored, until I had to take her home a few hours later.  She walked in the door of her house, grabbed a blanket and pillow off the couch and curled up on the floor and was immediately asleep.  I guess I know how to wear a kid out.  Now her mother will have to deal with her when she's not tired at bedtime!!

Thanks for the fun day Elly.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sky Shots and Scrapbooking

I looked up from my computer a few minutes ago (at 4:55 pm)and saw this out of the window.

When I was out earlier it was a bright sunny day.  By the time I finished lunch with two of my daughters, it was snowing.  When I got home in the early afternoon it was brightening up again.  Then, as you will see, in the last 20 minutes or so, the sky changed again.

The wind was picking up and the clouds starting drifting away faster.

Five minutes later, it was just one solid mass of clouds.

And then more clouds and less light.  Right now it's very dark out, and clouds.  We won't be seeing any starshine tonight. 

At least we're out of our deep freeze.  It was 2C today - quite balmy!  I left my heavy parka at home and just wore a lighter leather jacket and was very comfortable.  The weather forecaster I was listening to on the way home called today's weather "moody".  I thought that was a very apt term seeing as how it changed every few minutes all day long.

On Monday my friend Mickey and I finally got back to our scrapbooking.  We hadn't done any since a couple of weeks before Christmas.  It was nice to get out the papers and photos and do something creative with them again.

Granddaughter Layla's school picture - Grade 2

Her brother Baron's pre-school picture.  I put both pictures in because the one on the right is so funny - he's making a sucked-in-lips face, we think to stop from smiling for the camera.  He's had a haircut since this picture was taken.

I also made a couple of birthday cards from I kit I've had around for awhile.

The week is half over already.  Hope you're having a good one.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Soul's Music

I've just sat in front of the television for two hours watching and listening to a PBS show called "My Music - 60's Pop, Rock and Soul".  I was 11 when 1959 turned into 1960, and 21 when 1969 became 1970 so the music of the 60s was the first music I was aware of in a major way.  I still feel that the music of the 60s was the best ever and I listen to 'oldies' radio stations whenever I can...although the oldies stations now think the music of the 80s is 'old'.  Imagine!

Anyway, back to the last two hours.  The show was hosted by Davy Jones (Monkees) and Peter Noone (Hermans Hermits)...much older now than when I used to sit in front of the television with my roommates and watch The Monkees TV show on our 12 inch black and white television which hung on a birdcage holder in our apartment.  Davy (I feel I can call him by his first name since I've loved him for so long!) sang Daydream Believer and Peter sang Henry the Eighth, I'm Into Something Good, and There's a Kind of Hush.  I'm sure all of you remember those songs...all of you over 50 anyway!

What is it about the music of our youth that makes us wax nostalgic for the 'good old days'?  In my case it's the absolute certainty I have that the 60s were the best decade to grow up in.  Times were easier then. Schools had a dress code (modest dresses and/or skirts for the girls, no jeans for the boys), we weren't tied to computers, cell phones, and all the other portable electronics that keep us from intereacting face-to-face with people.  Fast food hadn't become daily fare found on every corner.  It was a decade of change though.  Remember the hippies, ironing your long hair, the concept of free love?  It was an exciting time to be a teenager...and the music was absolutely amazing.  And in 1964 I met the boy who would eventually become my husband.

Back to the music I was listening to tonight.  Remember Chad and Jeremy's 'Summer Song'?  And such groups as Jefferson Airplane (White Rabbit), The Kingsmen (Louis, Louis), Paul Revere and the Raiders (Kicks), and of course Sonny and Cher (I Got You Babe), my alltime favorite The Mamas and Papas (California Dreaming and many others), not to mention the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Animals, Cowsills, BeeGees, and artists such as Bobby Vinton and Roy Orbison.  Is it any wonder I love the music of the 1960s so much!

What was fun about watching tonight's program was watching the audience - most of them in their 50s and 60s who were young when the performers were singing back in the 1960s.  They were all singing along and smiling, some with tears in their eyes as memories were refreshed.  They danced in the aisles - the dances of their youth.  What fun!  I would love to be able to attend a concert like that with the artists of my youth. 

Well, now that I've convinced you all that I really am an old fogey, I'll sign off.  It's after midnight after all and I need my beauty sleep.

Have a lovely Sunday.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Winter Dreaming

I told myself I wouldn't complain about the weather here in Alberta.  I'll just state the unembellished facts.  It's cold.  One day last week it was -43C.  Keeping in mind that for some reason -40C is the same as -40F, those of you on the farenheit scale can appreciate how cold it has been.  Today wasn't as bad. I think it was about -23 when I was out.  Thank goodness for furnaces, car heaters, warm coats, gloves, boots, hats and scarves and blankets.  Not complaining...just stating the facts. 

When Mickey and I were out driving around we came upon the scene of a huge apartment fire from last night just a few blocks from where I live.  The fire fighters were there doing their investigation and bringing down the damaged apartments.  Everything was glazed with ice from the fire hoses - thick walls of ice.  I can't imagine being a firefighter in such frigid temperatures.  No lives were lost in the fire but many people are now homeless and have lost everything.  A bad start to the year for them.  The firefighters had to demolish part of the building to keep the fire from spreading to any of the other apartment buildings in the area.

This video was taken after the fire was over and the fire fighters were still hosing down the smouldering ruins.

I'm looking forward to three weeks in Arizona in February, where there's no snow or ice or sub-zero temperatures.  In the meantime, I'll look at my pictures of warmer places and times.

Keep cosy.  Pat

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sun Dogs

I have often seen sun dogs - those pairs of rainbow-colored sprays on opposite sides of the sun.  Yesterday I saw something new - sun dogs joined by a faint rainbow over the sun.  It must be a phenomenon of cold weather.  It was hovering around -30C at 3:00 yesterday afternoon, bright, clear and cold.  I went to the playground across the street to get an unobstructed view of the rainbow - the 'dogs' themselves were fading away.

Here's hoping your day is bright and sunny.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Found Treasures

For six months back in 1985 I used slide film in my camera.  It didn't take me long to realize that I prefer photographs and the slides, after being looked at once or twice, were stored away in some forgotten corner of the house.  We've moved a lot since then and somehow they always managed to be included in the moves.  I found them again last fall. 

Then, for Christmas, Lloyd gave me a little gadget that can convert slides and negative film to jpeg files.  It hooks into a usb port on my computer.  I slide the slide holder through the slot, follow the on screen instructions and in 2 seconds my slide is a jpeg file that I can edit and print.  So much cheaper than taking them to a developer to get done.

I've been having such fun getting these slides into a usable form and reliving the memories the pictures bring back.    Here's a sampling:

Wendy's family - 1985
Randy, Jason, Hilary, Wendy
Megan, Meredith

Lloyd and I and the four oldest kids, Jenny, Amy, Sara, Rob, in Winnipeg - August 1985

I don't know where this one came from - must have been among
the pictures I collected from Mum's stuff
Our Family - August 1967 - Salt Lake City
Dad, Me, Mum, Wendy and Ken

Christmas 1985

Mary's 6th birthday, December 4, 1985

And that's just some of them.  I'm going to keep looking for slides among my stash, but I don't think I'll find too many more.

So, are you a slide taker or a photo saver? 


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Soup and Siberia, not necessarily in that order.

I made soup yesterday.  I don't usually make soup - fussy eaters - but Lloyd's out of town and I didn't have to feed anyone but myself so I decided to use leftovers from the fridge and see what I could come up with.

I started out with a bowl of leftover seasoned ground beef which we had used in burritos a couple days ago.  Into the pot it went...followed by some chopped onions, salt and pepper.  I added several cups of water seasoned with beef broth, threw in some chopped tomatoes (leftover from the burrito meal of a couple days ago), some frozen corn and peas, more random seasonings, and finally a handful of uncooked elbow macaroni.  Then I let it cook for awhile.  The result was a very tastey pot of soup which I ate for both lunch and dinner with a piece of buttered bread.  And that's all I needed for the day.  Of course, now I have leftover soup!  Guess what I'll be eating today...

"Leftover Soup"

Lloyd and I had dinner with our oldest son and his family on Saturday.  He had been on a business trip to Siberia two weeks before Christmas and was telling stories of his experiences in a part of the world that was cut off from 'outsiders' for many years and is vastly different from our home country.  For one thing, they don't seem to know how to host visiting colleagues.  (Rob is a metallurgical engineer and his group was visiting a steel plant over there).  Noone over there spoke english. They had an interpreter but after the meetings he left the group on their own to get around, find restaurants, etc.  Rob was not impressed with the food.  He said the restaurants were like large diningrooms in someone's house.  Most of the food offered was in the form of casseroles, which Rob dislikes on principle.  One night they went out for steak.  And that's what they got.  A plate with a large slab of meat - no marinades, no spices, no sauces, no vegetables - just a big slab of meat.  While they were in the restaurant, three men with ski masks over their faces, carrying assault rifles, burst in and went directly to the table Rob was at, shouting and waving a piece of paper.  They had a picture of a man - a foreigner to them - and they assumed that someone at Rob's table either was that man or knew him.  They managed to make it known that they did not know the person in the picture and luckily the men and their assault rifles left.  A scary place to go.  I hope Rob's company doesn't send him there again.  And that's just one of his stories.  Here are a few of his pictures:

Statue of Lenin outside steel mill

Cathedral built over the spot where the last Czar (Nicholas II)
and his family were shot by the Bolsheviks.

Memorial to fallen soldiers of the Russian Afghan war (1980s)

Rob in Siberia

Have a nice day - I'm going down to eat some soup now.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Christmas Kitten

My grandkids received a kitten for Christmas.  I've been kittensitting for her for the past week while they're on holidays.  She's a sweet little thing - part blue point and part ragdoll - very playful.  She follows the two adult cats (Mickey and Percey) around jumping at their tails and getting swatted for her efforts.  They've accepted her into the family now and I'm sure Mickey will be teaching her to hunt for mice in the spring.

"I'll just hide under this tree until the big cats come by, then I'll pounce on them."

"I'll just do a little redecorating - some things look better on the floor than on the tree anyway."

"My name in Jinxie and I'm king of this castle."

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ape Feet

While Mary and Greg were visiting us over the holidays, they were wearing the strangest shoes e.v.e.r.!

Maybe some of you more athletic types are familiar with these 'finger shoes', but I had never seen anything like them. 

Greg and Mary are runners, having completed a couple of half marathons, they're training now for a full marathon in the spring.  They were told that these shoes, with separate toe pockets, are the next best thing to barefoot running.  They love them.  They wear them when they go shopping.  They're getting used to people staring and commenting about the 'monkey feet'.

I don't think I could stand to wear anything that separated all of my toes, but to each his own I guess.  They're apparently very good for running, no matter what they look like.

The major drawback?  You can't wear socks with them so prolonged wearing of them makes your feet smell like...well...feet!

Weird, but wonderful, if it helps the kids with their running.  Not for me though.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Out With The Old...In With The New

Happy New Year's Everyone!

I hope that January 1, 2012 finds you all well, happy and healthy - or at least on your way to becoming that way.

We didn't sit around last night and discuss new years goals, resolutions and hopes as we've done in past years, instead we had a lovely time partying with family and friends in our home. 

But first, I want to tell you about one of the traditions we had at New Years Eve and New Years Day when the kids were young and all at home.

We would sit around on New Year's Eve and make lists - with me as scribe.  Each of us would tell what our favorite happening of the old year was, and what we wanted to have happen in the new year.  It was always fun to see what the kids would come up with.  On New Year's Day in 1979 we had five children ranging in age from 9 months old to almost seven years old.  When it came time for our oldest child, Rob, to tell what his favorite event of 1978 was, he said it was the birth of his first brother in March.  When asked what he wanted to happen in 1979, he said he would like us to have another baby!  Being the dutiful parents, always trying to please the kids, we promptly got busy and on December 4, 1979, Mary Ellen was born.  That was the last time any of the kids expressed the wish for a new baby as a New Year's goal.  But we did go ahead and have our 7th baby six years later.

I found the notebook with the lists for several years in it a few years ago.  What fun it was to go through it and review what was important in our lives at that time and to see how the children's opinions and wishes changed as they grew older. 


Last night Lloyd and I hosted a party in our home.  His sisters both live in this area, as do their adult children, so they attended.  An old high school buddy of Lloyd's and his wife attended, as did a couple of our nieces and nephews, our son Mike and his wife Avril, and of course Amy, Curtis and their four kids and Mary and Greg and their two kids, all of who have been spending the holiday with us.  It was a great time.  Everyone had fun and tons of food got devoured.  We set the six kids up downstairs with a table of snacks, games and activities, under the control of the oldest, 9-year old Kenzie.  They were all determined to stay up till midnight to do the toast and countdown.  Meantime, the adults spread out and played games, visited, talked and laughed, and ate.  Lloyd made his famous diabetic sugar-free non-alcoholic punch which everyone loves, his sister brought a big pot of chile, others brought salad and sweets, and we provided hors d'hourves enough to sink a ship.  The 'piece de resistance' however, was the cake our niece, Gail, brought.  She has an in-home cake baking and decorating business and created a special one for last night.

Gail and her cake

The special New Year's Eve cake

The kids were remarkably well behaved.  The mothers went downstairs regularly to check on them and refill their snacks.  We really didn't think they could stay up till midnight though so at a few minutes to 10 we brought them all upstairs and we all congregated in one room for the toast and countdown.  They thought it was midnight so they were happy.  Everyone was served a small glass of sparkling fruit juice, the kids clinked glasses with the adults, we sang Auld Lang Syne, Jim toasted the year, and the kids were happily in bed by 10:45, and the adults partied on till midnight.

The kid's party - vegetable smiles
Clinking Glasses
Jim's philosophy - sounds good

What a great way to start a new year.