Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring and Stuff

We've had a few bright sunny days with above zero temperatures here so I guess you know what that means...spring is officially here!  And just in time for Easter too.  Lloyd and I will be going to Osoyoos, BC on Thursday to spend the Easter weekend with daughter Mary and her family.  It's been spring there for awhile now.  It's a beautiful drive through the mountains but a long one - probably 10 hours to make the trip from Lethbridge.

Mickey and I got together yesterday for another scrapbooking day.  We had several fun interruptions though.  Amy stopped by in the morning with five of my grandchildren - 3 of her children and two of Sara's.  It's always nice to have them stop by.  We had a good visit with Amy while the kids entertained themselves with painting books and the computer and exploring Grammie's house..  I'm going to miss these little people so much when we move to Lethbridge.  I got lots of hugs yesterday...have to start storing up.  I forgot to get my camera out before they left though.  Next time.

Then in the afternoon Rob brought his kids Anson and Brooklyn over.  It's the last day of spring break for all these kids.  Rob was home from work with his kids so he came over to his Mum's place for a break for a couple of hours.  He is the only one of my kids that Mickey hadn't met so it was nice to be able to introduce them.  Eight-year old Brooklyn sat with us and did two scrapbook pages.  She's a very crafty and creative little girl and I did an excellent job on her pages. 

We all went over to the playground across the street which, until three days ago, was pretty much under snow.  It's amazing how fast it melts when we have a couple of warmish days.

The kids love it when their Dad gets the tire swing going for them

 Anson was very careful about landing in the puddle at the foot of the slides.

Our happy Brooklyn
 After all the excitement of our company left, Mickey and I finally settled into a few hours of productive scrapbooking.  I got six pages done, but will only bore you with this one, which features a picture of granddaughters Kenzie and Sydney last May at the same playground we had fun at today.

And that's it for today.  Have a fun weekend.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Morning

It's Monday morning.  The start of a new week.  Back to work for some.  Spring vacation for others.  Now that I'm retired I have to make a conscious effort to know what day of the week it is.  I wake up in the morning and don't get out of bed until I've figured that little mystery out.  I know I'm not alone in this - it happens to a lot of us when we're on vacation.  Days just blend into glorious days and who cares what it's name is!  This is what calendars are for.  As long as I remember when garbage day is, I'm ok!

I don't have anything in particular to blog about today so I thought I'd post some interesting facts I found on the internet yesterday.  See how many you were already aware of.

1.  Your brain has the potential to remember everything you have ever experienced, read, heard and seen.  The only problem is you can't recall it.  But it's all in there somewhere.

2.  Your body is constantly replacing cells so much so in fact you have a completely different body than you did seven years ago.

3.  The amount of information your brain can hold is believed to be up to 1000 terabytes. 
The IBM super computer, Watson, the one Jeopardy contestants competed against awhile ago,
 has 16 terabytes of RAM.

4.  With the sperm in your testicles right now (guys) you could repopulate Dallas and it would take you 6 months to repopulate the entire planet.

5.  Everyone in your dreams you have seen while awake at some point in your life.  (I think this must include people you've seen in movie, on television, etc.)

6.  In your lifetime you will eat about 50 tons of food. 

7.  To exercise your legs the same amount of exercise your eyes get, you would need to walk 50 miles a day, every day.

8.  In the next four years you will shed your body weight in dead skin.

9.  Your hair grows about 12 mm month.

10.  You constantly sweat - about two pints a day.

11.  Pound for pound, when you were a baby you were stronger than an ox.

12.  You react at speeds of 170 mph.

13.  Aside from burning, your hair is so non-disintegrative it's basically indestructible.

14.  25,000,000 cells of your body died while you read this sentence (but your body made 200 billion more of them today so don't worry).

15.  You were one cell for half an hour.

And there you have it...believe it or not.  I can't vouch for the accuracy of the above statements.  I just report 'em as I hear 'em.

Have a good week.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Fun

Just when we thought spring had arrived we got with a spring snowstorm - two days of grey skies, snow falling and sub-zero temperatures.  The good news is that it's going to warm up over the next few days so it'll all melt soon.

So, what's the best way to spend a cold snowy spring day???  Well in my world, it's scrapping and eating with a like-minded friend.

We had a lunch so delicious that we had it again for supper!  Mickey made minestrone soup - the first time I've ever had it - and it was just perfect for a cold dreary day.  It was so thick you could eat it with a fork, but we used spoons anyway.

For dessert I made strawberry nachos - a nice springy treat.

I had these for the first time when my sister made them for us last month when we were in Arizona.  They are so simple and absolutely yummy.  Here's the recipe.

Cinnamon Chips: (it's not an exact science so quantities are to your taste)
  flour tortillas
  butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375.  Brush each tortilla with melted butter.  Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on buttered tortillas.  Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife cut each tortilla into 8 wedges.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 8 minutes or until the tortillas barely begin to crisp.  Remove the crisps to a serving plate and let them rest 2 minutes to cool and crisp.  (I made them the previous night and stored them in an air-tight container).

Place cinnamon chips on a platter and top with diced strawberries.  Drizzle with melted chocolate.  Drop dollops of whipped cream on edges, or all over if you like.

Eat with your fingers, scooping berries, chocolate and cream up with the cinnamon nacho chips.  Quick, easy and delicious!

Although I worked steadily at my scrapbooking, I only got two pages done - but who's counting.  I had a good time working on them.

Me, my daughter Emily, and granddaughter, Eliose (Sara's daughter)
all share the same middle name, although I'm the only one
who uses it as their first name.

It seems no matter how far we travel, work always follows
Lloyd via his cell phone. 

So, that was the start to my weekend.  Hope all of you have a good weekend - without snow!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Curio Curiosities

Lloyd and I are in the process of moving from Edmonton to our home in Lethbridge, 5 hours south of Edmonton.  We bought our house down there about 5 years ago and over the past few years we've done some renovations, furnished it, and have gone down there every chance we get.  It's the home we've been planning on retiring to.  We'll be officially moving there in July, and giving up the rental we've been in up here in Edmonton.

One of the first things we moved to Lethbridge several years ago was my curio cabinet.  The front glass panel got broken in the move as well as one of the glass shelves.  So it was stored in the shed until we got it fixed.  Well, we got it fixed this weekend and moved it into the house.  I was finally able to unpack my little pretty things and get it set up in our living room.

Unpacking the little treasures was like opening Christmas presents.  Each one had a story to tell - I remembered who gave me some as gifts, where I bought others, what they all meant to me - I had a lovely afternoon setting it up. 

Here's a few of my treasures I'd like to share with you.

This is a small part of my egg collection.  The one on the far left is a real egg decorated by a Ukranian woman in the traditional pyzanky fashion.  I love the shape and feel of eggs, especially the heavy marble ones like the one on the right.  I have a basket full of those someplace.

I guess this is one step up from my love of eggs - I love the birds that produce them.  Son Rob gave me the cardinals and bluejay figuerines on successive Christmasses about 20 years ago.  My sister Wendy and I bought each other identical crystal ducks for our birthdays a couple years ago.  We were out shopping together around our birthdays (which are 8 days apart) and since we each wanted one, we each bought one for the other.

I just liked the look of these cheerful witches so added them to my random collection of things I like.  Every girl needs something to bring out her inner witch ;)

The top shelf of the curio cabinet - Mum gave me the two collectors plates but I never pursued that collection.  The small Hummel figuerine in the center is from my grandmother's house.  It's probably 50 or 60 years old now.  The little girl hugging the egg reminded me of one of my granddaughters so I had to have it.  Then Emily gave me the matching one of the little girl in a teacup with apples.

This is about half of my thimble collection.  I started collecting them in 1967 when Mum and Dad, my sister, brother and I went on a road trip.  I bought a souvenir thimble at our first stop, Fredericton, New Brunswick, and thereafter I bought one at every stop on every trip for years.  I have thimbles from all the Canadian provinces and a lot of the States and cities, as well as fun ones with products such as Pepsi, Coke, Bon Ami, etc. , a woven one from the Philippines, porcelain, metal, peuter, plastic, clay and wood.  I have my grandmother's and my mother's quilting thimbles, and a couple of wooden ones I painted and decoupaged small pictures onto.  And at Christmas I use one of the thimbles to poke the hole in my thimble cookies so put the jelly in.

My egg shelf shares it's space with the small souvenir glasses that Mum used to collect when we lived in Germany in 1960-61.  They're all tucked in behind the hanging eggs.  As you can see, the back panel of the cabinet is a mirror so there's no escaping the photographer's image.

The witches share their space with a little stein that Emily brought back from Germany when she was an exchange student there.  The blue music box in the center used to belong to my Dad's mother.  It was popular in the 1950s and was actually a powder box for loose face powder. The music still plays when the lid is lifted off.

And the birds sit on the lower shelf with a crystal apple that used to belong to my brother.  After he was killed in a mining accident in 1991 I kept this apple from his house as a keepsake.

So, those are my treasures - not worth much financially, but their sentimental value is priceless.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Catch Up

Time for me to catch up here.  It seems that too many days are going by between posts.  Life is busy.

Remember those old negatives I found a week or so ago?  Well, I've been working with them - slowly.  It's been fun rediscovering old pictures I thought were lost, some I didn't remember at all, and some that I already have in photo albums.  Soon they'll all be converted to digital so I won't have to worry about negatives any more.

The oldest ones I have seem to be from 1986 - pictures of my youngest, 26-year old Emily - as a baby.  And it goes from there.  The quality of the negatives has degraded a bit over the years but Emily looked at the pictures on my computer and said she can fix them for me (she's a photoshop professional), so once I get them all digitized, I'll burn her a disk with them and she'll work her magic on them.

My girls have been showing quite a bit of interest in the negatives and what I might find on them. 

This is my oldest (39 in April) daughter Jenny.  Doesn't she look impish.  See those scissors on the table in front of her?  This bad girl found a couple of negatives of her that she didn't think should be saved for posterity so she grabbed them and ran downstairs with me in hot pursuit behind her, laughing all the way.  She grabbed the scissors and started cutting out the ones she didn't want me to 'resurrect'.  I don't know which ones she removed from my possession, but I guess if they bothered her that much she's welcome to them.  Amy, Sara and Emily have all been over looking through them too but have graciously allowed me to remain in possession of my negatives!

Here's a small sampling of some of the treasures I'm finding.  Excuse the quality - Emily will fix them up for me someday when she has time.

Lloyd and Me - 1985

Our family - complete at last - 1986

Mike - first in the family to do TaeKwonDo - 1990

Emily's First Christmas - 1986

Baby Emily - 1986

Sara's Perfect Cartwheel - Lawrencetown Beach, Nova Scotia

The girls - 1990

Rob - the one who just turned 40 - 1991

That's just a sampling of the many I've already done.  It's going to take me awhile to get the rest of them processed but I'll keep working on them. 

Spring is coming and it feels good. 


Friday, March 9, 2012

Back At It

Yesterday, for the first time in over a month, Mickey and I were able to get together for one of our scrapbooking days.  These are the best kind of days, when we take ourselves away from children and grandchildren and just spend all day doing the fun kind of things we like - shopping, eating, and scrapbooking. 

The pot on the stove behind Mickey contains a corn chowder I made for supper from a recipe I got from Pinterest.  It was delicious.  I made biscuits to go with it for a quick easy meal

We sit at a long table in my scrapbooking room with the sun shining in the patio doors, spread out our sb paraphernalia, then we turn the radio up and listen to easy rock, occasionally humming or singing quietly along, talking back to the radio personalities and each other as we go about our creative recording of our life's happenings.  And we talk...about our families mostly (we each have an autistic grandson so we discuss their special challenges)...and about life in general...comparing notes on ideas and circumstances.  It's amazing how much we have in common - including our left-handedness.  It's like we've known each other for much longer than the seven years since we met  at a local scrapbooking event.    Everyone should have a Mickey in their lives and nice sunny days to share with her.

I didn't get too many pages done yesterday, what with the eating, shopping and stopping for an hour to watch American Idol...just three pages...very simple, uncomplicated ones.

Our grandson, Micah, is a totally unique sweet boy,
the fourth of five sons of my daughter Jenny and her husband Anders.

I always love doing pictures of my sweetie. 
 He's standing on the deck of the DOLLY when we went on a cruise
on Canyon Lake in Arizona last month.

Wendy, Randy, Lloyd and I enjoying our cruise.

I have lots more scrapbooking to do, but I've promised myself I'd complete some self-imposed chores first.  I'm off to get started.

Monday, March 5, 2012

In Praise of Pinterest

For a long time I fought the very idea of joining another social network.   

Friends and daughters kept telling me I should join Pinterest - I'd love it. they said.

I always responded that I have enough excuses to spend time on the computer - I didn't need any more.

Well, not too long ago I succumed to the pressure, and my own curiosity, and requested an invitation to join.

What I found was an amazing gallery of beautiful images.  I was able to pick and choose my very favorite ones and store them in my own 'closet' to be taken out and gazed at when I needed something I love to cheer up my eyes and brain.

I've become a hoarder of things that please me - without having people feel the need to do an intervention and come to my house with boxes, bags and shovels with which to dig me out of my obsession.

I love the idea of having images of things that please me, things that make me feel good, sayings, funnies, thoughts to ponder, at my fingertips.

When I get frustrated at my inability to take a decent picture of a hummingbird, I go to my "Birds and Owls" board and look at all the beautiful pictures I've collected of my favorite birds.

When I've come in from shovelling snow and have a longing to be back in Arizona, I go to my "Arizona" board and daydream a bit.


Conversely, when I'm cooking in the Arizona heat and long for Alberta's more moderate temperatures, I go to my "Alberta" board for a little mental trip back.

And don't get me started on recipes!  People have posted their best, tried and true recipes there for me to grab and pin into my "Recipes" board.  I've made a few of them and none have failed me.

When I'm scrapbooking and need ideas for layouts, I go to my "Scrapbook Stuff" board and get inspiration from ideas I have posted there.

Similarly, if I'm stuck for pleasing color combinations, I to go my "Colors" board and find answers to my problems.

If I need a quote or shot of inspiration, I head over to my "Things To Think About" board and sort through all the pithy sayings there

And if I just need a laugh, I look under "Funnies"

My main problem with Pinterest is that I'm finding too much.  Just scrolling through all the pins there reminds me of so much of the beauty that exists around me and I keep wanting to start new boards for things I love, like butterflies, and interesting architecture and amazing photographs.  I'm learning to limit myself or else my personal board would be as busy as the main board!

I've learned not to spend an inordinate amount of time browsing, grabbing just those images that speak to me and storing them in my own board.  I don't have to interact with anyone else.  I just take what pleases me and post images of what I think might please other people. 

So thanks to you friends and daughters who encouraged me to join Pinterest.  I now have my very own happy place where I can go and be reminded of all that is good and beautiful in my world.  And there's a lot of that.  Life is beautiful.  It's good to share.

Friday, March 2, 2012

How Can That Be???

It's just not possible!  There must be a major rift in the space/time continuum!  Lloyd and I are in shock!

Where were you 40 years ago today?  I remember well where I was - in a hospital in Edmonton struggling to bring our first child into the world.  Forty years ago!!! How can I be old enough to have a 40-year old son??  Oh, right.  That space/time continuum thingy.

And yes, today is all about me!  On March 2, 1972 I began the career that has forever defined who I am, a career that will never end - one I can't retire from (although I can, and do, hide from it occasionally).  There have been promotions along the way (although not much in the way of raises!).  Promotions such as the one from 'Baby mummy' to 'Little Kid Mummy', to 'Teenager Mum'.  Then 'Mother of the Bride/Groom', and 'Empty Nest Mum', and then the best promotion of all, with a new title - 'Grammie'. Each promotion came with a huge learning curve and a mostly 'learn as you go' training period.  I like to think I've been a success at the job.  The kids are all grown up, educated, employed, married, sane, and happy.  What more could I ask for.

Here are some of the things I've enjoyed about this 40-year career.

* My great partner and co-conspirator, Lloyd
* I've never had to be alone (even when I wanted to be)
* I learned to play and like kid games
* Kids were a captive audience and didn't seem to mind my off-key singing.
* The hugs and kisses, freely given
* Watching my parents learn to be grandparents
*  Having adult children call us Mummy and Daddy
* People asking "are they all yours?"
* The huge feeling of pride on graduation and wedding days
*Watching the kids develop into great husbands, wives and parents
 * Unconditional love, given and received
* Developing family traditions and seeing them carried on with our adult children's families

Now, there were a few things I didn't like too:

* The guilt that comes with the job, no matter how well you do it.
* Mother's day - I always felt I didn't live up to the hype.  That and the fact that it usually detracted from my birthday, which often fell on the same day.
* Attending all the parent/teacher conferences for 7 kids.
* Flu season
* Crowded cars
* Worrying, never ending.

Overall though it's been a great 40 years thanks to a great bunch of kids and a super partner.

Oh yes, back to the topic of this post:

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Robert
Happy birthday to you

Robert Logan MacKenzie

- a super son - everything a parent could wish for
- a great big brother - tormenter of siblings
- a beloved husband who found the perfect mate for himself
- a cherished father for Anson and Brooklyn
- a smart metallurgical engineer
- a determined golfer
- a lover of family.

See you later - your cake is ready.