Sunday, August 19, 2012

Canadian Derby - Edmonton

Tonight Lloyd and I went to watch our daughters, Jenny and Emily, and Jenn's 13-year-old son Sam, run the 5k race at the annual Canadian Dergy.

Jenn and Emily had run this race last year.  When Sam saw his mother cross the finish line at that time, he decided he wanted to do it this year.  So all year the two of them ran together, building their stamina and increasing their speed.  Emily has run several races during the year and was almost sidelined from this one by a knee injury, but she recovered in time to join her sister and nephew tonight.
Emily, Jenny and Sam at the end of the race

Sam - first of our bunch to cross the finish line - his first official race.

Jenny - second across the line, looking for Sam. 

Early on in the race, Jenn noticed one of her shoe laces was untied so she stopped to tie it.  Sam kept on running.  From then on he was out of Jenn's sight and she worried about him for the rest of the race.  In the picture above, she's looking around for him as soon as she crossed the finish line.


And it was a very emotional moment when she found him.  He crossed the line about two minutes before his Mom and was waiting for her to show up.

And then Emily came, close on Jenny's heels, looking great, to be greeted by her Dad.  The three of them came across the line within three minutes of one another.  A great race.

Emily and her Dad at the finish line

We finished the evening off by joining up with two of our other daughters and a son-in-law and went to Red Robin for a celebration dinner.

We look forward to next year's race.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


We brought the girls back up to Edmonton last weekend.  I miss having them keep me active.  Since coming up here I've been holed up making scrapbook layouts of our fun week together.

The day we left Lethbridge, I found thank-you letters from Charlie and Kenzie - totally spontaneous and unsolicited.  Someone's doing something right with my girls.

Papa got included in the thank yous because he was there for the last two days.  They're equal opportunity granddaughters :)

There's still a fews more to do, but at least I got a start on them.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

And the Fun Continues...

Yesterday I took the girls to Uncle Mike and Aunt Avril's home a short distance away so they could visit with their cousins Kenny, Alex and Hannah, as well as the brown kitten, Chip, whose mother and siblings still live with Charlie's family.

The kids were worried that Charlie had come to take Chip back home with her.

But after a quick hug, snuggle, and a scratch or two, Charlie was content
to leave Chip there with his new family.

Then the universal ice breaker among kids of all ages - video games.

On our way home from Mike's place we saw a sign pointing off the highway to
a place called Park Lake Provincial Park.  So we turned down that road to see
if it looked like a place we'd like to spend some time.  It turned out to be a smallish lake with a
well maintained beach and camper facilities, so after the girls pronounced the water 'fine' we
left with a promise to return the next day with bathing suits and towels.

But first thing today we capitalized on their love of their first cemetery trip and we drove 45 inutes south to Cardston to visit the graves of their great grandparents, Lloyd's parents, Ralph and Thelma MacKenzie.  We bought some flowers and a couple of stained glass lawn ornaments to decorate the grave.  They thought it was quite special.

And since we were in Cardston we had to go see the Temple. 
We have a picture of Kenzie's parents on their wedding day
standing in the same spot the girls are in this picture.

Then on to the restored pioneer home of Charles Card, the founder of Cardston.

It was a hands-on display so when the kids saw the old fashioned hats
hanging on the hat rack, they had to try some of them on.

The girls were particularly fascinated, and a bit horrified I think, by this bathtub,
which the sign said was only available for the wealthy people of the time.
The girls thought they'd rather be dirty, or bathe in the river like the men did.

Did you know that Fay Wray, the heroine of the original King Kong movie was a Canadian?
Born right here in Cardston, Alberta.  The city built a fountain and this metal sign for it in her memory.  (I took the picture from the car and missed all but a corner of the fountain.  Sorry).

Then we drove back home and the girls changed into their swimsuits and we went to Park Lake, as promised.  It was much more fun this time because they were prepared and able to enjoy the water.

And then it was home again where Lloyd's sister, Cheryl, was waiting for us and we all went out for supper at a Chinese buffet. 

All in all another very good, busy, day.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Adventures with Kenzie and Charlie

I can't remember a busier summer.  The first week on July we moved to Lethbridge and  sort of settled in.  Then we had our Arizona adventures, followed by a week back in Edmonton, and on this past Sunday finally came on down to Lethbridge to finish getting unpacked here and settled in.

But since Lloyd was still in AZ, I had to drive the 5 hours to Lethbridge all by my lonesome.  The day before I was due to leave, I was visiting with daughter Amy and mentioned that maybe I should take Sara's daughter, Charlie, down with me for company on the drive.  Amy said "why don't you take Kenzie too?  They'd be great company for one another down there".  So no sooner said than done.  Since Sara was in AZ at the time, I didn't bother asking her permission.  Her nanny seemed pleased to have 3 instead of 4 kids to care for for a week.  And the girls were thrilled to have a getaway with Grammie.  Charlie is 8 and Kenzie is 9, and they're best friend cousins - both the oldest in their families of 4 kids.  I picked Kenzie up first on Sunday morning then we drove over to get Charlie.  As soon as the car door was closed behind Charlie, she sighed a huge sigh and said,  "Aaaah! No siblings!"  I guess being the oldest of four is not an easy job.  I wouldn't know, being the middle of three myself.

And we were off!  I didn't realize, or had forgotten, how much two little girls can chatter.  Nonstop. For six hours!  It sure kept me from getting sleepy on the way.

We stopped on the way for a quick lunch at our favorite rest stop in Three Hills, AB.  It was hot, and the sun was bright, as you can see from the girls' reaction.  It was a welcome break though, especially when the ice cream lady in the store let the girls have samples of whatever flavor of fresh gelato they wanted - and they wanted lots!

Shortly after arriving in Lethbridge, Kenzie discovered our tile rummy game, so we had several goes at it - lots of fun.  Then Uncle Mike stopped in after work to help his technologically challenged mother get the DVD player working so the girls could watch a movie.  After easily accomplishing that task, he sat and played a couple games of rummy with us too.  I neglected to get a picture of him with us.  The girls really enjoyed having him there to play with too.

The next morning our first order of business was going out for supplies.  I found my two girls making themselves comfortable amidst the water display in one of the aisles.  I got them out of there quickly before the display came crashing down on them, but not before I got their happily posed picture.  Aren't they just perfect little angels!!!

We decided to explore Lethbridge a bit so we went to Indian Battle Park and followed the Coulee Loop Trail for a bit, with the girls running ahead of me of course.

From the trail I had a good vantage point to take a picture of Lethbridge's High Level Bridge.  This bridge, completed in 1909, is the longest (1,623 metres or 1 mile, 47 ft) and the highest (96 metres or 314 ft.) trussel bridge in the world.  It was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway and spans the coulees and Oldman river.

We went farther into the coulees, down to the edge of the Oldman River, where we watched people tubing down the river.

The girls begged me to rent some tubes for us so we could float down the river, but I had to refuse because I couldn't see myself being able to rescue them if they capsized.

So they entertained themselves, me, and anyone else who happened along, with posing on the trail.  Silly girls. The bridge features in the background.

We continued on down to Fort Whoop-Up but it was closed because it suffered flooding twice in the spring and summer and needed to be repaired. 

 This is getting long, but there's one more activity on Monday that I want to tell you about - the girls' favorite activity of the day.

As we were driving down Scenic Drive we came to a huge cemetery that the girls insisted we go into. Neither one of them had visited a cemetery before and they were so curious and excited to be in such a large one.

So many of the headstones caught their attention. They liked looking at the dates to see how old some of the people lived to be, and were sad at the ones that lived and died in the same year.   The one below identifies the couple as "Grammie" and "Papa".  That's what the kids call Lloyd and me.

This one fascinated them because of the lighthouse on the right, the long verse, the flowers and the mementos tucked in between the flowers and the stone - a ball hat, etc.  The grave was that of a young lady who was a Constable in the RCMP.  We assumed she was killed in the line of duty.

They were also fascinated by the crematorium and mausoleum where the ashes of the dearly departed were stored in little drawers.  So many questions and comments from the girls.

As we wandered farther into the cemetery, we came to a Japanese section.  There is historically a large Japanese population in the Lethbridge area.  Someday I'll post about the beautiful Japanese Gardens that are part of the city's beautiful landscaping.

This colorful stone had beautiful Japanese charactered etched in red and green. 

This appeared to be a recent grave, the date of death was June 2012.  The gifts of oranges must be a traditional one.

So if it seems like a strange place to take children, it was a lovely experience.  The girls' vision of a graveyard as something scarey and horror movie like has been replaced by a knowledge that the loved ones are still remembered and visited and treated with respect and honor.  They found it to be a surprisingly beautiful and peaceful place to visit.

And with that we went home and ended our first two days together with another couple games of tile rummy.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Birthday Lunch With the Young'uns

Today is my middle child, Sara's, birthday.  I won't say how old she is, but she was born between 1975 and 1977 ;)

Since I had just arrived back in Edmonton from Arizona, Sara and her three local sisters invited me and Mickey to a birthday lunch with them at Mikado's Japanese Restaurant downtown.  It was a lovely place but my heart sank when we walked in the door and saw that this restaurant was one in which we had to take our shoes off and climb into a 'room' where we had to sit on the floor with our feet dangling into the open space beneath the table, Japanese style.  There were a few open regular booths there too but a couple of my daughters were already settled in a room so Mickey and I looked at one another, held our breaths and tried to figure out a graceful way to get on the floor.  None exists!

That's not such an easy thing for 60+ overweight grandmothers with bad knees to do.  We decided to grin and bear it and if nothing else, we would provide the visual entertainment for Sara's birthday lunch!  I am so glad that the little rooms had rice paper walls so we were kept from view of the other restaurant patrons!

Not a very flattering picture but you can see how we're sitting
on the floor with our feet dangling in the 'hole', all the time
wondering how on earth we're going to get out of there without
making a complete spectacle of ourselves.

Me with my daughters, Emily, Sara (the birthday girl),
Jenny and Amy.

It was a lovely get together with the girls - lots of laughs and delicious food.  Never mind that the girls made fun of Mickey and me for asking for forks instead of chopsticks. 

And as for getting off the floor - we discovered that it was quite a bit easier getting up than getting down.  But next time we'll ask for a booth!

Happy birthday Sara.