Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Scrapbooking Days

Mickey and I have had a couple of scrapbooking days lately - great days when we work on our creations from 9 - 9, with the radio on for background ambience and the crock pot working its magic preparing delicious dinners for us. Sometimes we take a break and go out for lunch, but mostly we just eat at home so we can keep on playing working.

Here are some of my latest efforts.

Lloyd and I had been over to Sara's house the previous night.  The kids started drawing pictures and making "Papa" take his glasses off and tell them what the pictures were about.  Now Lloyd can see pretty well up close without his glasses but he went along with the kids and made up crazy stories about the simple pictures they drew, resulting in lots of laughs.  He's always been one for making up stories for his kids and now his grandkids too.

Earlier this month an Aunt in Nova Scotia sent these pictures she found of my brother Ken, who died in 1991 at the age of 39 as a result of a mine collapse.  We had never seen these pictures of Ken, taken in the mid 1980s when he was working on the diamond drills in Cape Breton. 

I posted these individual pictures on a previous blog about our last trip to Arizona when we took Charlie and Max to a hockey game where we watched 'our' Edmonton Oilers beat the Phoenix Coyotes. 

This one features Quincey and Max enjoying the game together.

Wendy and I always enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles when we have time on our hands.  Dad used to do puzzles and Wendy and I picked up the habit from him. 

This is my favorite of the layouts I'm showing here.  The paper was perfect for the background. I also printed out pictures I took of fabric piled on the quilt shop shelves and some of the finished quilts and cut and used them as borders around the main pictures.  I highlighted Wendy's head peeking up over the shelf the roosters were standing on.  I thought that particular picture could be titled "Two roosters and an old hen", but Wendy probably would have smacked me if I did!

I just thought this was a nice picture of my big sister. It didn't need much embellishing.

Focussing on granddaughter Charlie hamming it up at Surprise Lake in January.

...while Max and I were more sedate as we sat watching the ducks.

I don't know when Mickey and I will be getting together again to spend a day scrapbooking.  In the meantime I'll have to scrounge up or take more pictures.

And that's about all I've been doing these days.

Have a nice week.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Red Belt Testing

Remember a few months ago when I posted pictures of daughters Sara and Emily testing for their blue belt in TaiKwonDo?



Today it was Sara's two oldest children, Charlie and Max, who were testing for their red belts (yes, they're one belt ahead of their mother and aunt).

Max and Charlie in the center
Charlie and Max showing their moves in their poonse (?)
Then my camera battery died and I had to switch to cell phone.
 This is the first exercise they do.  The students are called in pairs to demonstrate a set pattern of exercises that showcase the moves required for the belt they're testing for.  It was nice that the siblings were called up together - made it easier to take pictures.
Max breaking the board on his first try
Charlie is watching while waiting for her turn

Charlie breaking the board on her first try.
Max is on the floor cheering her on.
 Charlie and Max were among the last tested on the kick.  We were getting anxious because it's a difficult kick and quite a few of the kids weren't successful in breaking their boards, or had to be given three or four tries.  If they don't get it on their first attempt, the rest of the attempts are made with a sore foot!  We were so proud of these kids when they each broke the board on their first try.

Max (in blue) sparring

Charlie (red helmet) kicking her sparring partner
 The sparring is always fun to watch.  The kids are so well padded that chances of them getting hurt are slim.  They have to use combination kicks and moves during this part of the testing.

At the end of the class, Master Park had all the students line up in front of him and he talked to them about bullying in school.  Although they know how to kick and fight, he stressed that they were not to use their skills in dealing with bullies in school because it would just end up in them getting in trouble with the teachers and principal.  Instead, Master Park taught them a defensive move and shout and instructed them on how to avoid fights and bullies.  These kids are getting some valuable training.

We're so proud of these kids for sticking with this program.  I remember when Sara was taking them to their first class.  Charlie was crying and fighting, saying she would hate it and didn't want to go.  Then when the first class was over, she was excited and said she loves it and has been an enthusiastic participant ever since.  It's nice that they're doing it together.  They encourage one another at home and 'teach' their two little sisters some of their moves. Elly is already enjoying being in the Little Tigers group and three-year old Quinn is eager to learn too although she has to be four before she can join.

And that was our main activity on this bright sunny winter day.

Hope you're all having a nice weekend.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lloyd's Adventures in Travelling

My sweet husband is a smart man, a competent man, a successful CEO of a multi-faceted organization. Although competent in his job, he teaches employees to never give him the only copy of any important document. He has, in the past year, been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder.  It explains sooooo much about him and has made it easier for me to understand his interesting quirks and behaviours, like why he can never find his keys, or his wallet.  I've learned to keep track of such things for him out of necessity.  It obviously hasn't kept him from succeeding in life.

Recently though it has caused him major grief.  We went to Arizona in January.  He went a week ahead of me to participate in a retreat with some of his staff.  When we travel together, which is most of the time, I'm in charge of passports, boarding passes, all travel related documentation.   This time, however, he was on his own and I was to join him a week later.

A couple of days after he arrived in Arizona, he phoned me with a problem.  Being a competent and fastidious man, he had decided to launder what few items he felt needed cleaning.  So he threw a load into the washer, and then into the dryer, and upon removing them from the dryer discovered that he had left his passport in his pants pocket and it got pretty well beaten up, waterlogged, and wrinkled.  All the travel stamps had washed off and while the identification page with his photo and signature was still legible, it was damaged to the extent that it wouldn't have been able to be scanned by airport security.

When I arrived in AZ I looked up the number of the Canadian Consulate in Phoenix only to get a recording telling me that the Phoenix office had closed permanently in June 2012 and I would have to contact the consulate in Los Angeles.  When I finally spoke to a person at that office, I was told we had three options: First,  we could drive to LA, wait in line there all day for an application for a replacement passport which would then be mailed to us from Quebec.  The process of driving there, going to the consulate, and driving back would have taken up to five days and then a couple of weeks (at least) to actually receive the passport by mail.  The second option was to go to the airport and take our chances on passing through security and boarding our plane. There were many examples on the internet where persons with damaged passports were routinely turned away by security and not allowed to board international flights. The consulate official suggested that if we wanted to try it, we should visit the airport prior to the day of the flight and get something in writing from the airline supervisor.  Our past experience with airport security in the Phoenix airport made us very hesitant to try this route (long, scary story). The third option was to drive back to Canada and cross the border by car.  It might take awhile and some questioning at the border, but it would be the Canadian officials he'd be talking to and not US security officers. After weighing everything carefully, we decided he would drive back with his nephew who happened to be in Phoenix and was driving back anyway at about the same time we were scheduled to return home.

So, I flew home as planned when our holiday was over, leaving Lloyd to drive back to Canada with his nephew.  It took them less than 2 days to reach Canada.  After three weeks of worrying about whether he'd ever get back into Canada, it took only a few minutes at the Canadian border although he was cautioned by the customs officer to get his passport replaced before travelling again,

What a relief!  I wonder if I'll ever feel at ease when he's travelling by himself.  I think he will be more careful about checking his pockets before throwing clothes in the washer.

He went to the passport office last week to apply for a new passport.  The person who checked his application looked at his old passport and remarked that it's amazing how many people try to use similarly damaged passports and can't understand why they're not allowed to board their flight.  So it's a good thing we settled on the option of driving back. I guess it's also a fairly common thing to happen to travelers. Lloyd was told that if he loses or damages his passport during the term of his new passport, it'll be quite difficult for him to get a new passport again and if issued a new one, it would likely be for a shorter term than normal.  I guess all governments handle the issuing of passports more strictly since 2001.

Lloyd should have his new passport in hand in a week or so and is anxious to 'try it out' by going back down to Arizona!

He did manage to take some photos along the way as he and Mark were driving north from Arizona, through Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Montana.  Here are a few of them, mostly Idaho and Montana.

Isn't travelling fun!!!

Friday, February 15, 2013


Just some random photos and thoughts today.

Yesterday, Feb. 14, was our daughter Amy's 38th birthday. 

She forever changed Valentine's day for us.  She's grown up to be a truly remarkable woman, daughter, wife, mother of 4, nurse, and much more.  One of her co-workers made her a unique birthday cake.

We stopped by last night to share a few minutes of her birthday with her, and to taste the cake.

Since our baby Emily's husband was away on a business trip, we took her out to dinner with us.  It's always so nice to spend time with this special young woman.

Excuse the pixellated pictures - I grabbed them from facebook.

Besides the cards we gave one another, Lloyd and I received some home-made valentines from our three sweet little grandkids, Kenny, Alex and Hannah.

Last weekend on our way back from Lethbridge, we stopped to visit our daughter Jenny and her family.  Lloyd snapped this picture of me, my oldest daughter and my oldest grandchild.

Jenny always said we needed to get some 'tall genes' into our family gene pool.  Sure looks like she's succeeded with this 6'3" 16-year old.  Her first novel is well on its way to being published.  We expect to see it in the bookstores and on Amazon in the early fall.

Have you ever stopped to count up the things you love?  Wow!  There's just too much.  We are so very fortunate to have so much good in our lives - family, friends, hobbies, activities, flowers and beaches and mountains.

Something else I love - puzzles.

Well, this is becoming slightly incoherent, so with a couple of love pictures, I'll close it down for today.


With love,   Pat

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Little Alberta Rosebud

It's been 11 days since I posted my last entry.  I didn't mean for so much time to pass, but I think I ran out to stuff to blog about.  Then I remembered that there's always something to say so here I am again.  I also have to spend lots of time catching up with all my bloggy friends before they forget I'm here.

We got back into Canada safely, though not together.  Lloyd had an 'incident' with his passport when he first got to Arizona and I wasn't there to take care of such things, but he's here now and I'll save that incident for a later post.

Right now I want to write about a tiny town in Alberta that we detoured to drive through on our way from Lethbridge to Edmonton yesterday.  It is such a cute, unique, old (by Canadian standards) little town that we had never heard of but which needs to be brought out of hiding.

The town is called Rosebud.  It sits in the middle of Wheatland county, surrounded by rolling wheat fields and some oil pumps.  There are not many people living there, in the winter anyway.  After we thought we had seen everything there was to see and were heading down just one more road, we saw a wonderfully Canadian winter scene...complete with people...

...an old fashioned skating pond with a family out skating, and one adult cross country skiing there on the left.  You can see the shovels they used to clear the ice sticking up out of the snow bank, and the boy with a hockey stick looking for a pick-up game.

Those were the only people we saw in the town, except for an older couple out for a walk on the lovely warmish winter day.

Rosebud is actually a Hamlet, not a town, 35 km from Drumheller, near the site of the largest dinosaur excavations in America.  Rosebud itself was built to service the railway when it was built back in the late 1800s.  Now there isn't a gas station or a convenience store to be found.

But it is rich in art and culture.  In fact, it's all about arts and culture.

This is the largest of the several inns and B&Bs in Rosebud.  There are no large
commercial hotels or motels here.

And this is the back view of the Inn that you see when approaching the town

This was the only store in town, now converted to public use.  Before  the play performances
the audience congregates here for a big buffet, complete with live music.

One of the several museums in town.  

And a guest house.

The old Hotel Rosebud.  Notice the bicycles standing there in the snow.  We saw
these all over town and noticed that there was a sign on one of them instead
of a license, saying 'public transport'.  I don't know for sure but it seemed that they
were placed around town for people to use as they wished.

This building, also a museum, is attached to the house on the right, which is on
the street around the corner from this one.  We'll have to go back in the summer
to check it out.

This is the hotel from a different angle.  Notice the lovely old golden retriever
basking in the winter sun.

This looks like it might have started life as a barn but is now a country bar and grill.

These are two gift shops attached to the famous Rosebud Theatre.

I checked on-line to see what Rosebud is all about, since there was no one in the town when we were there to tell us.  It has the Royal Sproule Art Gallery featuring works by local artists, the Akokiniskay Art Gallery, featuring works by Alberta artists, the Rosebud School of Performing Arts, the Rosebud Centennial Museum, the Rosebud Theatre with resident actors, student apprentices and visiting artists, and the Akokiniskway Golf Course.

We'll definitely go back there in the summer when things are in full swing, maybe take in a show and explore the museums and galleries.

Just in closing, here are a few views around town.

Farm equipment sitting in the shade

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Tractors in a side yard

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Grain handling terminals

Cattails along the river bank