Thursday, May 30, 2013

Feathered Fun

This past week we've been bird-sitting my daughter Jenny's lineolated parakeet while she and her husband take their five boys to explore their roots in far away Nova Scotia.

Oedie is a very social bird, the door of her cage is seldom closed.  She loves running around the floor, scooting under furniture and climbing on her people. When shes in her cage she whistles the theme from the Bridge Over the River Quai and the theme from another old television show.  A very entertaining little house guest.

She thought I made a tomato sandwich just for her.

When Mickey came over for a scrapbooking day yesterday, Oedie
had to get involved as well.

She paused in her exploring to pose for pictures.

But one thing we didn't let her share, was the delicious Jamaican
Lime Banana Bread I made.  So good, with coconut, lime, pecans
and bananas and a touch of rum flavoring.
Tomorrow Lloyd and I will take Oedie back to Jenn on our way down to Lethbridge.  We'll miss her little chirpy voice around here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Goin' to Winnipeg

I had planned to visit my sister and  mother in Winnipeg this past weekend as I usually do in May when all three of us celebrate our birthdays, but somehow this year it got turned into a 'girls trip'.  My daughters Amy, Sara and Emily, and DIL Cindy all accompanied me.  Emily didn't fly out with us but she and her husband chose to drive (14 hours) out for the weekend.  We had a great time.  Unfortunately I didn't take as many pictures as I usually do.

We posed for group shots...
The girls - Amy, Sara, Me, Wendy, Cindy, Emily
Wonderful travelling companions and a great hostess.

 ...and met Wendy's newest grandson, Chase.

He's 10 months old and quite a charmer.
We had a spa day...facials, massages, manicures and pedicures.  Wendy and I just had the mani/pedi and the younger ones had the facials and massages and pedicures.

We went shopping.  Wendy and I, following Mum's example from our pre-school days, bought two identical  pieces of clothing.

We all went out for a birthday dinner.  Wendy's birthday was the 18th and Emily's is the 19th so we had a joint party, just like Wendy and I used to have when we were little and our birthdays were eight days apart.
We were joined by the men for this event, as well as Wendy's daughter Meredith and her husband Angelo.

Clockwise from lower left:  Angelo, Meredith, Sara, Amy, Cindy, Randy,
Wendy, Me, Emily, Allan
We had a game night with some of us playing Hand and Foot Canasta...

And others playing Settlers of Catan...

There were winners but I won't embarass the non-winners by naming the victors :)

But the main reason for our trip to Winnipeg was to visit Mum.  She'll be 92 next week and remains strong and healthy in spite of the ravages of Alzheimers.  She hasn't known us for several years now and I'm sure she doesn't get anything out of our visits, but we know her and it feels good to be able to visit her and have some small interactions with her.  It was hard for the girls to see their once vibrant grandmother like that but I know they were glad to have been there and to see for themselves that she's content and well cared for.

Mum, Amy, Sara, Emily

Me, Mum and Wendy
 It's good to be home again.  I went over to visit Sara's kids yesterday afternoon and Charlie was telling me how her mother ate all of Aunt Wendy's brownies!  I didn't tell Charlie that Sara had lots of help.  They really were the most delicious brownies ever.

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Lloyd and I were having a nice quiet weekend, quietly celebrating my birthday on Friday with a lovely home cooked lobster dinner for two.  I usually have a combined birthday/Mother's Day celebration with Mother's Day sometimes falling exactly on my birthday.  This year there was a day in between.  I heard from all the kids on Friday, via phone calls and facebook messages.  It's always nice to be remembered, and this was a milestone birthday - my 65th.

On Saturday some of my grandkids were involved in a TaeKwonDo festival.  Sara texted me, with a picture of Charlie and her newly won silver medal.  She invited us over later in the day so I could have my picture taken with Charlie and the medal for Sara's blog.

So Lloyd and I went over, and here's what followed:

I went in the front door...

A huge bunch of people yelled "Surprise"
My jaw dropped...

My hand flew to my face....

And my eyes began to leak.

For the first time in my life, I was given a surprise party, and I had absolutely no idea it was being planned.  And it wasn't just a random surprise party.  Sara had arranged for all the out-of-town kids and their kids to be there as well...they drove and flew into Edmonton without me having any knowledge of their activities.  Sneaky brats!

I spent the rest of the evening alternately laughing and fighting back tears (I cry at anything remotely emotional).

I was greeted by a gang of grandkids

I greeted my kids and their spouses

Once I caught my breath I was shown to the cake table

Me and Lloyd

The beautiful owl-themed cake was baked and decorated by a very talented family friend.  That book with my high school picture on it,  beside the cake, brought more tears.  It was a scrapbook Sara compiled of me through the years, with pictures of all the kids and grandkids and beautiful notes to me from each of the kids and many of the grandkids.  It has become an instant treasure. And the frame behind it contains an artistic rendering of all the sayings I used consistently through the years that the kids  associate with their childhood.  Things like "in a pig's eye", "sheer ice", "holy lifting", ToadyOodie Baby", etc.

 After a delicious pot luck dinner, it was time to blow out the candles.  The kids always like helping with this part. (I'm glad they settled on having just five candles).  And after the cake was cut and everyone had a piece, there wasn't a crumb left.  I did manage to save two of the large paste owls from the side of the cake. I'll find a way to scrapbook them.

 Then we went outside for pictures.  The sun was shining low in the sky and cast sunbeam streaks on some of the pictures, giving them a heavenly appearance.

Me and Lloyd

My bff Mickey was there to help me celebrate

Me and my girls

My beautiful daughters - Sara, Emily, Jenny, Emily and Amy
We forgot to get a picture of the boys :( . They were busy chasing
their kids.

With our kids and their spouses - Mary's husband, Greg, was the
only family member unable to attend.

Lloyd and I and the kids - Sara, Amy, Mary and Mike
Rob, Emily and Jenn

Lloyd and I and the grandkids.  I won't name them all but
trust me, there are 20 of them...our oldest one towering over us.

And finally, the whole gang...aren't we a crowd!
It was the best birthday/mother's day ever!  And I never did get my picture taken with Charlie and her silver medal.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Random 5 Friday

I'm borrowing this idea from another blogger. I'm not sure I know how to link my post to another blog but I'll try and hopefully it'll work. The idea is to post five random pictures.  Today is a good day to start because:

It's my Birthday - a major milestone - I am now officially a Senior Citizen. That's last year's photo.

This past weekend we enjoyed a beautiful drive through both Banff and Jasper National Parks on our way to British Columbia.

Although I've lived in Alberta for most of my adult life, and as an Edmontonian I have bought into the Calgary-Edmonton rivalry, until last weekend I had never been in downtown Calgary.  Much to my surprize, I found it quite beautiful with lots of interesting architecture just begging to be photographed.  Unfortunately the resolution on my phone isn't nearly as good as my camera.

Searching through my box of treasures recently, I came across this note from a 12 year old daughter written over 20 years ago.  Some things are just to precious to throw away.

I'm learning to use new apps to help me organize my many pictures.

The Random 5 Friday meme is hosted by  Nancy Claeys

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Our ULTRA Weekend

We just got back from the most beautiful, exciting weekend in a long time.  Lloyd, Emily, Allan and I drove from Edmonton, AB to Vernon, BC (8 hours) to participate in the excitement of Emily and our 8-year old granddaughter Layla running an 8km trail run.  This run was so different from the ones here in Edmonton because it was a wilderness trail in a mountain park - more ups than downs according to the runners!

Emily and Layla before their run 

Layla and Em out of the starting point.  

Still going strong after 2 km.

Blazing right past us

Reaching for the finish line after 8km

Made it!

Happy to be Finished
They walked down to the lake to soak their tired feet after the run.
That's our grandson Baron in the blue shirt.
They ran the 8k in just under an hour.  Emily admitted that she 'lost' Layla early on.  One of the steep climbs saw Layla charge past Em and that's all she saw of her until about 800 meters from the finish line.  It was so nice that they were able to cross together.  As we were sitting at a picnic table by the lake after the run, an older woman came up to us and told us how Layla "saved my life".  They were running side by side for awhile.  The woman was struggling so Layla gave her some of the electrolite booster gummies for kids that she carries in her running belt.  The woman said they really helped her.  She thought Layla was a super runner.  We think she is too.  And so is Emily. We were so glad she chose to hold back from one of the longer races in order to be with Layla on her 8k.

As well as the 8km run, Layla's parents, Mary and Greg (our daughter and SIL), were running their first Ultra Marathon - a 50km (30 mile) run on the mountain trails.

Before the run.  They had a very early starting time so I went to
their motel room to be there when Layla and Baron woke up and to
get them ready for the day.

Since we couldn't be there for the start of the 50k, this is one taken by the race organizers and posted on their website.  That's Mary in the center of the picture.

Greg, after 25 km, stopping to refill his water bottles and
eat an orange slice the organizers provided.

Layla and Baron making sure their dad gets refueled at the 25 km pit stop.

Still looking and feeling good at 25 km.

Mary at 25k, getting her bottle out to refill
Rehydrating with a little help from her Dad

And Baron helped fill one of her bottles too.

Greg, coming up to the finish line after 6 hrs and 56 minutes. His goal
was to finish in under 7 hours, and he did.

Happy, proud, exhaustion, elation, relief.
The face of a runner.

Baron anxiously watching while his Dad catches his breath
Mary approaching the finish line for a time of 7hr 55 min.
Her goal was to finish in under 8 hours.  These two
really know their abilities.
Crossing the finish line with a smile on her face.

Greg taking advantage of the post-race massage with Layla looking on.

While Mary opted to soak her aching calves in the ice cold mountain lake.

Our four Ultra runners.

This is a picture taken by one of the organizers near the top of the
run.  You can see how far up from the lake they ran.

While the runners were running, Lloyd, Allan and I kept 4 year old Baron entertained at the beach at the starting line.

Baron was very easy to have around for the seven or so hours we had to
spend waiting for the runners to come in.  It's a beautiful location for
a trail run.

We watched the antics of this wild creature (there were two of
them).  Baron said it was a chipmunk, but I'm sure it's much too large
for a chipmunk.  It came out of a burrow in the ground.  Any guesses?

I taught him to skip rocks in the lake.  We spent a lot of time there.

He's going to be taller than me before too long.

And Allan found a shady spot where he could read in comfort.
Baron is running his first 5km run tomorrow.  It won't be a trail run though.  He'll have to work up to that.  Layla is going to be running a 10km tomorrow.  I guess it's in their blood.