Thursday, March 27, 2014

43 Years Ago Today

On this day in 1971 Lloyd and I began our great adventure together.  Through the years  we have relocated 25 times from the west to the east coast of Canada, added 7 great people to the world, who in turn have increased our family by 21 grandchildren.  We've had a lot of exciting experiences together, a few challenges, and lots and lots of great memories.  All the while never losing sight of the love and devotion that has been the guiding force in our lives.  It's a great feeling to have this person in my life who loves me unconditionally (and that's not an easy thing!) and who I love unconditionally in return. It makes life sweet.

March 27, 1971
Summer 2005

The Whole Family - May 2013

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Repeat Performance

One of the joys of being retired is the ability to take spontaneous trips.  That's what we've done this week.  Our daughter Sara and her family are on vacation in Arizona, and with more snow falling in Alberta this week we decided, after discussing it with them, to join them for their second week of vacation.  So here we are back in Arizona, basking in the 30C heat, far from the snow and cold of Alberta.

Of course, one of the first things I wanted to do was to go back to the Desert Botanical Gardens to walk the one trail Mickey and I missed and take pictures of the Chihuly glass structures there and enjoy the new experience with the grandkids.

Sara, Charlie, Quinn, Pat, Elly and Max at the entrance to the DBG

Lloyd and Sara

Elly, Quincey and Max
Quinn watching the butterflies in the Butterfly Pavilion

Me and Lloyd

To put things into perspective --- Elly and Sara at the foot of the glass structure.

Elly sitting in front of the white glass structures

Beautiful structure in a boat, the reflection in the water is perfect

Charlie 'holding' the boat

Floating blue glass 'ice'.

Lloyd and Elly

Hummingbird on a wire

Lovely Charlie by the water sculpture

Quincey spent the afternoon with Quinn riding his shoulders

Grinding mesquite seeds the old fashioned way

Max leaving a ramada.  Everyone was carrying water all day. This
is thirsty business. 

Quinn in the corral

Charlie and her Gram at the end of the trail.
Another lovely day in paradise.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Rain in the Desert

In the six or so years we've been coming to Arizona we've only seen a sprinkle of rain once in a long while.  This past trip though showed us what rain in the desert is really like.  The local TV reports were calling it the largest storm of the year!  It was beautiful.

Water seems to not seep into the ground here but instead finds the lowest area and runs down to pool at the lowest spot.  For that reason, the neighbhourhoods all have run-off trails to prevent flooding.

Rain pouring down in our back yard

Following the water as it drains off

Our street

This is a beautiful green area kitty corner from our house.  During a
rain it fills up with water.  This took place within half an hour of the rain

More water runnoff

Puddles in the back yard

That's rain falling on the saguaro, not hail.

Rain and puddles - not a big deal in Canada but
quite spectacular down here in Arizona

Kids always find ways to enjoy puddles, now matter how large

Aftermath - rain dripping off the cactus

 It was an exciting storm, but even better is the lovely warm sunny days that make us forget about the snow back home.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lushly Lemon

When we were in Arizona earlier this month, we were amazed to see the huge bunch of lemons on the small lemon tree we planted six years ago.  And not just little northern grocery store sized lemons but large gorgeous bursting with juice fruit.

One of the things I like best about lemon trees is the fact that they keep producing.  On this
branch you can see blossoms, little green baby lemons, as well as the mature fruit
ready to be picked.  And nothing smells quite as lovely as lemon blossoms.

I picked some, as well as some oranges, just to have on display.  Just
look at the size of those babies.  I put a couple of 'regular' sized ones
in too, just for perspective.  When I sliced them the juice just dripped
from them.

I made this most delicious dessert (twice actually) from a recipe I found
on Pintrest.  Its a trifle made using a torn up angle food cake, lemon  filling
like you'd make for a lemon meringue pie, coconut and whipped cream, all layered together
for a delightful melding of flavors.  I made mine quite tart because I used the zest of one
lemon, but it was one of the huge ones.  So good!

Of course a lemon loaf needed to be made.  I learned a good lesson with
this one.  We don't do much baking when we're down there on vacation
so the flour I used was the same flour we bought six years ago.  Flour
does not age well and it gave the loaf a distinctly 'old' flavor.  It sure
smelled good baking though.

Of course we kept a jug of lemon water in the fridge for sipping
during the hot Arizona days, and made some delicious jugs
of fresh squeezed lemonade as well.
There's just something special about using ingredients you pick from trees in your own back yard, or vegetables from your garden.  I just wish we were able to bring some of the lemons and oranges home with us, but the customs officials frown on such things.  Actually, they take it from you if you try to take it from the US into Canada, and vice versa.  Oh well, it makes us enjoy them all the more when we're down there.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Cats and Kittens

I love cats and kittens...grew up with them, but haven't had one of my own since the early days of our marriage.  Now I get my cat 'fix' when I visit my kids' homes.  Here's or newest ones...

Sara's cat, Fang, just recently produced a litter of four - three identical females and one lighter male kitten.  Their eyes have just opened and they're starting to move around on their wobbly little legs.  So precious.

Baby getting one-on-one time with Mom

Pack of three, well fed and rested

The fourth tries to wander off on his own.

Meanwhile, over at Rob's house, their latest addition is a remarkable Bengal cat.  Rob is the reason we didn't have cats while the kids were growing up.  We learned early on that he was allergic to them.  When he and Cindy decided to get a pet for the kids, Rob visited the SPCA and rescue agencies and systematically handled different breeds of cats...just one breed a see if his allergies reacted to them.  And they did, he was allergic to all except one, the Bengal cat.  When they decided they could safely have this type of cat, the one he handled had already been adopted.  So they contacted a breeder who had the perfect cat for them.  She's a year old, spayed, and family friendly.  So she's now a part of their family.  And she's beautiful.

She always looked directly at the camera when she saw it.

Add caption

On top of her cat tree surveying her domain

She looks like a little leopard, such beautiful markings and she moves with the stealthy grace of a jungle cat.  She's a small, sleek cat with the silkiest fur I've ever felt.  Sometimes her breed is called cashmere bengal, and I totally see why.

Maybe when Lloyd and I finally stop travelling and moving around we'll get a cat of our own and I'll happily become a cat lady.  There's always something to look forward to :) In the meantime, as we visit our children and grandchildren, we'll enjoy our grandcats as well.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Beautiful Glass

It's been so long since I last posted that I'm embarassed to be here again.  I don't mean for there to be such lapses between entries, but life has been getting in the way big time lately with several family medical concerns and ongoing issues that we've been dealing with. Sometimes it's just hard to find the heart to get on the computer and post.

Anyway, I'm back now and will do my best to keep posting and reading other blogs. I've missed being here.

What inspired me to post today was our recent trip to Arizona and especially the visit to the Desert Botanical Gardens where there was an installation of many beautiful glass works by the famous and talented glass artist, Dale Chihuly.  I've loved his work since I first encountered it several years ago when we went to Las Vegas and stayed at the Bellagio where the lobby ceiling was covered with his huge glass flowers.

I was so excited when we got to the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix and to discover that their current theme is "Chihuly in the Park".  Have a look...

The park entrance is graced by three towering glass cacti on permanent display.  I take pictures of them every time I go.  And look at that lovely unusual for us to see in Arizona.  We went to the park on the day after a huge rainstorm and the sky was still somewhat heavy with clouds.   Such a nice change from the unrelenting sun and heat that we usually experience there.

Right inside the entrance the visitor is greeted by a beautiful blue sunburst.  It's hard for these pictures to show you the size and shimmering beauty of these amazing glass structures, but you'll get an idea anyway.

There were several clusters of twisting, curving glass tubes in various colors.  Each tube has a texture, grooves, etc that make them distinctive.

Two Chihuly fans - me and Mickey

It was intresting to see how Mr. Chihuly styled his glasswork to fit into the surroundings.

...and a closer view, looking upward

There were also some interesting clusters of upright glass among the stately cactus

Other smaller yellow clusters seeming to grow among their living counterparts.

I loved the orange and yellow sculptures.

This one was huge and could be seen from many vantage spots along the garden trails. Aren't the saguaro lovely.

Playing with my new zoom lens I was able to capture the woodpecker on top of a giant saguaro near the towering orange and yellow glass structure.

And then there was this spectacular centerpiece - blown glass balls.

...put into perspective so you can see just how large the sculpture is..

But my very very favorite of all the wonderful glassworks on display throughout the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix were these next ones.

The pictures don't do it justice...the beauty and grace of the pink and white pieces was amazing, surrounded by such a lovely shade of lilac.  I wish you could all see it in person.

Well, that's a lot of pictures, but I honestly had a hard time leaving some out. I must give photo credit to Mickey for some of the pictures - I can't remember which ones are hers and which are mine - and to a kind gentleman who offered to take the picture of the two of us together.  Mickey and I missed one whole trail in the garden and I'm sure there were lots more glassworks for us to see and photograph there.  So now we have an excuse to go back, maybe take our husbands with us, and take more pictures.  I'd like to see the gardens after dark when the glass installations are lighted up.   Next time....