caribbean cruise

IMG_0392 IMG_0405In March, we left the Edmonton snow and flew to Tampa to catch the Norwegian Sun for a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise. 

Our first port of call was Roatan Bay, Honduras. We took a catamaran about 30 minutes out to sea to snorkel. (I have to admit, I was uneasy as the waves were big enough to keep the others from my view at times). After snorkeling, we were treated to a Honduran picnic on the boat. It was roughly 400 degrees in the shade. We burned badly even though we used sunscreen. After showering, we went back into town to shop. The high-pressured sales removed all browsing enjoyment for me. Gordon bought some gifts and I bought a Christmas ornament to commemorate the trip, because, well, every trip needs a commemorative Christmas ornament. 

Our second stop was Belize City, Belize. We went zip-lining in the rain forest and, surprisingly, I wasn't even scared, and cave tubing. I liked cave tubing; it was beautiful and the water was clean and clear. 

Our third excursion was to the 2500 year-old Mayan Ruins of Costa Maya, Mexico. That was fascinating. On the drive back to the ship, our driver stopped and got us fresh pineapple sprinkled with chili pepper. Amazingly, it was delicious.

Our last port of call, and the one I liked the most, was Cozumel, Mexico. We rented scooters and toured the island, driving right beside the water a lot of time. I couldn't help smiling as the salty, ocean mist touched my face and lips. I bought a colorful tablecloth for $45. Gordon got stopped by a policeman for speeding. They struggled through a language barrier and Gordon eventually got free without a ticket. 

IMG_0365 IMG_0411Evenings on the boat were lively. We danced, watched a few live shows, ate well, and watched sunsets. We went to a Karaoke Bar and Gordon thoroughly entertained me by dancing and singing to Huey Lewis's "I Need a New Drug." He's an amazing dancer and can cut loose with amazing rhythm. His second song was Margaritaville. Watching him was a lot of fun. I wish I could do it, but he got that talent, not me. My favorite evening was laying on the top deck under the stars, which amazingly, we had to ourselves as everyone else was inside enjoying the night life. It was wonderful to have that beautiful time and place to ourselves to meditate on God's goodness and power.  

We decided we like the cruise life, that's it's a cost-effective way for us to holiday. The part I liked the most were the unique activities we did on the excursions. Were it not for cruising, I probably would never zip-line in a rain forest, go cave tubing, or rent a scooter in Cozumel. For what we paid, we sure got a lot of bang for our buck.

I wonder where we will go next?

i love not camping

Not campingThis week will be a quiet week. A quiet week sounds really good. Gordon and Deborah have gone camping. Rachael isn't here and Hannah is laying low. Camping. Oh the bliss of not being there! I have camped myself into a hope-to-never-camp-again mode. 

We are old fashioned campers. We don't have a camper or recreational vehicle of any kind. We use good old fashioned tents and sleeping bags. For years, we camped every summer simply because it was all we could afford. Those were good times and I've lots of great memories.

When Deborah was a newborn, 6 days old having arrived by c-section, we went camping. Yes, that is admirable. Perhaps slightly stupid, it illustrates my devotion to family camping trips.

My family camping
                                  2004, Pembina River

Before my hysterectomy, we went camping in Saskatchewan for what was supposed to be 12 days. My medical needs dictated we come home on day eight. In the emergency room, I told the doctor of the last eight days in Saskatchewan. He said, "Well, thankfully you weren't camping." Oh, but I was. It was slightly on the hellish side of life.

Three years ago we started camping with our friends, the Loszchuks. Wonderful people. (Gordon and Tom are best friends and can talk for hours about the boringest stuff ever.) Although they are old fashioned campers too, (tents and sleeping bags), they take camping more seriously than I. Christine is a great cook and loves cooking. I am a mediocre cook and derive little satisfaction in the exercise. Camping is about relaxing and relaxing to me means little cooking. Breakfast is cereal, muffins, or fruit. Your

Grilled chicken potatoes and carrots and canteloupe

Greig Lake Saskatchewan, 2005

choice. Lunch is sandwiches, chips, and fruit. Supper may be hot dogs, hamburgers or chili that I made at home. Considered a splurge of exertion, I make one "good" meal and it's simple too; chicken, potatoes, corn-on-the-cob and cantaloupe. Simple, simple, simple. It's all about being simple. If it's not simple, it's too much work.

Christine is my polar opposite. She loves to cook, remember? They bring so many food items they require two vehicles, one hauling mostly food. She makes spaghetti over a campfire. And veal cutlets. She makes bacon, eggs and hash browns for breakfast. She makes a full meal for lunch. Do you think my family wants cereal when there's bacon and eggs next door? Or sandwiches when Christine is frying up a fish? They don't. They end up eating over there and I look like the mom who doesn't feed her family. So I go help Christine cook to keep from looking like a louse. I hate every second of it.

Campsite 2
                                          Aspen Beach, 2006

Remember, I don't enjoy cooking and it is work for me. Camping is about relaxation. Again I say it, Christine loves to cook. She cooks all day and my family loves to eat her cooking. To save face, I end up at their fire cooking with Christine. It's exhausting. Not just the cooking but the mental anguish of keeping up with her and pretending to enjoy it. Terrifically exhausting. I'd rather sleep, read, explore, almost anything, rather than cook.

That's when camping became too laborious for me. This is my second year of not going camping. Quite frankly, I'm loving it.


north carolina, with love


Front porch
I took this while sitting on a rocker on Stacie's front porch.

In early May I was in North Carolina visiting my sister Stacie. It was a glorious time. Almost every morning I enjoyed a pot of coffee on her front porch. And every moment of it, I felt I was experiencing a slice of heaven.

The view from her porch is magnificent. The spring scents were sweet and subtle. The breeze was tender and the birds' singing was like salve to my heart. Every sense I possess smiled.

There were a few rainy days and even they were heavenly. I sat on the porch wrapped in one of my mom's afghans, sipped coffee and listened to the rain. On occassion I called Gordon so he could hear the thunder and rain. I just sat and smiled. It was refreshing to every cell of my being. I'm sure my liver was smiling.

It was delightful to spend time with my beautiful neices and nephew. Melody was home from South Sudan. I watched Emily and Rebekah graduate from college. Jordan finished his first year of college while I was there, so he came home too.

I got to connect with all of them and that was huge. Their lives are all going in different directions, so it's not easy getting them all home at the same time. I was blessed.

Em and bek's grad
Emily and Rebekah, 2012 graduates of UNCA

At Emily and Rebekah's outdoor graduation, there was a tremendous deluge of rain. Hundreds of people ran for cover, me one of them. The show went on. As I stood there I knew I would regret it. I left the safe overhang and ventured out into the downpour to see Emily and Rebekah graduate. I felt so "present." Under the overhang, I was missing out; out in the downpour, I was truly there. I was glad I left the shelter and truly engaged in their graduation.

My sister Diane came to North Carolina and the three of us had the usual sisterly-bonding that is so special. We talked and laughed and spent one evening dancing in Stacie's living room.

I came back home to Canada refreshed and eager to see the family. It was a delightful, much needed break from ordinary life.




a wee safari adventure

Arkansas safari collage

One of the highlights of our visit in Arkansas was a trip to the Wilderness Safari. Here are some pictures from there. My favorite is the one with Roman covering his eyes. He wasn't comfortable with all the animals traipsing around the car so he covered his eyes. Surely, if he couldn't see them, they couldn't see him!

Avery couldn't get close enough and is standing in the window not wanting to miss a thing. Those two are like night and day.

A funny memory of the day was Roman seeing the gazelle or ibex (or whatever it was) and exclaiming, "What is that freakin' horned animal?"


discovery cove, orlando

 Stock Photo 01

For each of us, Discovery Cove was a highlight of our time in Florida.

Last year we started planning this trip. Initially the main purpose in going to Florida was to see my friend Debbie. We didn't know that she would be gone by the time our trip rolled around. Several times during our time in Florida I felt melancholy remembering that the whole purpose of the trip - in its initial stage - was so I could spend some time with Debbie.

Stock Photo 02I'm sure you've noticed that I don't blog quite like I use to. There are several reasons but among them is the absence of my friend and faithful reader Debbie. So many times I wrote just for her. She loved reading this blog and I loved to write stories for her. I miss her and the trip to Florida was mildly bittersweet because I was often reminded of how the trip originated.



  H kissing dolphin Our sweet Hannah developed a love for anything related to marine life several years ago. She said she wanted to be a marine biologist and we wanted to encourage this love. That is how Discovery Cove arrived as one of our destinations.

Our desire to encourage the "marine biology" thing was really enlivened when she declared that she hadn't decided which to pursue; marine biology or tatoo artistry. That's when Gordon enrolled her in the Trainer for a Day program.

Hannah  pushed by dolphin
She worked with dolphins, swam with and rode dolphins, fed sharks and rays and I don't know what else. It was a glorious experience for her. I'm so glad she had the opportunity.





  Stock Photo 12 Deborah surprised us by falling in love with manta rays. We couldn't hardly pull her out of their pools. Every time we tried for pictures - almost every time - she was unavailable because she didn't want to leave the mantas.





Stock Photo 15
I did a lot of everything, but my favorite part was being all alone with the waterfalls. For hours I had the waterfalls to myself and I loved that.






Stock Photo 19 Years ago, I put "swim with dolphins with Hannah" on my bucket list (things to do before I die). Things got a little wonky and Hannah and I both swam with dolphins but not at the same time. But that's okay.




 Trainer for the day



This is our Hannah, trainer for a day.




   Hannah and rays



Deborah wasn't the only one who loved the rays. Hannah did too.










Family with dolphin



I quite love this picture of the family. Discovery Cove was a great experience!

sea world and busch gardens

Seaworld manta Here are some pictures from our time at Florida's Busch Gardens and Sea World. We had a good time at both. This one is called the Manta and my family is on it .






Giraffe bushe gardens Nice little giraffe.







Bushe gardens dive ride This ride was freaky because at the very top, which was way way up there, the ride stopped and you dangled straight down. That's the family there dangling. (The family includes everyone but me; someone had to take the picture.)





Bushe gardens Gordon and I went on a train ride in Busch Gardens and passed this pretty scene.







Atlantis seaworld This is the Atlantis at Sea World. Hannah and Deborah are on it.







Busch gardens

This is my favourite. Gordon, Hannah and Deborah on the Gwazi at Busch Gardens. Aren't their expressions priceless?


family holiday, 2011

2011 winter our house We recently returned from a wonderful family holiday to the southern United States. We left home with three feet of snow still on the ground and that evening were driving around Orlando with all the windows open - smiling down to our livers, basking in the warmth, humidity, and scents. We were starved for warmth, sunshine and greenery. And we found it!!

That evening Hannah traveled around Orlando with her head perched in the open window occasionally enthusing, "Why doesn't the whole world live here?" I think the whole family had a touch of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) this winter. I know I did, but it never occurred to me that the rest of the family did too. Upon seeing all the moods pick up, the crankiness and irritability subside, I realized everyone had been afflicted.

2011 limo to airport (2) One of the cool experiences of the holiday were the rides to and from the airport in a limo. Trust me, this would never happen in our family unless it was very cost effective. And it was. It was cheaper than taxi or leaving the car at the airport because of a connection that Gordon has - a friend with a limo company. It was a great way to start a holiday, especially at 5:00 in the morning.

V&dBy that evening we were thrilled to be at our Orlando condo which was conveniently close to Sea World, Discovery Cove, Aquatica, Disney World and outlet malls. And the pool, oh the pool. How sweet is was having just come from the Great White North.

Day 1 was amazing.





for pabob

D's fish 1 These are the last pictures I'll share from our camping trip to Little Bow. Pabob is the fisherman in my family, so these are especially for him.

Click on the pictures to get a closer look at Deborah's face. So sweet.

Deborah reeling in her first fish.

Debs' fish 3



2)  Getting help from Uncle Tom.

D's fish 2


3) She's not exactly comfortable touching it. {Smiles}

camping at little bow

Not our campsite
Unfortunately, this is not our way of camping.


Humble as it is, our camping looks more like this. We met our friends the Loszchuks and enjoyed another good camping trip with them.

Bike ride at sunset


Taken on my bike ride at sunset.



Jerrod, deborah, uncle tom and d's fish

Jerrod and Uncle Tom took Deborah fishing with them. She caught this fish, a walleye, I think, but she didn't want to hold it for the picture.

Debs' fish

After a little coercion, she agreed to hold up its fin. Tom cooked it in beer and it was delicious.



Debs bd cake

Deborah turned 11 while we were there.

Our little trek to the swimmin' hole


Our little trek to the lake.

V & d swimming

Deborah and me, swimming in what felt like glacier water. Fortunately by afternoon it was much warmer.

Little bow lake in the distance

Our lake is way in the distance. See it? I loved this view.

My beautiful alberta

When I first moved to the prairies, I felt exposed and vulnerable. The terrain made me feel lonely. Now I love my beautiful Alberta.

2010 family holidays are going to be pretty skimpy this year. Gordon and the girls will probably go camping again in August. I have a newer job and can't get any more time off. Especially since I already called in all my negotiating resources to get time off for a trip to Arkansas in September.

I have three, maybe four, more dragon boat festivals this summer. It will continue to be a good summer even though our holidays will be on the lean side.


stacie, hammin' it up

Life has had me by the tail ever since I got home from Arkansas and I've not captured many of my memories from the trip. I told about the photo shoot my sibs and I had with my dad. Before we had the opportunity to have a group picture made, my hammy sister, Stacie, captivated all the cameras. She is a ham-dinger. I wish I'd gotten a little more of that gene, but I didn't so I just get to enjoy her.
 Stacie hamming

Stacie hamming while we wait 

She is so funny and entertaining. I lub' 'er lots.
As you can see in these pictures, she put on a show. So unintimidated, acting like a teenager getting her picture made. As you can also see in the pictures, we were all waiting for her to finish the production.



roman, the main man

It was wonderful to see Romie Boy again. I was a little "too present" for his comfort, especially in the beginning. He liked me in small doses but would be overcome with rudeness when he got up in the morning and I was still there. He took his time warming up to me, but he finally did. Not before I'd said, "well that little t-u-r-d," a few times though. I said this rude comment when he countered my, "Good Morning, Roman" with "Umph," which I interpreted as "Get outta my house."

Roman and quilt 
This picture was made on my first evening there. He liked the I Spy quilt I made for him and really got into the game. It kept him occupied for quite a while.

Romie and quilt 

On my second morning there, he came into the living room where I was sitting with his quilt draped over my legs. He rushed at me, grabbed his quilt and gave me a royal "Umph."

Roman 1
Roman finally warmed up to me, but not until I'd invested a bit of time. He loved playing outside, going for walks, and feeding the ducks with Beppie. I eventually became a friend.

Romie and beppie outside
Roman loves playing in his backyard and he and his daddy do it lots. But in a pinch, when Daddy wasn't around, Beppie could fill in. (I have several pictures from this little outing. When Rachael looked at them she said, "You're so pulling a dad-moment with those black socks and white runners.") Rudies (that's Dykstra-ese for "rude ones") abound in my life. :-)

Roman and avery 1 

Roman is a loving brother to Avery. I never saw any jealousy or ill-will, just love and affection. On my first morning there, I took Avery out to the porch swing. Roman started crying "Baby, Baby". It was kind of heartbreaking that he was afraid I was taking his baby.

Once when Avery was starting to fuss in her swing, Roman ran to the swing, dug around Avery and found her pacifier. He put it in her mouth and tucked her blanket back around her. Avery stopped crying and Roman beamed. It was precious.

Roman in wagon 

Roman loves the outdoors and loved when we did outdoorsy things. This wagon ride was a bonding moment for us.


Roman is just 2 years old. But he can spell his name and knows many letters of the alphabet by sight. I'm pretty sure there's a college scholarship in his future.

Roman putting his animals in a circle

When I left him this past Sunday, this is what he was doing; lining up his little animals in a nice clean circle or straight line. Then we drove off, and he cried, "Beppie, Beppie." I cried. And I just cried again as I typed that.

lil' miss avery claire

Howdy Y'all.

I got home Monday morning after a glorious little holiday to Arkansas -- where I met my first granddaughter Avery. Needless to say, she stole my heart with her sweetness. She kind of liked me, too.

In grandmotherly fashion, I have a few pictures to share.

Avery and quilt
I'm the first to admit this little picture isn't the hottest, but it captures Avery on the rag quilt I made her. Truthfully, she didn't seem too awed by the quilt, but maybe one has to be older than 6 or 9 weeks to fully appreciate it. You reckon?

 One of avery's first smiles

Avery was considerate to reserve her first smiles for Beppie. She knew I came a long way to see her and she wanted to say thank you in her own special way. Her first smile was for Beppie. I love her considerate nature. 

Princess ave full body

Stephanie and John Mark had their 4th Annual Laney Harvest Party a few weeks ago. Avery was the resident Princess, all dolled-up and adorablish.

 Avery smiling at beppie 
As in the above smiling picture, Avery is smiling for Beppie here, too. Isn't she precious?

Here is a 5 Generation picture that we made at Memaw's house. Aren't we blessed to still have a Memaw and a Mimi?

Meeting Avery was the biggest highlight of the trip, but truthfully there were numerous highlights. Stay tuned and you'll be privy to a few more.


thursday thirteen

Gandv bike ride to lacombe 1.    These are some pictures from our long bike ride last week. Didn’t we pass some lovely terrain and homes?



2.       The picture of the girls in the canola wasn’t taken on the ride. I try to get an annual picture of them in a local canola field.




3.       Hannah Bear is at camp this week. This camp is nine days, several days longer than any she’s been to before. We went to see her last night. It was such a joy seeing her smiling, enthusiastic face.




Canola girls 09 4. 

      Did I mention that all three of the girls have jobs? Paper routes. We think it may be too much for Deborah. (She always has someone with her.) On paper delivery days she complains quite a lot. We think it’s too much responsibility for her. She’s got a couple chances left.




5.       While Hannah is at camp, Gordon is kindly painting her room “Citrus Punch”. It’s a bright bright yellow. I’m redecorating and am quite excited by the progress.




6.       I think Hannah will love her newly decorated digs. She’s a most gracious child in this way. I can almost guarantee you she’ll look at her room and then run  to hug me in appreciation. I can barely wait for that hug. J


Pretty house 1 7. 

    On the same day Hannah gets back from camp, Deborah heads off to camp. When Deborah gets home, Rachael heads to camp. For three weeks we’ll only have two girls in the house.




8.       I’m on an email list from a magazine that solicits articles from writers from all over North America. Monday there was a giant glitch in their system and everyone on the list started getting email intended for the magazine’s office. Tons of mail. It was bizarre and mildly irritating. Mildly irritating to me, really irritating for some. Imagine sitting in a business meeting and your Blackberry keeps buzzing you with new email and it’s all meant for someone else. Frustrated, you bang off an email demanding to be removed from the email list, only to realize after you hit “send” that your email is going to everyone on the list, including yourself, and not to the intended party. This happened over and over. It was a bit like email rage. Fortunately there were plenty of good-natured folks on the list. They made jokes about getting acquainted with each other. I got a huge kick out of a guy who responded to all these emails from people he doesn’t know with this email:  “This is a bit what the hey, but would you all like to come to my house on Friday for a pot-luck?” I’ll never meet this man, but I know I’d like him.


Pretty house 2 9. 

       There’s a survey circulating on Facebook about how many US states you’ve been in and how many you’ve lived in. From what people have sent me, it’s apparent that I’m well above average in the states I’ve been in and well below average in the states I’ve lived in. I’ve been in 47 states. I've only lived in Arkansas.


10.   Stephanie is just four weeks away from her due date. Lil’ Miss Avery should be arriving in early September. Of course Stephanie is hoping for something like mid-August.


Lovely farm 11. 

  Speaking of Stephanie, yesterday I saw some pictures of a kid who was into everything in a grocery store. It reminded me of the time Stephanie (probably 1 ½ -2 years old) pulled a glass jar of pickles from the bottom row of the pickle display pyramid. It was one of my prouder moments as a young mom. J



12.   80% of orange tabby cats are male. That’s my trivia flash of the day. I never knew…

I love alberta country 13. I love Alberta. These pictures, I hope, give you a taste of it.


my summer holiday


This little cabin was home for the week.

We've been away on holidays. For the first time ever, we went to Family Camp with almost everyone in Gordon's extended family. Gordon and the girls had a fabulous time; definitely a highlight of the year for them. I crashed and burned and am quite embarrassed by the whole week.

I pride myself on being laid-back, easy going, well-adjusted, fun-loving, and a myriad of other positive things. :-) These characteristics cease and desist when I get around my in-laws. All my benevolence and patience and open-mindedness and well-adjustedness seizes up and dies, usually in an emotionally laden, fetal-positioned wailing-and-gnashing-of-teeth sort of way. Not a pretty picture. It's probably the single biggest flaw in my character and person-hood. I hate this about me.

Before the holiday I tried valiantly to prepare and equip myself to "be in the now". I had a plan and some ideas for how I was going to be grown-up and good. I self-imploded and never figured out how to "be in the now" in any way that was helpful. When I tried to focus and regain composure by "accepting this moment" all I could think was, but it hurts too badly. That to say, my experimentation with pop psychology was unsuccessful.

Gordon is a wonderful husband and our relationship is warm, stable and loving. These good feelings we share degenerate when we are with his family. However, only very recently did I realized that the problem is in my relationship with Gordon, not his entire family. I'm not suggesting my negative history with the family is imagined. It is not. However, it's my marriage that is the "issue", not my in-laws. Here's what I've only recently come to realize: Mine and Gordon's relationship shifts dramatically when we're with his family. He changes, gets free-er. I change, get more up-tight. I clam up; he airs. I erect walls; he relinquishes all barriers. I tense up, ridiculously so. He becomes an open book revealing anything that comes to mind. Basically, I don't like him when he's around his family. That's not very good, eh?

I don't really know what to tell you about our holiday. I usually show lots of pictures and tell some highlights. I don't have any to tell this year. It was all pretty traumatic. Again, my family had a GREAT time, but I couldn't even enjoy their having a good time because I was so wrapped up in my own bad experience. I reiterate that I truly hate this about myself.

Day 1 was good. Gordon and I went on a 40 kilometer (24 miles) bike ride and I enjoyed that very much. I took pictures and loved the country scenery.

Day 2 Gordon and I started going cross-eyed with miscommunication. By mid-afternoon I drove 30 minutes to the nearest city to "get away." I went to Chapters and bought a Christmas gift, visited my favorite thrift store, went out to eat, and then took in a movie (The Proposal). It would have been a lovely outing had my thoughts not been churning with negativity.

Day 3 I had to leave and come home before I completely lost my mind. I felt like an idiot for not being able to enter into the "good time" everyone else was having, but knew I had to get out of there just to regain some emotional stability. I was smiling again before I got off the camp property. I felt hope.

It was on the drive home as I prayed and tried to figure out what had gone so sideways that I was able to articulate that this pattern in my life is a blemish on my marriage, not so much a blemish on my in-laws. That was the epiphany of the experience. Any epiphany at that point was a relief, even if it was hard realizing how it's me that's the problem (with some help from my beloved) and not someone "out there". The problem is me (and Gordon). I admit it.

So that was my summer vacation. The absolute worst I've ever had and hope to ever have. I'm happy for Gordon and the girls to do it every year, but I probably will only drop in a few times  instead of committing to the whole week. That seems like a fair compromise to me.

I hope you're all having a wonderful summer. I truly (aside from last week) have loved it. Only four more weeks till the kids head back to school. That kind of makes me sad as there are still so many summer things we want to squeeze in.

butts, big and small

Another Capernwray story.

One evening Gordon and I arrived to dinner earlier than the couple we were dining with. We faced different directions as we looked for them. I didn't see them so turned to look in the direction Gordon was looking. As we scanned the crowd, I put my hand on Gordon's butt. Now I realize that in the recesses of my mind I was aware something wasn't quite right. Now I realize that his butt didn't feel right, but at the time I was mindlessly feeling around trying to ascertain what was awry. 

If asked, I could not have told you that Gordon's wallet is always in his right pocket. This butt had a wallet in the left pocket. I also realized another thing: this butt was flat; Gordon's butt is round. I didn't put these pieces together but continued to squish this butt, mumbling about our companions not being there and whether we should be seated or not. 

The man muttered a subdued, "Val."

I turned toward him and started screaming like an idiot. Then I started stamping like the central figure in an Indian pow-wow and shaking my hand as if trying to get bugs off. Words weren't coming out of my mouth, just horrified screams. I saw Gordon about twenty feet from me. I ran to him and buried my face in his chest. 

The wife of the man I'd fondled had seen the whole thing, as did a few others. They were laughing heartily. (Fortunately, we'd had dinner with them the previous night. I likely came across a bit daft, but not as a woman on the prowl.)

The wife came to me, still laughing. She told me a story she'd told few people because of how terribly embarrassing it had been. Her story made me feel better as her goof was worse than mine.

She and Bill were shopping. She left him in the tool department while she went elsewhere. When she returned, she found Bill squatting looking at the tools on the lowest shelf. She noticed he had a hole in the butt of his pants. She put her index finger in it and did the gichy-gichy-goo squiggly movement.

The man - who wasn't Bill - jumped up screaming obscenities. She responded with a scream and a mad run. I was comforted that she could relate and knew I was a harmless frumpy woman.

The next day when we saw them, they said they were still laughing at 1:00 in the morning about the look on my face.

That is me. I try to bring cheer wherever I go.

a sleepwalker strikes

At Capernwray we stayed in Preedy Lodge with several like-minded families and that created an amazing comfortability. We never locked our door when we went out or while we slept.

One night I heard Hannah get up to go to the bathroom. Since Hannah has a sleepwalking history, I tried to stay awake till she got back but failed. Soon I was awakened by talking down the hall. I was slightly disoriented but I knew I had to go out there just in case it involved Hannah.

I stepped out of our room and looked down the hall. I saw a man in his underwear. He saw a woman in a her gown. I was not at 100%, still very sleepy. I tried to figure out what he was doing, and it seemed like he was doing a shooing motion. You know, "shoo, go away" movements.

It took me a second or two, but I soon realized that was exactly what he was doing. He was trying to shoo my Hannah out of his family's room.

I went quickly down the hall and stood a few feet from the man in his underwear. He was trying to say, "shoo, go to someone else's room" to Hannah. He looked as disoriented as me and didn't appear to be thinking any more clearly.

Without realizing it, I was calling Hannah's name as I walked down the hall. Because of that she came to the door and smiled gently and sweetly at me. (She always smiles gently and sweetly when she's walking in her sleep.)

The sleepy gentleman did one last shooing motion and I took Hannah's hand and led her back to our room.

crabs and tsunamis

When we arrived on the West Coast we spent our first night at a town called White Rock. We walked the beach and the long pier. Deborah and I were holding hands as we walked. She entertained and sought comfort for two fears: giant crabs and tsunamis.(Interesting how just a few years ago we didn't know anything about tsunamis.)

I assured Deborah that it was impossible for a powerful tsunami to hit White Rock because of all the surrounding islands. I told her technology would warn of something like that.

I thought I had effectively comforted her. We walked in silence for a while.

Later she broke the silence with, "Mom, way back there when you said it would be impossible for a tsunami to come while we are on the pier, were you just saying that to make me feel better or did you really mean it?"

Wasn't that an astute question for an 8 year old?

moving mountains

On our holiday we visited a major rock slide, Frank Slide. The slide happened a hundred years ago and still looks like it did back when it buried the town of Frank. Sobering, but very fascinating.

I was reading some information about the slide to the kids. I read that the Natives never settled there because they referred to Turtle Mountain, the mountain that "slid", as the "mountain that moves." They called it that long before the devastating rock slide.

Hours after reading to the kids and visiting Frank Slide we were in the throes of the Rocky Mountains. Mountains rose up on both sides of us. Deborah studied the mountains as we drove. Gently she asked, "Mom did the Natives ever say 'this mountain moves' about this mountain?"

my handsome grandson

While on holidays, I had no computer access. I went through Roman-picture withdrawal. At home I can hardly pass my computer without looking at Roman's pictures. I got home last night and immediately went to get a Roman fix. I wasn't disappointed. I smiled and smiled. These are some of the latest photos from Stephanie.
Roman sleeping contentedly.



















Aren't they lovely? Stephanie and Roman.











Uncle Christopher (my son) and Roman.

holiday pictures and such

Below you'll find lots of photographs from our vacation to the West Coast. Unfortunately it's in reverse order, but hopefully you'll get a feel for what our trip was like.

Once we got to Thetis Island, I pretty well didn't pick up the camera again. I'm really bummed about that because I didn't capture more of our actual stay. It was an amazing time and I've got lots of stories to tell. But these pictures will have to do for now.

We spent many hours in the car over the past two weeks. Often at red lights, Gordon would study the map. When the light turned green, I tried to keep my mouth shut. (Early in our relationship I learned that Gordon can't stand when I tell him to go when the light turns green.) However he is often disengaged at stop lights and I have to bite my tongue. So over the years I've developed a horrible twitch. When the light turns green and he's reading a map or looking the other direction, I nearly instinctively motion with my hand for him to go. Doing it this way, I feel like I'm being a good wife by keeping my mouth shut.

Today Gordon finally expressed his frustration with my hand twitch. The light turned green while Gordon was reading a map. I said nothing but my hand motioned the usual.

He looked at me and dryly said, "Would you stop acting like a neurotic imbecile."

finally, capernwray

We stayed in the red-roofed building center-left. It is called Preedy Lodge.













A view from the road right after leaving the ferry. The bridges over streams added so much ambiance to the place.



I don't know this girl, but did she ever find a whoppin' big pretty starfish?











Every day I walked past this garden and pretended it was mine. Growing up can be so hard.








Capernwray has more than a hint of English influence. The houses, cabins, and the Tudor Lodge had many flowers, covered bridges on the walkways, beautifully manicured lawns, and terrific ocean views. This house and a few others had walkways that emphasized the English feel for me.













I love this picture of Gordon on Thetis Island.

day 5

This was an exciting day, as we finally arrived at our destination, Thetis Island. In Chemainus we got on a small ferry that took us to the island we would call home for the week.










This is Thetis Island and we were at Capenwray Harbour. The red-roofed portion is Capernwray Harbour. It is beautiful.









Rachael and Hannah on the small ferry to Thetis Island.









This is Deborah at low-tide at Qualicum Beach between Nanaimo and Chemainus. The girls spent the morning collecting sand-dollars. The van had a horrible fishy smell the rest of the trip.

vacation days 4 and 5

When we left Cranbrook we headed to the West Coast. It was a long, fun, eventful day. In Vancouver, we caught the ferry to Vancouver Island. We spent the night in Nanaimo.

I love this picture because it captures a bit of who Hannah is. Doesn't she look contemplative? She is.










In Vancouver we boarded the ferry -- the girls' first ferry ride. It was a beautiful two-hour sail to Nanaimo's Departure Bay.





In Osoyoos, (between Cranbrook and Vancouver) we stopped at the lake and ended up banana tubing. It was a hoot. The best part were the crashes. The worst part was being heaved back on by three men.

vacation days 2 and 3

Days 2 and 3 were spent in Cranbrook with our friends, the Jasters. We had a great time visiting some of our old stompin' grounds and especially enjoyed catching up with our friends. This was our first time back to Cranbrook since leaving there in 1995.









The girls and Brenden near Marysville.









At Wasa Lake with our dear friends, the Jasters.









First Baptist. Where we were married and where Gordon pastored for 3 years.









Our first "home". Apt 409.
In the olden days, Gordon and I used to enjoy this spot along the river.















Along the Marysville Falls path. A short hike, but well worth the small effort.

vacation day 1

Often photographed mountain in the Crowsnest Pass.









Approaching the Rockies.
















Deborah. Frank Slide Alberta in the Crowsnest Pass.


Still in the Crowsnest Pass.









Biggest truck in the World. Sparwood, BC. Deborah, Hannah, Rachael and Gordon are hardly noticable, but they are all in this picture.
















Alberta Foothills
















Hammy Hannah