caribbean cruise

In 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,... Read more →


i love not camping

This 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. 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... Read more →


north carolina, with love

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... Read more →


a wee safari adventure

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?" Read more →


discovery cove, orlando

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. I'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... Read more →


sea world and busch gardens

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 . Nice little giraffe. 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.) Gordon and I went on a train ride in Busch Gardens and passed this pretty scene. This is the Atlantis at Sea World. Hannah and Deborah are on it. This is my favourite. Gordon, Hannah and Deborah on the Gwazi at Busch Gardens. Aren't their expressions priceless? Read more →


family holiday, 2011

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. One of the cool experiences of the holiday were the rides to and from... Read more →


for pabob

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. 2) Getting help from Uncle Tom. 3) She's not exactly comfortable touching it. {Smiles} Read more →


camping at little bow

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. Taken on my bike ride at sunset. 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. After a little coercion, she agreed to hold up its fin. Tom cooked it in beer and it was delicious. Deborah turned 11 while we were there. Our little trek to the lake. Deborah and me, swimming in what felt like glacier water. Fortunately by afternoon it was much warmer. Our lake is way in the distance. See it? I loved this view. When I first moved to the prairies, I felt exposed and vulnerable. The terrain made me feel lonely. Now I love... Read more →


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. 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. Read more →


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." 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. 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,... Read more →


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. 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? 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. Stephanie and John Mark had their 4th Annual Laney Harvest... Read more →


thursday thirteen

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. 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... Read more →


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... Read more →


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... Read more →


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... Read more →


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... Read more →


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?" Read more →


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. Read more →


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.... Read more →


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. Read more →


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. Read more →


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. Read more →


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. Read more →


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 Read more →