Day 2

Film adaptation of Les MisImage courtesy Google images.

Film adaptation of Les Mis
Image courtesy Google images.

Today I went and saw the film adaptation of Les Miserables.  I loved it.  I think it lost some of its power in this format — the story truly is made for the stage not the screen, but it was wonderful, nonetheless.  A timeless story.  Heart-ripping and life-affirming.

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January 1, 2013

Day 1 — I spent the very first moments of this New Year with those I love the most — my husband, my grandkids and though they weren’t here, my son and and his wife.  Landon called just after the midnight bells  — or, in our case, the televised bells in Niagara Falls — rang.  To me, that is happiness at its apex.

A post-Christmas post

So, here it is December 28th.  Christmas came and went in a flurry of activity.  It was one of the happiest Christmases I’ve enjoyed.  Everyone was relaxed and into the spirit — Tim and I have days of down-time following ‘the big day’ and that has been a wonderful bonus.

I really don’t have too much to say about Christmas itself, other than what I’ve stated above — it seems the older I get the less important gifts have become — it’s more about spending time with people you love and taking the gift of those times away with you.  Don’t get me wrong, gifts do still play a part, but I worry less about how much I’m buying and concentrate more on how happy what I’m giving will make the recipient.  So, if it’s one or two meaningful things as compared to a truckload of stuff that will be forgotten the moment it’s opened, that’s the way I’ve gone.

One of my favorite memories of these holidays will be the night the kids came over for our Griswold Family Christmas night.  We watched Nat’l Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (a tradition) put out snack and finger food and just sat around eating and laughing and watching the kids (who really didn’t sit still for much of the movie).  Ethan decided that the Dickens’ Village display in the kitchen was far more interesting than the Griswold’s and their problems.

I found him rearranging everything and driving his flourescent green and purple HotWheels cars through the tiny plastic-cobblestone streets.   It was delightful.  He gave me  a big smile when I asked him what he was doing and said:  “This needs go here, Gramma”  as he picked up some tiny people and shoved them into the entrance of the church.  When he was finished there were lamp posts dangling off the edge of the shelf and groups of little porcelain people huddled together as if in fear of some unseen, monstrous danger, but everything was intact.  He toddled off to the next thing to catch his attention — a candy cane — which I am still wiping traces of off various surfaces around my house.

All in all, this Christmas break has been just the break I needed.

Wishing all a season of joy and happiness for the coming New Year.

Saturday Night

Just a very quick blog to state how very, very, very happy I am to be on Christmas break!  Finally!  Yay!

This is how I’m looking at it:  two whole friggin’ weeks of Friday nights!  Yahoo!

Am I happy?  You bet your sweet patootie!

To everyone who works in a school —  you know what I’m talkin’ about!

So, go do your happy dance!  Dance! Dance! Dance!

I feel like a loon and that’s the way I wanna feel!

Merry Christmas!

Images of winter 2012

Here’s a collection of pictures from our winter so far.  It’s been a true winter this year — it began early and it ain’t lettin’ up for nothin’!  Hope you enjoy them.

Saturday morning

Just a little bit about being grateful —
Today
I am grateful for
My health
My family
My life;
I am grateful for
Fresh ground coffee
Irish cream to go with it
And time to enjoy it;
I am grateful for
Generosity
Optimism and
Spirit;
I am grateful
For words,
My love of them and
My ability to use them;
I am grateful for
Friends
Laughter
Love.

Another Saturday morning

Today is the first official day of Fall.  And a stunning day it is.  This September has been glorious.  Fine weather, beautiful skies, bountiful produce and gardens still flourishing.

Bon Accord put on an event this weekend called the Summer Skies Equinox.  A 30 hour marathon of events and activities all associated with the night sky began on Friday evening and will culminate at just past midnight on the 22nd.

This morning, Heather and I got up and went for an early morning walk — 6:15-ish — not something we usually do on a weekend and ended it with a stop for a cup of tea.  Well, I had coffee (thank God they thought of us coffee drinkers!).  The ladies from Vintage Petals tea shop in Morinville set up a little tea station outside the Golden Jems building and a handful of us early risers stood about enjoying a steaming cup while we chatted and enjoyed the dawn.

The morning sky has been stunning these past few days.   Clear, un-marred by clouds and a gorgeous array of colour from cerulean blue on the horizon to darkest indigo high overhead.  Venus and Jupiter have been twin lights shining a bright greeting in the Eastern sky each morning, and we were lucky enough to see them in perfect alignment with the moon one morning.

Had I been up to it last night I’d have gone out to check the night sky through some amazingly powerful telescopes set up by local astronomers.  Heather and her husband did and she says they got some fantastic views of the planets and even a couple of nebulas.

But, I was satisfied with my walk this morning, the clear, crisp morning air, the sky overhead, the town still mostly asleep and our footsteps crunching along the gravel road as we made our way towards the warmth of tea and community.

This is a picture of the sky as I see it on my walks. Not my photo, but it is in Alberta.
I found the photo here: http://amazingsky.net/2012/09/12/september-dawn/

Wednesday, August 22nd — a lament for the end of summer

So, this is my last Wednesday of summer holidays.  Tomorrow will be my last Thursday and Friday my last. . .

. . .you get the picture.

I hate that summer and summer holidays have to end.  I live for summer, it’s my time of year.  Spring and Fall are nice, Winter totally sucks (except for the occasional beautiful day), but Summer, when it has been as fabulous as this one has (and even when it hasn’t) is the best season of all.

But it saddens me immensely when it’s over.

I guess it’s the kid in me, not wanting the endless days of sunshine and fun and warm, soft breezes; barbecued hamburgers and corn on the cob; walks to get  ginormous ice-cream cones from the local ice-cream shop; the sound of kids on bikes and frogs in ponds; hawks circling high overhead, their piercing calls cutting through the heat-faded blue of a summer’s afternoon; the bone-shaking rattle of thunder, and lightning so bright it makes you wince in wonder and fear; the soft patter of rain on a sultry summer evening — the sense of relief and joy that bit of cool respite brings;  flowers in the garden; tomatoes fresh and warm off the vine, their juices running sweet down your chin as you bite into them whole; family gathered on the deck laughing, eating, drinking; beer in coolers; wine in fancy plastic glasses; all of this and more — I can’t stand the heartbreak of it ending.

But, end it must.  Like Arthur’s Camelot it is but a brief and shining moment.  A moment that will sustain me through the long wait for its return.

Here’s a sampling of images from summers past and present:

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The sound of silence. . .

. . . I am alone today.  For the first time in over 3 weeks.  It is a wonderful feeling.

Not that I didn’t enjoy the company I’ve kept over that time — most certainly not.  But now that the house is mine and mine alone again I am fully enjoying it.

Although. . .

. . . my house is a bloody mess.  But in a good way.  It’s the mess my three grandchildren have left in their wake.  And this morning as I wove my way through a maze of toys and crayons and dress-up clothes and rocks and crafts and towels and. . . I smiled as I thought about how much fun we had.  It’s going to take a day (or two) to get the house back to the way I normally keep it, but that’s okay.  I’ve got time.

I am now going to make the most of the rest of my holidays to relax and go at a leisurely pace.  There are still chores to be done, but I’ll poke away at them without being stressed.  I want to gut the kids’ room yet and repaint, but I think that will be a project for the Fall now.

What’s most important is Tim finishing the deck.  He’s been doing all the work himself — and it’s a big job.  Especially in the heat we’ve been having.  I worry sometimes about him overdoing it and nag him to quit and come inside for a break.  He hates taking breaks, says it’s harder to get back to work when he does, but I’m persistent.

Right now things are stalled because he had to return to work a couple of days early.  So, the ledger boards, which are giving him a major headache are just laying out there, unattached.  I am trying not to despair. I know he’ll get it done.  My husband is nothing if not stubborn and he’ll do it all without help.  Pride.  The cause of all my worry.

Well, I shouldn’t say he didn’t have any help.  The kids all tried to pitch in and give Grandpa a hand from time to time.  Here’s a picture of them helping screw together a support beam:

They were actually tapping in the screws which was quite a production!  Tim let them hold the drill afterwards, but they didn’t much care for the noise and vibration.

We had such a blast having them here for a week.  Went to the outdoor pool in Redwater three times — absolutely enjoyed that.  We can’t very well go there without any kids in tow — would look like a couple of old creepers!  So, now we’ll have to content ourselves with evening trips to the indoor pool in St. Albert.  Sigh.

I wish I had taken Landon to the pool in Redwater when he was younger.  He would have enjoyed it.  But, when they move here, finally, he and Jenn will be able to take the kids.  It’s a great place, not too crowded and very clean.  Run by a great bunch of young people.  I truly will miss going there with the kids.

A couple of pics of the kids at the pool:

And now, I must go get started getting back to my ‘real’ life.

Enjoy the day!

Friday the 13th — oooh, aah

So it’s Friday the 13th — big deal!

Well, it is kind of a big deal, because it is my friend Heather’s birthday today!  Yay, Heather!

We went for a most excellent walk this morning.  Started out on our usual trip through the Gibbons river valley trail, but decided to head a different direction.  And were we ever glad we did!  We stumbled across a mother lode of wild strawberries.

My they are the tastiest, sweetest little bites of heaven.

We didn’t actually get much walking in, instead we grazed our way along the path.  With joyful cries of “Oh my God!  Just look at how many are here!”  we’d stoop or drop to our knees and pick until we had a good palm’s full of little red gems.  Then we’d look at one another, count 1-2-3 and pop the whole handful into our mouths.  Then we’d smile and make yumming sounds.

If you have never tasted a wild strawberry then you are missing out on one of this world’s most enjoyable, most life-enhancing experiences.  They have a taste that is so intense, so sweet, so pure, so joyful that it is impossible to describe.  But, I’ll try.

Imagine a fresh picked strawberry from your garden or from some one else’s garden.  Not a store-bought strawberry that has had its soul stripped away and then spent countless hours in the dark, refrigerated interior of some transport truck.  No, it has to be a strawberry that is on the vine, bedded in straw and kissed daily by sunshine.  Imagine the lovely colour and the way your mouth waters in anticipation of biting into that plump, sweet jewel. Imagine closing your eyes and savouring the intensity of the flavour as your tongue is flooded with bright, sweet berry juice.  Imagine the smile of pure pleasure that transforms your face for that brief moment, and then imagine your greedy desire for more.

Okay, so take that and multiply it about a thousand-fold and maybe, just maybe, that will come close to the experience of eating a wild strawberry.  From the moment we popped that first tiny red berry into our salivating maws we were in a frenzy to find more.  Gleeful, we were, on our hands and knees gently plucking the tiny bits of goodness from their diminutive plants.  “How many you got?  Got enough?  Here take a few of mine.”  Then we’d toss them into our mouths and stand there like a couple of kids grinning as we chewed and savoured and swallowed.

We marvelled at our good fortune this morning and I told Heather it was the perfect birthday present.  We reminisced about past days of wild-berry picking and how we’d bring them home to our children for a special little treat to add to their breakfast.  Then we got thinking about in the ‘olden’ days when people would go out and pick pails full of these tiny little beauties to make jam.  And not just one jar, but enough to last through a winter.  Enough to remind them through a long, cold prairie winter that there was hope for days of sunshine and green and berries and smiles.

I can’t imagine picking enough of the little suckers to accomplish that, simply because I’d eat them all.  I’d probably have been one of those kids that got the switch when I got home with an empty pail.  But, I probably wouldn’t have minded all that much because the taste of wild strawberry is worth that much.

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