May 15th – 20th

Day 136 to 141 — We were away in Lethbridge for the funeral of Tim’s uncle Lief.  Sad, but a wonderful time with family.  Lief was 86 and lived a very full and interesting life.  I think you could safely say he was one of those people who actually chose to LIVE his life.  The memorial service on Saturday was very nice.  His youngest daughter gave a moving eulogy and then the members of the Legion where Lief was a regular each bade him a military farewell.  It was a beautiful thing to see.

Tim and his brothers had a good time catching up with relatives that they hadn’t seen in many years.  (Since the last funeral, really.)  We all remarked on how sad that was.  And, of course, made vows we won’t be capable of keeping to not let it happen again.  There is a family reunion this summer, so, maybe, some of us will be keeping that vow.  We’ll see.

Whenever I have one of these extended weekends away from work I find it so hard to get my head wrapped around the reality of returning to work.  It’s not that I don’t like my job — I love what I do — it’s just that I so enjoy having time to just do what I want.  It’s a familiar complaint of mine — I know I’ve aired it on here many, many times — and it usually starts around this time each year.  We’re about 6 weeks away from the end of the school year.  And it just seems like it will never arrive.

Summer beckons like a siren’s song and I am impatient.  I just need to take a deep breath and remind myself — all in good time.

And for you Rick and Connie:  So, it has come to this.

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Indian Battle Park, Lethbridge

Today, we went down to Indian Battle Park, on the western edge of Lethbridge. It was on this site that the Blackfoot and Cree Indians engaged in the  Battle of Belly River on October 24,  1870.

I have always wanted to go to this park and take pictures of the High Level Bridge.  I finally got my wish.

This bridge is an amazing structure.  It is the largest railway bridge in Canada; I certainly think it is the tallest.  It is situated in an absolutely gorgeous setting — the coulees.  Here, at one time, coal was mined.  There was a community known as Coalbanks, and it was here that the famous Galt coal was mined.  Initially, the coal was hauled out of the ground by horses.  Then an incline railway was built to haul the coal to the top of the coulees where it was transported first by bull-train, then finally by locomotive.  Attempts were made to ship it by the Oldman River, but the fluctuating levels of the river made that impractical and impossible.

The entire place became a historical site sometime in the 60’s.  The mines are long closed and the park is part of an extensive trail system that takes walkers, bikers and hikers from side of Lethbridge to the other.  The park is also home to a grove of heritage trees — Plains Cottonwoods — amazing, rough-barked trees with numerous twisted branches that sweep upwards to the clouds and twine down towards the ground.  They are beautiful old trees.  I’m glad I got to sit beneath their canopy today.

So, here are some of the pictures I took today.  Hope you enjoy them.

Holiday Monday

We are in Lethbridge for a few days.  It’s the Victoria Day long weekend.  So far, hasn’t been that warm, but at least it hasn’t been very windy, either.

Which Lethbridge is famous for.

Today Rick and Connie may be taking us out to Park Lake for a day in the sun.  We’ll play cards and have a picnic.  Just enjoy being.  Am really looking forward to it.

My husband is still sleeping.  It is 9:40.  I had to go roust him out of the lounger he fell asleep in watching TV.  It was 10 to 4 in the a.m.  He does that all the time.  Says he’s going to stay up and watch television after everyone else has packed it in for the night.  Then, he promptly falls asleep.  I don’t really mind because his body is a blast furnace and I can get to sleep without feeling like I’m going to roast to death next to him, but I do wake up with a start if it’s past 3 a.m. and he hasn’t made his way to bed yet.

Anyway, I’ve been up for a while now checking my email and doing a bit of CUPE business.  As I haven’t had much time for blogging lately I dropped in to check out what others have been up to and decided I should do a short post.

Not that it’s going to be anything earth shattering.  Just me prattling on about nothing.

Oh, I have entered a Biggest Loser competition at work.  So far, I am the Smallest Loser, which makes me a total loser.  It’s just incredibly bad timing.  Though I am trying my best.  Yesterday, I went out and bought up a bunch of fresh veggies because I know I can’t eat all the wonderful snacks Connie puts out and I don’t want to clean out their supply of veg’s.  So, I think I deserve points for that.  Also, Tim and I went for a good walk around Henderson Lake first thing in the morning.  I am trying to maintain my schedule and eat properly.

But, Connie made ribs for supper.  Connie makes fabulous ribs.  I had some.  Just a couple — I wanted to go whole hog, but I restrained myself.  And for dessert her Mom made this lovely blueberry angel food cake.  It’s fat-free, so I indulged.  I know I should have had some more raw veggies, but I was weak.  I don’t think I’m really cut out to be in this competition.  I’m just too weak when it comes to food.

However, I am finding that I am becoming way more conscious of how much I eat and that is a good thing.

In the end, if I’m not the Biggest Loser, it won’t be that much of a disappointment, but if I come out of this thing having lost at least a portion of the 15 lbs. I want to lose, I’ll be happy.  Especially, that I will have lost it without depriving myself of food that I love, and, even more importantly, that I won’t gain it all back (and then some) because I won’t have altered my eating habits so drastically.

And. let’s face it, I eat a pretty healthy, balanced diet now.  I think for me it’s more about portion control and getting more exercise.  If I can just make sure I’m keeping active I think I’ll be okay.

And that is about enough of that!

Hope you’re all having a fabulous long weekend.

Ta, ta for now.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sigh, only two more days of holidays left.  I know I shouldn’t complain because I have had six weeks off, but. . .

. . . the thought of returning to work just makes me tired.

I had such high hopes and a ridiculously long list of things to do at the beginning of summer.  Here it is, nearly over, and I got but a fraction of my list checked off.

I did, however, have some great times and created some wonderful memories.  And that is infinitely more important than painting the guest bedrooms.

The time we spent at my sister’s place in Ontario was magical.  Having my son and his family there with us was a dream come true.  Watching my three little ones laugh and swim and run around chasing bugs was pure joy.  Hailey learned how to play UNO and became quite the little card shark!  Timothy discovered that swimming is fun and Ethan, well Ethan he just had us all at his beck and call (he is, after all, only 22 months old).  Well, and with a smile like his, who could resist doing what ever it was he wanted you to do?

The food was fabulous, the drinks refreshing — had my first beergarita — thanks Sis! — the weather absolutely gorgeous and the water cool, clean and blessedly near at hand.  We couldn’t have asked for a better vacation than the one we had at Pistol Lake this summer.

When we left Ontario it was to return home and do a quick one-night turn around before heading to Yahk, BC. to spend a week camping with Tim’s brother, Rick and his wife, Connie.  Two of my most favorite people in the world.  We arrived about 9 o’clock on the 9th with just enough light left to throw up the tent.

Again, we had a fantastic time.  The company was wonderful, and the weather was incredible.  My hubby spent a few hours widening and deepening the natural pool in the tiny river that flows along the edge of the campground (we had a lovely spot right on the river) and here we spent a few  ‘happy hours’ in an effort to escape the heat.

We drove in to Creston one afternoon to buy cherries and peaches and fresh veggies at the market gardens.  Of course, you get taken at these places because they know us dopey tourists will pay anything for a taste of BC’s bounty.  But, you know that going in, so it’s not too bad. And the cherries were wonderful!  The peaches?  Not so much.  a little dry and mealy — I was very disappointed.  However, the cukes, tomatoes, peppers and onions were delicious and fresh.  They made a tasty marinated salad to go with our barbecued steaks.

Creston was very disappointing.  It’s really gone down hill since the last time we were there, about 4 years ago.  Nearly a third of all the stores on the main street were closed and it doesn’t appear that there’s much effort being made to spruce things up. As with all small tourist towns the prices are steep, but in Creston, they’re ridiculously so.

Connie and I wandered a bit while the guys checked out a pawn shop and then went for a beer (or two or three) and we found a lovely little book/gift/coffee shop/store called The Black Bear.  I bought my husband a book called “The Beer Belly Blues”  a very good book about the changes men go through as they age.  I wasn’t sure if he’d be offended or not, but he has had some struggles as he’s gotten older and I think this book is giving him some really good answers.

I also bought a CD by the artist Adele.  It’s called 21 and is amazing.  She has a smoky, powerful, soulful voice.  I highly recommend her.

Eventually, we hooked up with the guys and went for Chinese food.  I was ravenous by this time and I can’t believe how much I packed away — and I don’t even really care for Chinese food!  Then we headed back to Yahk, but stopped in to see a friend of Rick and Connie’s along the way.

He and his wife have built a B&B up in the mountains and are in the process of creating a mini-resort for campers.  They have a beautiful home and tons of ambition.  They’re in their seventies and still entrepreneuring!  Made me feel a little humble, I have to say.  But, back at camp a couple of beers and a few rounds of Crazy 8’s fixed that!

The next day we spent a late afternoon in Cranbrook (where Connie and I found yet another terrific bookstore, this one specializing in used books.  They also had a rather amazing and diverse collection of magazines.  We picked up a couple to help while away the hours spent in our lounge chairs back at camp.)  Then it was on to check out the casino at St. Eugene’s.

Quite a lovely place, as far as resorts and casinos go.  We played games for a while — I came out about $60 ahead.  Then we had a dinner, played  a little bit more and then headed for camp.  Unfortunately, we took the wrong turn and were headed towards Kimberly.  Tim was tired and stressed, Connie gets motion sickness from driving on too-wind-y roads, Rick and I in the back were arguing over which way we should have gone, and we were short on gas.  Great fun!  Luckily, we managed to get ourselves turned around before reaching Kimberly, made our way to only open gas station in Cranbrook, loaded up with coffees and Slurpees and hit the road back to Yahk.  Where we decided we weren’t leaving again until it was time to go home.

We made one other excursion, and that was to take the logging roads up behind Yahk to go find some waterfalls on Hawkins Creek.  We had a great time.  Got some beautiful photos, picked saskatoons that were as big as grapes, oohed and aahed over the scenery, and then, just when we’d given up hope of finding the falls, we stumbled across them.

Some very remote country back up in the hills, and there are all these little campgrounds in there with absolutely no amenities.  Other than an immaculately kept outhouse or two.  We came across a couple of campers, but saw no people.  They were probably off hiking or fishing, and all I could think of was “this is bear country, serious bear country, I’d be terrified to be up here on my own.”

I would not have made a good pioneer.

As with all holidays this one, too, had to end.  We packed up on the 15th and headed back to Lethbridge with Rick and Connie for a night.  There to get cleaned up and get a good night’s sleep before making the trek back to Bon Accord.  After supper I went and soaked in the tub for about an hour.  The smell of my hair when I got it wet was enough to make me gag.  Campfires are lovely when you’re around them, return to civilization, however. . .

So, now I’m back to real life.  A house to take care of, bills to pay, a job to return to.  I’ll start parceling my time out again in weekends and to-do lists.

Whenever I start feeling a little sorry for myself, I’ll remember that I had a great summer and I’ll be grateful that I did.

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