Zero to Sixty, continued

architecture buildings business city
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

23.  Getting married. My husband, Tim, entered my life like a tornado. He was, and always has been, a force to be reckoned with. Funny, full of life, big-hearted, loyal, opinionated, joyful, energetic, frenetic, and in general a lover of life. I credit him with so much of the good in my life — loving him has taught me how to love myself.

24.  Being there for the birth of my grandchildren. Not in the delivery room! But there afterwards to hold each of those tiny, precious babies as they entered into the world and our family.

25.  Being a mom. I’ve said it hundreds of times — being a mother is the most important job I’ve ever had. And our son, Landon, has made that job such a wonder and a joy. Was I a perfect mom? No. But I gave 100% of myself to the task. It’s easy to look back now and say I should have done this differently, or, I could have handled that better, but, in the moments that were, I believe I was doing my best.

26.  White water rafting. This was something I’d always wanted to do. So, a few years ago, myself and two friends embarked on a trip down the Kicking Horse River. It was the year before the huge floods in southern Alberta and run-off had been extremely heavy with water levels much greater than normal. Our trip was supposed to be category 3 rapids — they turned out to be mostly category 5. It was terrifying! But exhilarating and incredible. We saw some beautiful scenery — unfortunately we weren’t able to take any pictures. Hard to do when you’re clinging for life to the side of the raft!

27.  My first trip to New York. Tim surprised me for Christmas in 2004. We had taken a trip to Ontario to spend Christmas with my parents, which I hadn’t done for many, many years. New York was a fabled place to me at that time. Some magical city that I didn’t actually believe I’d ever get the chance to see. Well, Tim made it happen. We traveled by train from Niagara Falls, New York to Manhattan. We were in Times Square for the 100th anniversary of the dropping of the ball on New Year’s eve. I will never forget the magic of that trip.

28.  My mom teaching me to play cribbage. I was never much good at math — I struggled so much with it in school I felt like an idiot. My mother loves to play cards and whenever she had a few extra minutes you could find her playing solitaire or, if there was a friend visiting, cribbage or rummy. Crib intrigued me. What were these fifteen-twos and threes they were always counting? So, she sat me down one afternoon and taught me how to play. I have loved the game ever since. Really, I love playing any game (except Monopoly and Risk) and I attribute that love to my mother.

29.  Writing my first-ever short story in high school and having my English teacher tell me I had talent.

 

Thank you

Thank you everyone who left me such lovely comments about the Kreativ Blogger award.  Sorry for the delay in replying, but, as usual I’ve been crazy busy. 

At this moment, I am typing on a computer in the Olds College Library.  It’s a beautiful spot.  Both the library and Olds.

I am here on a CUPE Weeklong School retreat.  Taking New Officer’s training.  As I’m now 3 years into my term as President of our Local I wouldn’t consider myself a ‘new’ officer, but I figured the training might have some relevant stuff. 

Turns out the first two days are all about public speaking.  Now, I can speak, some times endlessly.  I’m also fairly confident getting up in front of a crowd and saying a few words on behalf of whatever.  But, when it comes to personal stuff — that’s a whole new ballgame.

We started out having to give a short, 2-minute, blurb about ourselves.  I wrote it out no problem, but when I had to get up and read in front of everyone.  Well.  I was nervous.  My voice shook.  My hands shook.  I couldn’t look at anyone.  Of course, everyone was kind and told me I did fine, but I felt ridiculous as I walked away from the podium.

Today, I have to make a 5-minute speech.  We were told it can be about anything we like.  I chose New York.  Because, well, it’s the greatest city on earth (that I’ve been to) and I love it there.  Am planning my third trip. 

So, anyway I practiced my speech in front of my roommates last night.  Apparently I say um and and a lot.  Also I bob and weave.  Looks like I’m trying to dodge a fight.  The first time I did it, it took me 10 minutes.  Decided that I had to drop a lot of extra detail if I was going to make the 5-minute mark. 

Gave it another go.  Got it down to exactly 5 minutes, but still too many ums and ands.  Tried concentrating on standing still, but then I felt like a total knob.  Maybe I’ll just try swaying.  Oh, another thing I do, I wave my hands around.  But I think that could be a good thing.  Distract people from the panic-stricken look on my face.

On my walk this morning I gave myself a pep-talk.  This is not life and death.  This is just a short speech in front of people who will treat me kindly.  I’m third to go this morning, so I’ll be getting it over with quickly.  Once it’s done, it’s done.  I can move on and put it behind me.

I love to write.  I think I wrote a very good speech.  It’s the speaking part that terrifies me.  But, I can fake the confidence I need.  I know I can. 

And you know what else is really lovely about this place?  There are horses out behind the residences where I’m staying.  And they have foals.  New ones.  There are even a couple of sets of twins.  I watched them playing in their pens beside their dams this morning. 

God, they are the sweetest little things with long, gambly legs and their soft twitchy noses.  They were calling out to one another, but because they’re separated by fences the most they can do is bump noses before leaping away and kicking their little heels in the air. 

Meanwhile, moms are standing eyeing me like I’m some sort of predator.  With a soft nicker they’d summon their young back to their side.  They’d come, reluctantly, and mom would give them a reassuring touch, but the babies would toss their little heads in impatience and leap away. 

Hopefully, later, during a break I’ll be able to get back over to the pens when staff are present and get up close and personal with a couple of these little beauties.

Sunday morning

Well, our lovely late summer weather has broken.  For the past week or so we’ve been enjoying temps in the high 20’s and low 30’s.  It’s been heavenly, except when I have a hotflash.  Today, we’ve got clouds, cooler temps and the possibility of rain.  Good weather for me to get out and get the Fall gardening done.

Ten things I am grateful for today:

1.  Little 3-year-old Kienan was returned safe and sound to his family in Sparwood last night.  This after being abducted during the night on Wednesday.  I think our entire nation was also held captive by this terrible story.  I am so glad he made it home.

Little Kienan, returned safe to his family Picture courtesy Google Images

2.  That there were no new terrorist attacks on this the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  I believe the world was holding it’s breath on this one.

9/11 tribute Picture courtesy Google Images

 

3.  I am so grateful that my three grandchildren are all safe and healthy.

4.  Tim and I got out for a little bike ride yesterday — motorcycle, that is.  It was a stunningly gorgeous day and it would have been a shame to miss out on the beauty of it.  The fields are all being harvested, the trees turning gold; it makes for some awe-inspiring scenery.

Autumn in Alberta

5.  This one’s a little silly — but I am grateful for my new waffle maker.  It’s the kind that rotates, just like the ones in hotels where they provide you a free breakfast and you get make your own waffles.  Tim and I discovered these on our last two trips, and when we got home we decided we just had to have one for ourselves.  It’s the best kitchen appliance I’ve purchased in years.

6.  I am grateful to Doreen, my co-worker, who brought me in the bushel of apples from her trees.  I pared, cored, sliced and diced last night and now have applesauce, as well as apples frozen for pies and muffins.

7.  Which leads me to this:  I am grateful for the manual apple/corer/slicer that Tim bought me all those years ago when we had our own apple tree in the back yard.  I could never have peeled 36 cups worth of apples without it.

makes peeling hundreds of apples easy Picture courtesy Google Images

8.  I am grateful for the upcoming camera class I am going to take.  It is local, it is moderately priced and I’m finally going to get some much-needed instruction in the use of my wonderful camera.

9.  That the people from Sunrise windows have called and I’m finally going to get my new patio doors installed.

10.  I am grateful that I have such wonderful family and friends.  That their love enriches my life, each and every day.

some of the family I'm so grateful for

 

Monday Morning, May 2nd

Had a great weekend.

The weather was finally half-decent.  Managed to get my car vacuumed out on Saturday — all that winter grime and dust sucked up and gone, gone, gone.  I even scrubbed my rubber floor mats — they almost looked brand new when I was done!

Sunday we drove up to Lloyd for my sister-in-law’s 50th birthday.  Landon and the kids came; we made a day of it.  Michele was surprised that we all turned up and that was wonderful.  Scott bbq’d hamburgers and smokies on the new Cuisinart gas barbecue that he won the night before (loser!)  Just kidding — but he is one lucky son of a b — he’s always winning something.  I’m just jealous — it is a REALLY nice barbecue.

Someday when I have a deck again. . .

Just a brief note on the death of Osama bin Laden.  Thank God, finally.  Perhaps now some real progress can be made in destroying Al Qaeda.  I hope the victims of 9/11 and all the other victims of his horrible crimes the world over can finally get some peace.

And — good on America — they needed this, but let’s not forget that they didn’t do it alone.

Conspiracy theory alert:  Why did they bury him at sea?  Why not display his body as proof?

Okay, time to get ready for work.  Have a great day everyone.

Thursday, hazy Thursday

Hazy sun through my pine
The sun blanketed in haze over freshly swathed fields, 8 a.m.

Reading one of Cindy’s posts ( http://theonlycin.wordpress.com ) this morning I was inspired to create this list of things that impress me:

  • stories about people who go out of their way to do kindness for small seemingly insignificant creatures like snails and slugs — recently reported on CBC
  • helpful strangers who will Google an address or directions for you — this happened in New York quite frequently
  • the nice people who walk by our house (which is in a constant state of renovation and yard work) who only say nice things like:  wow, you guys are doing a great job!  when in actuality they’re probably thinking: wow, are you guys ever going to finish?
  • really, really nice cars — in red, that are incredibly fast
  • the Tiffany’s diamond — it was the real thing and it was stunning
  • my grand daughter’s sweetness to her brothers
  • juicy, ripe tomatoes fresh off the vine
  • Cirque du Soleil — those performers are otherworldly

This could go on and on, once you start it’s kind of infectious.  Here’s a couple of pictures of other things that impress

me with their beauty:

Monday, and I’m b-a-a-a-ck

. . . that just never looks as good in print as hearing Jack Nicholson saying it.

Ah, well, the point is, I’m back.  My trip to New York was fantastic.  Just the break I needed.  Although. . .

. . . we had full, busy days — up early and then out pounding the streets and riding the subway.  It was just all too much fun!

We saw two plays while we were there — Wicked and Race.  Wicked is the untold story of the relationship between the witches before Dorothy and Toto ever make the scene.  It was wonderful — very funny, with lavish sets and a great story line.  Can’t wait for it to come here so I can take my grand-daughter, Hailey.  She would love it, especially Glinda, who is really a girly girl.  Race, was a dark comedy exploring society’s attitude towards well, what else, racial stereotypes and prejudice.  It was very thought-provoking while at the same time crazily funny.  A David Mamet play, so lots of profanity and no fear of saying the politically incorrect.  Loved it.

There is just something about New York.  I, like millions of others, simply love the place.  And I say that with the full knowledge that my love of the place is superficial and naive.  I am a tourist when I’m there, nothing more and I know little or nothing of the average life of a true New Yorker.  In our travels about the city — and those were confined to Upper, Middle and Lower Manhattan — we encountered very few real citizens.  Those we did were working and for the most part seemed resigned to answering the touristy questions we posed (and they’d heard for probably the millionth time).  They weren’t exactly friendly, but they were polite, which is okay.

The funniest thing I heard was when we were coming out of Tiffany’s.  (I bought myself a lovely little silver chain and initial pendant — surprisingly very affordable!)  A little boy of about 5 was complaining to his father about the streets being too busy.  His dad said, “I know, son, it’s because there’s so many tourists right now.  Unfortunately, we need the tourists to survive.”  I laughed right out loud.  With my pretty little blue Tiffany’s bag swinging gaily from my hand.  I guess Audrey shouldn’t have made the place so famous.

This was my second trip to the big apple and having been there once before really came in handy.  As Tim and I had taken the subway before I wasn’t at all hesitant about getting in to them again.  Each day we would go and get an unlimited ride pass and then we would take that subway all over the place.  Though the terminals themselves are nearly unbearably hot, the cars are blessedly air-conditioned.  Well, except for one.  Day two we’re down in the terminal waiting for our train.  It’s busy, lots of people.  We worry about getting separated when it’s that busy, so as the train pulls up we see a car that is practically empty.  We make a bee-line for it.  The doors whoosh open and we rush in — it’s stifling hot!  But now it’s too late to switch cars, so we’re stuck.  We laughed so hard at our stupidity, and, never made that mistake again!

Now, let’s talk about the food.  All of it was fantastic.  We ate at Tom’s Restaurant — the one from Seinfeld — our first night there.  Very good, homestyle meals.  Tom, I believe that was him, anyway, came over and talked to us — a couple of us got our picture taken with him.  He was a nice man who runs a landmark restaurant.  The service was fast and friendly, I would definitely recommend this as a place to go.  Other than that we ate hotdogs and kebabs off the street carts, had Chinese in China-town, dinner at Carmine’s — the BEST for Italian food — but avoid the drinks, too pricy and not sure they actually have any booze in them.  We also had Turkish food at a great little restaurant in Morningside where we were staying, breakfast at a French cafe,and  pizza at Grimaldi’s under the Brooklyn Bridge.  Other than Grimaldi’s, where we stood in line in the sweltering heat for 45 minutes, but it was so totally worth it, we never had to wait for a seat in a restaurant, ever.

Around the corner from our apartment were a couple of grocers.  One was 24/7 and you could get anything you wanted there, any time of day.  And it was always fresh!  They had a wonderful fresh salad and deli bar, a coffee bar, vast fruit stands, freshly baked bread, cookies and pastries, a large dairy case, and a really good selection of dried and canned foods which reflected ethnic diversity.  This is where we picked up stuff for our breakfasts — it was called the Westside Market on Broadway and 110th.  There are lots of these places around, really worth checking out if you’re planning a longer visit to New York.

The only problem we ever had was locating a place to buy wine.  We could get beer anywhere, but buying wine was a bit of a trial.  Then we were told, on our second last day, to go over to Amsterdam Ave.   There were dozens of little wine stores over there.  Never fear, though, we made sure we stopped several times throughout the day for a drink at some little cafe or restaurant.  I think the most frivolous fun we

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had was the day we went and had drinks at the Plaza Hotel.  What a stunningly gorgeous place!  And we in our shorts and tees, covered in sweat and looking every inch the Canadian tourist.  But, they were extremely gracious and seated us in the champagne bar.  We had our server laughing and in the end I think we got a complimentary tray of nuts because of it.  Suffice it to say the drinks, a tray of cheese and crackers with  a few grapes and a halved strawberry, and a plate with two large pieces of bruschetta (the most amazing tasting bruschetta I’ve ever had!) cost us a pretty penny.  But you know what?  It was so worth it!  Drinks at the Plaza — you only live once, I say.

We did so much, saw so much, experienced so much — I could probably write all day trying to get it all down.  But I think I’ll take a break for now.  Post a few pictures from our trip and get back at it again tomorrow.

Monday Afternoon

I should be packing.  But I’m posting this one last blog before I go.

We got as much done in the yard as we possibly could.  My lovely new boulders arrived — they are much bigger than I remembered them!  We’ll need to rent a bobcat to get them in place.  But you know what?  That slope is gonna be gorgeous when it’s finished.  I can hardly wait to get it done.  My husband, I think, has secret plans to have it done by the time I get home.  Love him for that.  Don’t want him to hurt himself, though. There’s five yards of crushed limestone to move, plus another 1/2 yard of limestone scree, 1 yard of pea gravel and, of course, the boulders.  That’s an awful lot for one man to take on alone.  And believe me, he’ll try to do it all by himself.  Stubborn, hmm, he is, yes.  That’s me channeling Yoda.

(Sorry, there’s a Star Wars marathon been on for the past month.  Every time I come into the living room Tim’s re-watching one of the episodes.  I love Star Wars, but seriously, it needs to be on everyday?)

So, it’s off to Ontari-ari-ario tomorrow.  Then by train to New York.  All is in order, I’ve checked and re-checked our reservations, the weather in New York is in the low 30’s, which is a good 10 degrees hotter than it is here, so I’m packing light.   When I get around to packing that is.  My biggest hurdle right now is deciding which camera to take.  I want to take my D90, but I get tired and sore from lugging it around in its big case all day.  The little Sony takes fine pictures and is just so much more compact — it will fit inside the new purse I bought.  But, the Nikon takes absolutely fabulous pictures and there is so much more I can do with it.  Sigh.  Decisions, decisions.

Have got to get out into the garden a little later on — if the rain stops — and get the last few marigolds plunked in.  Along with some chard and a few other odds and ends.  Hope my lilies don’t bloom until I get home.  Hate missing them in their glory.

Anyway, the yard will be here when I get back.  There’s always something to be done — I just hope Tim leaves something for me to do.  When it’s finished I’ll post a pic so you can see the change.

I’ll be back in about 2 weeks — warm summer wishes to all (and to my new friends in South Africa — wishing you short, sunny winter days).

Friday, July 2

Well, my, my, my. . . I’m finally on holiday!  Unbelievable how great it feels!  It’s always a little disconcerting the first few days when I wake up and think I need to be rushing to get ready for work, and then I go “wait!  I’m on holidays!  I don’t have to go anywhere!”  (Sorry for all the exclamation points — sign of very immature writing, but, really that’s how I’m thinking in my head at this moment.)!

Okay, more mature Kathy is taking over.  An explanation is in order I guess for my absence lately.  My son took my computer to fix it — but he’s had no time to do that.  I have access to this laptop, which is essentially not mine — it belongs to the union for which I am a member (president of, actually — sounds more impressive than it is, so I try not to advertise too much) .  ANYWAY, being the kind of person I am — slightly skewed — I try not to use it for anything but union business.  I’ll do the odd little thing on here, but anything personal I reserve for my personal computer.

Is any of that making sense?

To continue. . .

. . . I haven’t blogged then for over a week, because of my computer woes.  I am feeling the effects.  I have taken many pictures that I’d love to share and so, have decided to damn my ethics and post a blog or two by using this laptop.  (thunder-clap in the background).  don’t know whether or not I’ll be able to get pics downloaded — because the software for the cameras is filed away somewhere that I can’t recall.  I really hate my organization skills sometimes — they make all the sense in the world when I’m in the midst of organizing — later, however, I can’t remember what rationale I used when I was putting things in order.  Sigh.

I’m starting to get geared up for my trip to New York next week.  I’ve got the hair under control, tomorrow it’s the toenails.  Pretty toes for the summer!  woo hoo!  In the meantime I’ve got all the little details to take care of — like getting some US dollars, making sure reservations are still in effect, etc.  I am so looking forward to this trip!  It’s been 2 years in the planning.  The last year was researching and getting the details ironed out.  With me in Alberta, sister #1 in Manitoba, sister #2 in Ontario and sister-in-law in Nova Scotia, it’s been a little bit of a challenge.  However, we have managed to coordinate things seamlessly and agree unanimously on everything we’ve got planned.  We’re going to have such a blast!  Can’t wait to get together with them all.  The train ride for Niagara Falls, NY to New York city is going to give us our first chance in a year to be face to face.  Bring on the travel Scrabble!  Hope that train has a bar car!

Well, this blog is kind of going nowhere — just me blithering, but that’s what happens when you’re away for a while.  Kind of a mental and verbal diarrhea.  Will endeavor to be better for the next  one.

Am going to attempt to download pics.  Fingers crossed!

Have a good day everyone.

7:11 and I’m not getting ready for work, but I should be. . .

I’m supposed to be getting ready for work, and for a meeting after work.

I just can’t do it.  All I want to do is sit here, write a bit and then go work in my gardens.

The house is a flippin’ mess — I’ve tried, really tried all week to be a good house keeper, but it’s a losing battle.  At least we eat.  And clean up the dishes.  The rest of it will just have to wait until I’ve got the time and the need.

Thank God I’ve got tomorrow off.  Have great gardening plans — the weeds have staged a rebellion and I must get out there with my guillotine!  The rain better hold off until I’m done.  (Sorry Heather.)

Our keys to the apartment in New York came yesterday, along with our tickets to Wicked.  Three weeks from today me, two of my sistahs and a sistah-in-law will be in the Big Apple.  Five days of frivolity, fun, food and fantasy.  Cannot wait.

Well, I really must stop this and get moving.  Huge sigh.

Tomorrow can’t come fast enough.