Archive for the ‘Family’ Category
“I believe that everyone else my age is an adult whereas I am merely in disguise.” Margaret Atwood
I had a birthday last week which made me think, did I learn anything over the year?
Upon reflection, it was quite the year. I helped my mom settle into a retirement home, cleaned out her apartment and then sold it. That alone was stressful and upsetting as it meant a huge change for my mom. Fortunately she is handling the change gracefully. My perfect job came to an end and I had to look for another one. We all know how stressful that can be. I worked for a wonderful organization with amazing people and I was doing exactly what I love to do. I managed to get another job in the same industry. But it was a new program for all of us with many changes, the learning curve was steep and the stress was tremendous. I went on a once in a lifetime European holiday, only to break my ankle on day two. When I got home I needed an operation to pin it all together again. This slowed me down a lot, which I didn’t like at all.
Many good things happened over the year though. My third book was published! I still can’t believe I have three published books. I made some fabulous friends at my new job. I went on a cruise down the Danube with good friends and saw some fascinating sights. I spent valuable time with friends and family throughout the year.
What did I learn from all this?
- That change can be hard but something good always comes of it.
- Slowing down can be good for you.
- People are kind and willing to help, even strangers.
- I am fortunate to have the most supportive friends and family.
- I have the best husband ever!
I have been treated royally this past week. Flowers and dinner with hubby. A birthday party and cake at work.
My daughter took a ferry from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay where I met her for lunch on Saturday. We had a great time as always. She gave me “Sky” the Eagle Bear Totem puppet. He is part of the Storytellers puppet collection and was designed by Coast Salish artist Doug LaFortune from Victoria BC. On the tag it reads “Standing tall, sharing stories of our people of how we are connected through vision and strength.” A perfect gift from a thoughtful daughter.
I had tea with a good friend and her six-year-old on Sunday. I received countless messages from friends all over the world. which made me feel so special.
I have been given many lovely gifts including a Sheaffer fountain pen, a note-book, a British tea caddy and many more wonderful things.
I think the quote on this birthday card says it all
I learned that I am one lucky girl.
Flat Ruthie and I had an amazing time this weekend. We attended Cirque du Soleil with my dear husband on Saturday evening. It was amazing. From the moment we saw the big tent we got excited. The performance was incredible, the costumes remarkable and the music astounding. We were transported into another world, one of magic, suspense, colour and incredible acts of human talent.
The performance we saw was Amaluna, based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. To see some video clips, visit the website http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/amaluna/tickets/vancouver.aspx This will give you a glimpse of what we experienced.
The entire evening was a lot of fun. We took the sky train downtown and then walked to the site. After the show we walked back to the station. Lady Gaga was in town for a performance and the streets were full of Gaga fans all dressed up. It was wonderful to be amongst them and to feel the energy. I stopped to compliment a couple of young girls dressed for the show. We picked up fish and chips on the way home to complete the evening. The tickets were a Christmas gift from me to my husband. It turned out to be a perfect gift as he thoroughly enjoyed the performance as well as the company of me and Flat Ruthie!
We don’t do things like this very often so it made it very special.
Is there anything you do once in a while that is extra special?
Although it was just my hubby and I on Christmas day this year, we had a pleasant, peaceful, relaxing time. I had an early Christmas with my family in Medicine Hat at the beginning of December. I was there for only a short time but got to see everyone I wanted to see. It was especially wonderful to attend a Christmas dinner at the retirement centre my mom is living in. My great-aunt Barbara joined us as did my brother from Calgary.
I am so blessed to have these two wonderful women in my life. Mom turned 84 on Christmas day and Great-Aunt Barbara turned 94 at the end of October. Mom was happy that I could make it to her Christmas dinner which included carol singing and door prizes. Aunt Barbara is holding a Tim Horton’s gift card she won.
It was also great to see the grandchildren! They were happy with their gifts.
Of course any time I get to spend with my awesome son is always special. He is responsible for those fabulous grandchildren, the best gift he ever gave me.
My daughter and I had our Christmas together on Boxing Day in Nanaimo. (see previous post) I learned that Christmas isn’t just one day of the year. It can be celebrated at anytime, as long as you are with the ones you love.
I hope you all created some great Christmas memories this year as well.
We had a quiet restful Christmas Day at our house, which was itself a welcome gift. On Boxing Day I travelled by ferry to Vancouver Island to meet my daughter in Nanaimo. We had a wonderful time relaxing in a cozy coffee shop, visiting and exchanging gifts.
I brought Flat Ruthie along as she had never been to Nanaimo. She had heard about the famous Nanaimo bars though. Marcelle and Ruthie became fast friends, as I knew they would. Ruthie was taken with Marcelle’s Painted Pony Handbag.
She was also intrigued with the Matcha Latte Marcelle ordered. I had a vanilla almond latte which was also very good
You may have read about my daughter the potter on previous posts and how proud I am of her:
I love all the pottery she has given me over the years but the urn she gave me this Christmas is totally amazing. As you can see, Flat Ruthie likes it too.
Nanaimo has many wonderful bookstores so we dropped in at a used bookstore near the coffee shop. Marcelle bought three books on Feng Shui and I found one I couldn’t resist. Flat Ruthie and I had fun looking through it on the ferry ride home.
Nanaimo Bar Recipe
½ cup unsalted butter (European style cultured)
¼ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs
½ c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut
Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8″ x 8″ pan.
½ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar
Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator. Enjoy!
Taken from the City of Nanaimo’s website
I hope you all had a wonderful Boxing Day as well!
From time to time I feel compelled to brag a bit about my children. Today I want to share a few things about my daughter who I have blogged about here before. http://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/the-mad-mudslinger/ She has been very busy making amazing pottery. Recently she was part of an Alice in Wonderland event on Gabriola Island where her pottery was displayed. I think she makes a delightful Alice, don’t you?
Her artwork has been accepted for the 2012 Sooke Fine Arts Show. So if you are in the Victoria area July 28 – August 6, stop in and view her work, as well as the work of many other talented artists. She has followed her dream and I am so proud of her.
(If you click on the pictures, they become larger)
I honour of Father’s Day, Karen Elliott is featuring stories about Dads on her blog. Check out these heart warming posts. The story of my Dad was posted today.
My Dad was a cowboy. Not the Hollywood type, but a real cowboy – a man who tended cattle. A hardworking man of integrity, loyalty and determination; he would always be seen in his signature cowboy hat and boots, jeans and western shirt. Read more:
Do you have happy memories of your Dad? I would love to hear about them.
A very special Mother’s Day quote from a good blogging friend from New Zealand, Judith Baxter Visit her blog for great stories and inspiration I Choose How I Spend the Rest of My Life (don’t you just love the name of her blog)
A baby said to god
“I hear you are sending me to earth tomorrow. How am I going to live there being so small and helpless?”
God said “Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you”
The child then said “But here in heaven I don’t have to do anything but sing, smile and be happy”.
God said “Your angel will sing and smile for you and you will feel your angel’s love for you and you will be happy.”
And the child said “But who will protect me?”
And god said “Your angel will protect you even if it means risking its own life”
Then the child said “If I am to leave heaven please tell me my angel’s name”
And god said “You will simply call her Mum.”
Happy Mother’s Day to all the special angels out there.
I am so happy I was given a perfect angel to be my mom. She has been an angel to four generations in our family. Here she is with my daughter and me.
And at her 80th Birthday
As my mom gets older and less and less mobile, I find myself reflecting on some of the wonderful times we have had together. Mom lives in another province so we only see each other once or twice a year. Four years ago, a year after we lost Dad, I invited her to come for a visit in April, specifically so I could take her to the tulip festival in La Conner,Washington. I knew how much she loved tulips and felt this would be a great place for us to visit together.
Although we woke up early to take the two hour journey south from my home in British Columbia, we still had to wait a long time to get through the border. It was a sunny west coast day and no doubt many people wanted to take in the festival. It was certainly worth the wait.
Following signs, we drove along the road heading west where we noticed spots of intense colour in the distance. The closer we got, the more evident it became that these splashes of pinks, purples, reds and yellows were actually acres of tulip fields.
What an amazing sight. Mom was visibly delighted. We parked the car and wandered amongst the tulips. Not only were the colours amazing, but the variety of shapes and sizes were astounding. A photographer’s dream; even for an amateur such as myself.
A little girl, all dressed up, posed for her picture between the rows of flowers. Her parents gave us permission to photograph her. What a sweetie.
Stopping at a number of tulip farms, there seemed to be no end to them, we could not believe the selection of tulips. We had never seen anything like it! We arrived back home later that evening, tired but happy. Mom never did get to Holland to see the tulip fields, but she was very pleased to have been to the La Conner tulip festival. I am so glad we had the opportunity to do this together when we could. What great memories. She still talks about it. If you ever find youself in the Pacific Northwest in April, I suggest you make a point of visiting the Tulip Festival.
Is there something special you have done with a loved one that remains in your fond memory?
My brother recently returned from a five month stay in Thailand and spent the weekend with us on the west coast before returning to his home in Edmonton, Alberta. Being a lovely Sunday, we visited the historic fishing village of Steveston, on the Fraser River.
We had fun strolling along the boardwalk where we discovered a newly erected wood sculpture depicting an Orca mother and baby. A great photo op.
We noticed smoke coming from a fish boat and then – horrors, a body in the water! My husband pointed out it was the Richmond Fire Department conducting on the water disaster training. I then realized the body in the water did look a bit like a “dummy”.
We walked down to the fish boats where the fishers were selling their fresh catch. Many families were out taking in the mild weather and making a purchase for to take home for dinner. There were many choices, salmon, sole, snapper and shrimp to name a few.
Our mouths watered as we walked by a number of fish and chip shops. But it was too late for lunch, which we already had, and too early for dinner. So we stopped at Waves Coffee Bar, another new addition since our last visit, where I enjoyed a delicious London Fog and yummy cinnamon swirl while brother and hubby had coffee and other delectable treats. We sat outside and people watched. After a tough week at work it was just what I needed.
Spring on the south west coast of Canada is so lovely with cherry blossoms, tulips and daffodils everywhere you look. I spotted some narcissus outside the coffee shop that looked almost artificial they were so perfect. I am so lucky to live in this beautiful part of the world. If you visit Vancouver, make sure you take a trip to Steveston Village in Richmond.
What is the best part of where you live?
Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.
I just returned from a week in Medicine Hat, Alberta visiting family and cleaning out Mom’s apartment as she embarks on another phase of her life in a retirement centre. It was emotional, stressful and a lot of hard work but there were some highlights as well.
I visited my ten year old grandson’s school and read from my books. Jesse got to introduce me to the class and held the Ali Baba puppet while I read. It was a lot of fun; the kids were very attentive and asked great questions. They even gave me ideas for future books.
I spent a lot of time with Mom which was great. We went through her clothes, shoes and jewellery together, deciding what to keep and what to give to charity. We both like nice clothes and accessories and we both hate to get rid of them. So it was a good thing to do together. I hung familiar pictures in her new place to make it feel more like home. It is a very nice place and I am sure she will be comfortable there and well taken care of.
Spending valuable time with all my grandchildren, and my son and his wife as they helped with packing things up and making deliveries was a treat. Aunts and Uncles dropped in to see Mom, so I had an opportunity to see them as well. It made me realize once again how lucky I am to belong to such a large, caring family.
Then there was a chance to reconnect with old friends. One made me dinner, another invited me to her new art gallery/restaurant, Inspire, and two took me out for a much needed drink my last night. I chatted on the phone with another dear friend who is also dealing with an aging mother.
I was happy to be home after eight days away and hubby and cats were eager to see me, but I am glad I took the time to go back home.
Have you had a chance to go back home recently and how was the experience?