Archive for the ‘Family’ Category
I spent a fabulous day with my daughter this Thanksgiving weekend. I caught a float plane from Vancouver and twenty minutes later landed on Gabriola Island. This is a trip that usually takes me over four hours by car and two ferries. My daughter picked me up and took me to visit some of the artists participating in the annual Gabriola Studio Tour. I was happy with the choices as each artist had something unique to show. Here is a sampling.
We stopped in to chat with Dianna Bonder, an award-winning children’s author and illustrator. Her whimsical paintings and myriad of published books were enjoyable to look at. A couple of little people will be getting her books for Christmas.
A visit to Joy Olsen’s studio was another treat. Joy creates fun, nature inspired sculptural ceramics. Another perfect Christmas gift was purchased before we left.
A visit to Ted Johnson’s Delfin Designs studio brought out the child in us. HIs wonderful woodwork and trees with doors in them are delightful.
We visited many other talented artists as well, although it was impossible to visit all 41 studios on the tour. It was so great to spend time with my potter daughter, Marcelle Glock, and her community of artist friends and acquaintances. I was also treated to a wonderful lunch at Mad Rona’s coffee bar. It was hard to choose but eventually I decided on a Kiwi Panini which consisted of Albacore tuna, feta cheese and a roasted garlic/artichoke spread. So yummy!
It was a perfect day. The sun shone, the trees on the island were dressed in glorious fall colours, I met very interesting people and most of all I got to spend time with my sweetie. As I flew back home later that evening, I felt extremely thankful for the day, my family and my life.
I hope you had a thankful weekend as well.
I have blooged about my potter daughter here before:
Another interesting day trip my grandson and I took was to Red Rock Coulee, 56 kilometers (35 miles) south-west of Medicine Hat, Alberta. This little known area is a wonder to behold. Large, perfectly round, red boulders are scattered around a 324 hectar (800 acre) prairie landscape. Some of these boulders are up to 2.5 metres (8 feet) in diameter and are among the largest of these in the world. It is virtually in the middle on nowhere and we had the place to ourselves. It was like being on another planet!
Research tells me these boulders were formed in prehistoric seas that once covered this area. Sand, calcite and iron oxide collected around a nucleus formed by shells, leaves or bones and grew as the circulating waters deposited more layers. The reddish colour comes from iron oxide. And I thought they were the result of a meteor shower!
This is a great place to hike among the stones and, if you like climbing like my grandson does, there’s plenty of opportunities to do that. The only wildlife we saw were the resident mosquitoes. We were glad we brought bug spray. It was a wonderful day trip and a perfect place for those of us with vivid imaginations. The day ended with an ice cream treat when we returned to the real world.
It has been 24 years since I left the Canadian prairies for the west coast of BC. I try to get back once or twice a year to visit my Mom, my son and his family and many old friends. My daughter and I made a visit to our home town of Medicine Hat, Alberta at the beginning of July. It is not often that I get to be with both my kids at the same time. Here are a few highlights of the trip.
Watch for more about this trip and the adventures I had with my twelve year old grandson later.
Today is Father’s Day here in North America and I am thinking of how lucky I was to have such a great Dad. Mom sure knew how to pick ‘em. I dug out a picture of Dad with me when I was a baby. We were always best buds
Last year I was guest author on Karen Elliott’s blog. I thought I would share the story again for those of you who hadn’t read it. You might want to check out Karen’s blog as she has great posts about writing and her family.
Cowby Wisdom, by Darlene Foster
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. He lived the code of the cowboy where a man’s word was a man’s word and you never broke a promise once made. He believed you should do what has to be done without complaint, take pride in your work and always finish what you start. He was a man of principle; tough but fair. I learned so much from him.
His education included grade seven. Responsibilities on his father’s farm in the spring and fall took him out of school, which put him behind. By the time he turned fifteen he didn’t bother going back to school being so much older than the rest of the class. In spite of his limited schooling, he was the smartest man I knew. A curious man, Dad believed in continuous learning. His gift of the gab enabled him to start a conversation with almost anyone and he always came away wiser. “You can learn at least one thing from everyone you meet,” became a lesson I never forgot.
Dad read the newspapers and kept up to date on current events, but his busy schedule didn’t permit him to read much else. At age seventy-five, he finally retired and moved into the city. His love of the outdoors and fresh air, took him on walks to the local library on a regular basis. Once there, he chose about half a dozen books on a subject he had always wanted to learn more about. He took the books home, read them front to back and returned with a new subject in mind. At seventy-five he educated himself and expanded his world. I found this to be most admirable.
There wasn’t much I couldn’t discuss with him. He taught me the art of conversation, negotiation and debate; valuable lessons that have served me well over the years. He served as my confidant, financial advisor, political guru, mentor, and he was my hero. He always had time to listen to my woes and to provide encouraging words. I didn’t make many major decisions without discussing with him first. But he wouldn’t tell me what to do; he just helped me look at all sides of the situation. He encouraged me to be an independent thinker, creative problem solver and not to always look for the easy way. He claimed, “You make your own luck in this world.” I believe that to be true for the most part, but I sure was lucky to get him for a Dad. His confidence in me and my abilities enabled me to reach higher and not give up on my dreams.
Always a perfect gentleman, he could also swear a blue streak if the occasion called for it. Like the time he hit his thumb with a hammer while fixing a piece of farm machinery. He forgot I was in hearing distance.
Life wasn’t always easy for a cowboy but Dad’s amazing sense of humour and positive attitude got him through the tough times. He loved a good practical joke and April Fool’s was his favourite day. I can still see the twinkle in his eyes when he knew he got one over on us. He didn’t mind laughing at himself as well. There were many times he would tell a story and have everyone in stitches. From him, I learned the value of a good laugh and how to look on the bright side. He often said, “Others have it worse.”
A tough cowboy on the surface, he was really a big softy. Dad always found the best in everyone, was a helpful neighbour and a good friend to many. His love for his animals was evident as was his unfailing devotion to his family. A generous, loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather, he made an impact on everyone. When I see traits of him in my children and grandchildren, I am comforted knowing his legacy lives on.
It’s been six years since we lost Dad. There isn’t a day I don’t think of him, quote him or seek his advice. He was a true cowboy to the last!
“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.