Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Stevie Turner has a new feature on her blog site called share your short story. I encourage you to submit a story   https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/new-category-share-your-short-story/     Here’s mine!

Prize Winner

By Darlene Foster

We were close to being a perfect family and we didn’t need anyone else to disrupt things. Mom, good at family planning, spaced the three of us out evenly. Three years apart seemed just right, as far as I was concerned. A sister would have been nice. But in spite of the fact that little brothers could be annoying, I felt happy with the way things turned out.

I was not happy when I heard another baby was about to join our family. At almost sixteen, I didn’t relish the idea of looking after a little kid and missing out on parties and fun stuff. Why did mom have to have another baby? Couldn’t she be more responsible and think of the rest of us? Besides, wasn’t she too old to be lugging around a small child? Angry at this turn of events, I decided not to speak to her ever again.

Mom explained that she hadn’t planned this and it disrupted her life too. “Things don’t always turn out the way we want but we have to accept them and make the best of the situation,” she said.

I didn’t care how Mom felt and refused to look up from my book as she spoke. My life was about to be ruined.

Mom looked awfully tired at times, and although I was not speaking to her, I tried to do as many of her chores as I could. I had a packed schedule with school, choir practice, drama club and Canadian Girls in Training. There’d be no time for the extra work a new baby in the house would entail. What if the child cried and I couldn’t do my homework or study for exams? Could we even afford another mouth to feed?

February arrived, soon time for the annual Valentines Day dance at school – and I had nothing to wear! Mom had a piece of burgundy baby-wide corduroy in her sewing chest and we bought a Chanel style suit pattern the last time we were in town. She promised to have the suit made for the dance. After doing all the farm chores and cooking meals, she was always too tired to start the project. I would die if I had to wear something old to the dance. We had no money for a store-bought dress.

Besides being a good seamstress, Mom was a great cook and baked mouth-watering desserts. She often entered her recipes in contests, attended the bake-offs and won prizes. That year she entered her Apple Cottage Cheese Pie recipe in the Medicine Hat News Recipe Contest. She passed her love of baking and cooking on to me and we enjoyed trying different recipes together. Once I entered a recipe contest and won a Five Roses Cook Book for honourable mention.

Mom also taught me to sew long before I took Home Economics in high school. I had already made a few things for myself: a shift dress, a couple of pop tops and a pair of shorts. By the time I took Home Economics, the obligatory pot holder and apron were a piece of cake for me. I ended up assisting the others with their sewing projects which was much appreciated by the overworked teacher.

The new baby was due mid-February. Mom finally cut the suit out of the corduroy and assured me it would be completed for the Valentine’s Dance. During the night of February 9, Dad woke us up to say he was taking Mom to the hospital as the baby was coming – and would I look after my brothers.

I mumbled, “Sure,” while I snuggled deeper under the warm quilt.

My third brother was born on February 10. Dad reported mother and baby doing well. The news didn’t have much effect on me except that mom would not be home until after the dance, and she had barely started on the suit.

I moved the sewing machine out of my parent’s bedroom into mine, studied the fabric pieces and sewing instructions, and with much care, made the A-line skirt. I admired the finished product in the mirror. It fit just right and actually looked store bought. I had never made anything as difficult as a jacket. I followed the instructions to a T and took my time. After a couple of frustrating hours fitting the sleeves so they were smooth, the jacket was finished – the night before the dance. Even the buttonholes looked good.

I felt like Jackie Kennedy in that suit. I received many compliments and didn’t sit out one dance. My town friends, in store-bought dresses, asked me if I could make them a suit just like it. It was my shining hour.

There was still the issue of a new person soon to inhabit our already crowded home, and I was not looking forward to it. They better not think I would babysit or help out in any way because I just wouldn’t. I had too much too much to do already. This baby wasn’t my concern.

I began to put things away in Mom’s sewing chest and considered sewing myself something else after the success of the suit. Mom had lots of pieces of material that she never got around to sewing. In my search through the fabric, I came across a large piece of canary yellow flannelette and a package of baby patterns.

An idea started to form. The sewing machine was still in my bedroom and it would be a couple more days until mom came home. I spent the entire weekend sewing a baby bunting bag for my new little brother. It turned out so cute. I looked forward to seeing him in it.

On Sunday I gave the house a good cleaning since Mom was coming home the next day. First, she had to go the Medicine Hat News office to collect her prize for the Apple Cottage Cheese Pie recipe and get her picture taken. Dad took the dress she requested when he went to pick her up from the hospital. He also took the bunting bag.
Dad, Mom, and baby arrived home soon after we got home from school. Mom beamed as she handed me a cute little person in a canary yellow, flannelette bunting bag. “Thanks for making this for your little brother.”

I held the precious bundle and fell in love. We had lots of room in our house and our hearts for this little guy. He would be fun to look after.
The following weekend Mom’s picture appeared in the Medicine Hat News. With a big smile, Mom held her prize-winning pie in front of her. No one could tell she had just had a baby and could not do up the zipper in the back of her dress.

Mom may have won an electric frying pan for her prize-winning recipe but I got the best prize – my wonderful little brother!

Featured in the anthology, In the Moment – Inspiring Hope 

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Dad and my three brothers.

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Lunch with my youngest brother and my awesome website designer.

After visiting six cities in BC and Alberta, travelling by car, train, metro, bus, large and small aircraft and ferry, I am back in Spain and back to blogging. It feels like such a long time since I wrote my last post. The trip was successful on so many levels. I was able to see many family members and friends. The time spent with my mom was precious and seeing my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren was wonderful. I was treated to many amazing meals, picnics, a Monet Exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, a remarkable production of Much Ado About Nothing at Bard on the Beach and a performance by my son’s new band who dedicated the first song to me! I launched Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind and sold out of books at a couple of the venues. Visiting schools, libraries, and bookstores is always a pleasure for me. A week as a workshop leader at the Vancouver Public Library´s Writers and Book Camp was a real treat as was presenting at the BC Association of Travel Writers.

It was a busy schedule and I am now catching up on sleep and chores but I wanted to share a few pictures with you. I’ll start with the most important, my family.

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Mom with me and my great-granddaughter, Emma.

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An Amanda Travel’s fan

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With my handsome musician son and his daughter

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Sharing Mexican food with grandson No. 1.

 

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His first car!

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Sharing Indian food with grandson No. 2

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Grandson at his youth group’s garden produce stand.

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Great granddaughter, Devin

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Another Amanda Travels fan with a matching Day of the Dead bowl.

They are all growing up and becoming amazing young folks. I enjoyed every minute I spent with them. Then it was off to Vancouver Island.

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Beautiful potter daughter showing off the skirt I brought her from Cordoba. I think she likes it!

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Best buds

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Cousins at the beach

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Typical fabulous family meal, with daughter and cousins. I am so lucky!!

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My new grand-puppy Petite Du Champs. Love him to bits.

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Enjoyable lunch in Calgary with the younger brother who is also my clever website designer.

More to come. I missed blogging and was pleased to see my posts continued to be read and commented on while I was away. You folks rock!!

I haven’t been spending much time on my blog lately but there is a very good reason. I’ve been entertaining overseas guests and showing them around my part of Spain. The three of us come from the same place originally and have been buddies since we were children. One is related, one isn’t, one now lives in Arizona and one in Alberta. I can´t tell you how wonderful it has been having them here in Spain with me.

So far we have explored medieval castles, cathedrals, museums, a Roman fortress, an amphitheatre, and a sanctuary built into the side of a mountain, shopped the markets, shared tapas and watched a flamenco dancer to name a few of the many fun things we’ve been doing. I’ll write more about these events and sites later but in the meantime here are a few pictures to show what we’ve been up to.

At the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Esperanza

Happy to have my friends here in Spain with me.

With a friendly sailor in Cartagena

Enjoying the amphitheatre in Cartagena

On stage at the amphitheatre ready to give a performance

A Roman Senator lost his head over us!

At the top of the castle in Guadalest

Beautiful Guadalest

We did not fight over the knight in shining armour

Someone bought a new hat at the market and is very happy!

Resting in a cute courtyard in Cordoba.

At the Alcazar in Cordoba with King Alfonso

Look who we found at the top of Santa Barbara Castle in Alicante

 

The three amigas together again, ready for adventure.

There are many more pictures and stories to share but you will have to wait.

Note – pictures from a collection taken by all three of us.

I spent some fabulous days with my talented daughter when I was back in Canada last fall. I´ve written about her and her pottery here and here. She is doing well and has recently had her pottery on display at numerous galleries in Vancouver. Here is one piece that was on display and sold. Isn’t it adorable? You can see more of her one of a kind pottery on her website which she updates regularly. She also ships all over the world.

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She asked me to deliver some pottery ordered by a friend in Calgary since I was going there. She mentioned my Christmas gift would be waiting for me when I got there. I transported the package from Vancouver to Medicine Hat and then on to Calgary with the same care I would give a newborn. I´m happy to report it arrived safely and the owner of the pottery was very pleased with her purchase. This is what was in the box.

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A goddess incense burner and covered mug.

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Note the goddess handle on the mug.

Her friend then handed me my package. In it was a Creative Goddess, made by my daughter’s friend.

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Along with it came a scroll with these words-

Creative Goddess was lovingly created specially for you. She has an uplifting energy, that encourages creativity and a calm mind. She is associated with the Crown Chakra, representing pure thought and connection with infinite consciousness. Deep Spiritual Understanding. She is connected to mother goddess, fertility and womb. Representing the way the universe would evolve and constantly change. bringing an awareness of being a part of a whole. She also helps one on their spiritual journey, direction and progress. She is adorned with a Clear Quartz Crystal. This special stone is the supreme gift of Mother Earth. Clear Quartz also amplifies whatever energy or intent is programmed into it. This may accelerate the fulfillment of one’s prayer, intensify healing, spiritual growth and manifestation of a goal.

What a special Christmas gift! I love my Creative Goddess and am happy she is here with me in Spain.

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The Creative Goddess with pieces of Marcelle’s pottery

 

It just so happens that my daughter’s childhood friend, Gillian, is the daughter of my good friend. I have known Gill since she was six and have watched her grow into a special woman and an exceptional mother. Here are some samples of her awesome felt work.

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Check out Gill’s website for more about her and the amazing work she does.

Follow both artists on Instagram

gillianwhite11 Magick Weaver • Soul Worker • Healer • Priestess • Fiber Artist • Ritualist • Intuitive www.gillian-white.com

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madmudslinger  Ceramic creations from a quiet place in the forest. Shop the online gallery www.madmudslinger.com

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I am proud of these young women who follow their passion, embrace a peaceful life and create from the heart. I consider myself lucky to have these creative goddesses in my life. 

When I went back to Canada at the end of last year, I was pleased to be able to spend time at my favourite places – schools, libraries and bookstores, where I read from my latest book and spoke about my writing. It was a busy time but also a lot of fun. Here are a few pictures of my events and presentations.

I held the launch of Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music at Albany Books in Tsawwassen, BC. Ruth and the staff at this cosy, well-stocked bookstore have been so supportive of my books over the years. I was pleased to be back and to see so many of Amanda´s fans attend.

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My daughter at the book launch as well as a dear friend.

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Book launch at Albany Books, November 19 2016

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With Suzanne de Montigny, another author, who I featured here on my blog

I visited a number of schools in the Vancouver area where I showed a PowerPoint presentation I created, read from the book and answered questions about the book, me and my writing. The children were so attentive and asked amazing questions. One girl asked if she could take notes!

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At Charles Dickens Elementary

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The children liked the visuals I created from my own photographs in the PowerPoint presentation.

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Answering questions at Holly Elementary in Surrey, BC

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I thought this was such a funny poster in the library.

I also visited Webster Niblock School in Medicine Hat, Alberta, my hometown.  I read to the grade one and two classes in the library and then to the grade three to six classes in the gym. It was the largest group I have ever spoken to.

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The students loved the pictures of my dog Dot.

 

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Lots of questions from the crowd.

 

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The special thing about this visit was that it is the school my great granddaughter, Emma attends.

In Calgary, I spent a morning with the students at Red Deer Lake School in their magical library.

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Because I was travelling, I couldn´t bring my props with me. Fortunately, friends lent me appropriate things for my displays, including a nutcracker, which is featured in the book.

 

 

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I just love these school libraries.

 

The most special event for me was a presentation at The Medicine Hat Library. Although the original library  I visited as a child is no longer there, it was still a very nostalgic time for me. I took my children to this library and now my grandchildren and great grandchildren frequent it. Many friends, family and fans attended, some travelling long distances, which warmed my heart.

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Six-year-old great granddaughter attending my presentation at the local library. Who would have thought this would ever happen??

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Friends and family travelled far to attend my presentation.

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It was a dream come true for me! Yes, you can go home again. Everyone made me feel so special. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

And thank you for travelling with me on my book tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I barely get over my jet lag and it’s time to get ready for Christmas! I keep thinking about the wonderful time I had with friends and family back in Canada and I feel happy all over again. So I thought I would share some of my memories.

In between promoting my book, I managed to meet up with many friends in three different cities. They fed me well, gave me places to stay,  and were a joy to spend time with. Here are a few pictures.

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Homemade pizza waiting for me at a friend’s after a busy schedule in Vancouver. Do I purposefully pick friends who are good cooks?

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Workmates from Medicine Hat, many years ago. So glad we have kept in touch.

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A group of friends from elementary school days

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Good friends from BC

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A friend I worked with in Vancouver who made high tea for me!

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A dear friend from my first job in Medicine Hat who provided me with a comfy place to stay, fed me well and was great to relax with after a busy day.

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My good friend and travel buddy who drove me all over Calgary in the snow, gave me a warm place to stay and also fed me well.

I am truly blessed when it comes to friends.

Precious time was spent with family too.

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Spent three fun filled days with my daughter. We got to babysit a puppy too.

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Cousins from Vancouver Island who made the trip over to the mainland to have lunch with me.

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My aunt and best pal from Arizona, with a cousin from Calgary.

My Aunt, who is my age, came all the way from Arizona to support me and my book tour. How special is that?

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My great-aunt and great-uncle in Calgary.

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Visiting Santa with  second great-granddaughter

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Visiting first great- granddaughter at her school. Almost as tall as me!!

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My youngest grandson, not so little anymore!

My oldest grandson, all grown up but still my buddy. Treated me to a sushi meal.

My oldest grandson, all grown up but still my buddy. He treated me to sushi.

I spent a good amount of time with my dear mom. We made her an early birthday/Christmas party as she will turn 88 on Christmas day. She was delighted to have all of her siblings there, even her sister from Arizona.

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Mom with all of her remaining siblings

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Five generations, mom, me, my son,  grandaughter and great grandaughter

It was a wonderful time as you can see. Full of family, friends, fun and food. This is what makes life worth living!!

I hope you are all ready for the Holiday Season. Make sure you enjoy fun, food, family and friends!

I can’t believe it has been over four months since we welcomed our dog, Dot into our lives. It’s as if she has always been here. Although she was quite nervous at first, she has settled into living in an urban setting. I wrote about driving to the Andalucian mountains to get her here.

Like parents of a newborn, we have taken tons of pictures of her. Here are a few. Believe me, it was hard to narrow it down.

Enjoying her new toy.

Enjoying her new toy, but what she really likes to play with are our socks!.

She also likes playing with her ball with her new dad

She also likes playing with her ball

Please, dad, can you throw it again

Please, dad, can you throw the ball again?

She enjoys going to the beach

She enjoys going for walks on the beach

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But doesn't like to get her feet wet

But she doesn’t like to get her feet wet

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Sometimes she meets another dog at the beach and gets to play

Sometimes she meets another dog at the beach and gets to play

A play date with Havane, a Spaniel from France

A special play date with Havane, her friend from France

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She loves to play with other dogs.

Dot is popular with the neighbourhood children who bring her treats

Dot is popular with the neighbourhood children who bring her treats

She loves our special friend!

Our special young friend is a good buddy

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She loves her dad!

She sure loves her dad!

and she loves her mom too.

and she loves her mom too. She goes with us just about everywhere we go.

You can see she is quite a character and keeps us busy. Whatever did we do without her?


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