Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘family

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 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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This week we said goodbye to a much-loved member of our family. Paul Frank Mehrer, my grandfather’s youngest brother, passed away at aged eighty-seven. The same age as my mother, they were always very close and lived in the same care home the past two years. It was always a pleasure to stop in for a visit and listen to his wonderful stories whenever I was in town to see mom.

 

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Mom and her uncle during my visit last summer

Uncle Paul was born on his parent’s farm on March 1, 1929, the youngest of twelve children. He spent most of his life on the homestead, farming it with his older brother Andrew when their parents retired to the city and continuing after they passed away. The place, near Hilda, on the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, was close to the farm my family lived on when I was a child. I recall the days of the threshing crews when my dad would help bring in their crop and the uncles would help dad in return. Mom would make a huge meal for the crew at the end of the hard working day. I can still hear the buzz at supper as stories were shared around the table. Uncle Paul, the shyer of the two uncles, didn´t say much then, but when he did it was interesting. He was always very nice to a little kid like me.

Great-grandparents Andreas and Katerina Mehrer and family

Uncle Paul is the little boy between his parents

He experienced all kinds of disasters his years on the farm; drought, hail, grasshoppers and severe storms. He tells a story of a time when a terrible storm hit, destroying a garage, two sheds, an oil shed and some corrals. He and his brother were afraid the mobile home they lived in would be destroyed as well and kept fully dressed in case they had to exit quickly. His main concern was for the animals and was happy to discover the pony had found refuge behind a combine and the two dogs took shelter behind the propane tank. It took all summer to repair the damage. Like many of his generation, he didn´t venture far from the farm. He did, however, spend a few weeks working on a nearby ranch, where he learned to round up cattle from the hills, ride over washouts and manoeuvre his horse on narrow trails. He also participated in an eight-mile cattle drive which he enjoyed. Uncle Paul loved his horses and rode whenever he had a chance.

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His horses were a very important part of his life.

He was a bachelor until age seventy-five. He retired and moved into St. Joseph’s Retirement Home where he met his love, Bertha. They married in 2004. His only wish was that his parents could have been at the wedding. They enjoyed the years they spent together until Bertha’s passing in 2013. Proof that true love isn´t just for the young. It is never too late to find the right person.

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Uncle Paul and Aunt Bertha, happily married.

Great-Uncle Paul was a kind man, who always had time for his many nieces and nephews. My daughter, his great-great-niece, visited him a couple of months ago and he immediately knew who she was. Everyone loved to spend time with him as he always had such interesting stories to tell about the old days. During my last visit, he regaled me with a story about my dad and how he could tell how many cows were in a field at a glance. Those old cowboy stories are like gold to me.  There are so few of his kind left to share these stories with us.

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Uncle Paul and his sister Aunt Meta at the 100 years in Canada celebration in 2011

Great-Uncle Paul was the last of my maternal grandfather´s brothers. We still have one of his sisters, Great Aunt Meta, at 92. It saddens me to see this generation disappearing but I am also happy to have had these remarkable people in my life. I am sure Uncle Paul is sharing stories with his brothers at this very moment. Rest in peace dear Uncle Paul.

At the beginning of this month we were blessed with a visit from home! My Aunt (mom’s sister) and her husband from Taber, Alberta and my cousin from Parksville, BC had been visiting my uncle’s relatives in Holland and took a side trip to Spain just to see us. We packed in as much as we could in four days. Since this was the first time for all of them to visit Spain, we tried to give them a good taste of our Spanish life. We ate churros, tapas, Spanish chocolate and paella, took a bus to an historic Roman/Carthaginian city, a boat trip around the bay of Cartagena, drove into the country, walked along the Mediterranean, enjoyed a family barbecue and attended a May Fiesta. My cousin couldn’t stop taking pictures.

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Happy to be with  family and show them around my corner of Spain

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Dinner at The Nautilus overlooking the Mediterranean. Every one enjoyed their meal and first view of the Med.

We had an enjoyable visit to the two thousand year old city of Cartagena. Evidence of its rich Carthaginian and Roman history is everywhere. Still considered an important naval base and shipyard, it is now also a stop for large cruise ships.We took a boat trip around the harbour to view the old walls of the fortress. The city has amazing architecture and a lovely pedestrian shopping area with many bronze sculptures waiting to be photographed. The bit of rain didn’t dampen our spirits as we explored this interesting place only forty minutes from were we live.

My cousin meeting a friendly sailor

My cousin meeting a friendly sailor

Aunt and Uncle making a freind

Aunt and Uncle making a friend

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Croissants filed with strawberries, bananas and chocolate. Yummy!

We stopped for lunch at a Valor Coffee Shop. Valor makes the best chocolate in Spain. You may recall my visit to the Valor Chocolate Factory last fall. Here is the post if you wish to know more. Our meal was delicious and included chocolate, of course! We finished with churros dipped in what else – chocolate, a Spanish tradition which they loved.

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My outgoing cousin soon made friends with Romans wandering the streets.

 

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We also found some Roman ruins including an amphitheatre. An excellent day filled with history, architecture, the sea and chocolate!! My aunt purchased a spoon for her collection and my uncle a hat with Spain on it. Everyone returned happy.

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Another day we took a drive into the country, through traditional Spanish villages, past lemon and orange groves and the occasional flock of sheep. A trip to Spain would not be complete without trying the tradition of tapas, so that’s what we had for lunch.  The quests enjoyed the wide selection of small tasty treats. Something for everyone. That evening we had a barbecue at our place with my in-laws. A nice family gathering which included my home made paella and my mother-in-law’s trifle.

Aunt Peggy at the tapas bar.

Aunt Peggy at the tapas bar.

Their visit coincided with the Torrevieja May Fiesta, called Feria de Sevillanas. We were able to take them to enjoy this very popular fiesta featuring the traditions of Andalucia. My Canadian visitors were delighted to see women of all ages dressed in colourful, flamenco dresses and white mantillas. We strolled through the marquees and fun fair, watched paella being made and enjoyed the parade of dancers, Andalusian horses, riders and horse drawn carriages. My cousin sampled her first sangria with lunch on the esplanade.

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All ages get in the spirit of the fiesta

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My Aunt will return with a report to mom that all is well with me and my new life. She kept saying, “This is so wonderful, I’m so glad we came.” I am so glad they came as well!!

Breakfast at my home in Spain. Love my family!

Breakfast at my home in Spain. Love my family!

Here is my picture for Day 2 of the 5 day challenge. The Five Day Challenge is: Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge. 70800009

Six Generations

This special picture represents six generations of my family. The baby on this picture turned 8 yesterday. Back row, left to right: my son, me, my mom; front row, my granddaughter with my great granddaughter on her lap and my great aunt Barbara (my maternal grandmother´s sister). We lost Great Aunt Barbara a year ago at age 95, but we still have two of my maternal grandfather´s siblings. We are incredibly blessed to have 6 generations in our family to share customs and stories. It is a wonderful feeling of family connectedness. My mom, for instance, has a close relationship with her great, great granddaughters. Life is good!

Now I would like to nominate Lorna at Lorna´s Tearoom Delights for the 5 day challenge. You must visit her blogsite where she travels around picturesque rural Scotland looking for the perfect scone and shares mouth watering pictures with her readers. Beware, you may get hungry or wish to book a trip to Scotland!

 

Mother´s day is a special day in many parts of the world although is not celebrated on the same day. Today it is Mother´s Day in Canada and the US and it was Mother´s Day in Spain last Sunday. In the UK, Mothering Sunday, sometimes known as Mother’s Day, is held on the fourth Sunday of Lent,  exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday. This year it was on March 15. Mother´s day in France is usually the last Sunday in May.

Mother´s Day has always been a special day for me as I was blessed with the gift of a wonderful mother. I am grateful for her everyday and especially on this day.

mom and baby me

Mom and baby me

She taught me so much. Not just how to cook tasty economical meals, sew my own clothes and keep a clean house, but how to be kind to everyone and to value friends and family. She worked hard on the farm when we were growing up; milking the cows, feeding the chickens, collecting eggs, growing a large garden, canning  fruits and vegetables for the winter, cooking for large harvesting crews and branding parties, and so much more.  She was an amazing cook and won prizes for her baking. Her German fruit kuchen was the best! There was always extra food for welcomed drop in guests.  She never left the house without looking well put together when she went to town for church, meetings or shopping. Because she is such a perfect role modal, I think I turned out to be a pretty decent mom myself. At least my kids tell me I am.

She always made us feel loved and still does. Her love wasn´t limited to her own children but to her many nieces and nephews as well. Our house was often full of visiting relatives. She never forgot a birthday and sent hand written notes to those she didn´t see often. Now her love is extended to her grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. That love is returned tenfold.

Mom and a great great granddaughter

Mom and a great great granddaughter

I found a note she sent to me at age seven, when she had my second brother.  You can feel the love.

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In 2009, I took my daughter and mother to meet my aunt in Sedona, Arizona for a holiday. We made dream catchers. Look how proud she is of hers.

Mom in Sedona with her sister, granddaughter and me

Mom in Sedona with her sister, granddaughter and me

Mom with me and my brothers November 2013, her 85th Birthday pary

Mom with her kids, November 2013, her 85th Birthday party

Mom accepts life as it comes and although life hasn´t been easy the last couple of years, she still has that same sweet smile at age 86. During my most recent visit we looked at old pictures and had some great laughs as we reminisced. The staff in the nursing home tell me she is a pleasure to have around and I believe it. She is truly a gift I treasure.

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With Mom, April 2015

 

Happy Mother´s Day to everyone who is a mother, step mother, special aunt or good friend to a younger person. It is an important job!

I’ve been away from blogging for a bit as I took a quick trip back to Canada to visit friends and family in two provinces. I managed to see as many people as I could in a short time. There were many lunches, dinners and coffees/teas with good friends, including a fabulous Easter lunch at my former place of employment. I spent Easter weekend with family in Alberta and was treated to snow Easter morning, which I wasn’t prepared for. But watching my great granddaughter hunt for Easter eggs made up for the bad weather.

Here are a few pictures of my visit.

Spending time with Mom was precious

Spending time with Mom was precious

Easter bunny time

Easter bunny time with a cutie

Mom with a great great granddaughter

Mom with a great great granddaughter

Lunch with my son and rapidly growing up grandson

Lunch with my son and rapidly growing up grandson

Any day spent with my daughter is a special day

Any day spent with my daughter is a special day

 

The west coast was so beautiful with all the spring flowers and blossoms

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Quite a contrast to my three days in Alberta.

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Never mind, it was a good trip and I was so happy I went. I enjoy my new life but miss the special people from Canada.

I’m now over my jet lag and happy to be back in Spain with my hubby as we start moving into our own home. More about that later.


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