Monday, 28 December 2015

A Precious Gift From the Heart

Wow! What an awesome surprise when I opened this parcel that came in the mail. Isn't that a beauty! A real piece of art. hand drawn by Josee on a strip of birch bark we gathered on our walk together at Le Parc Du Bois-De-Coulonge in Quebec city. There couldn't be a better image then a log cabin in the wilderness to capture Andree and I's spirit that's for sure. We are nature lovers her and I and we like to keep things simple.

I had to go to London Drugs yesterday just before I left Edmonton and in order to get from my vehicle to the drug store I had to pass by a huge Indigo Book store and wouldn't you know it, their magnetic doors grabbed onto all the metal on my new winter jacket and sucked me right in. So while I was there I took advantage of their 30% off hardcover book sale. Well, Ok, the top one is not a hard cover but it was on my wish list and it kind of fell off the shelf and landed by my foot. Well, almost anyway. I didn't tug at it much. Really.

It's a winter wonderland out there!
I've got this constant debate going on in my head and pulling at my heart strings.

"Go out and walk. Stay in and write. Go out and get some fresh air. Stay in and read those new books. Go out and enjoy the sunshine and beauty. Stay in and dive into your writing project."

Now wait a minute. There's no reason why I can't do both. After all, I don't have to work until Wednesday morning. Yes! Out I go!

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Letting My Thoughts Wander

I forget what Brenda called this sculpture. It's one of the many she used to make a long time ago.

Some friends and relatives have one in their home and a few have gone to unknown places. I wonder if she'll ever get back into her artistic creations when her life eventually slows to a more livable pace.

There's not much time now that her and her hubby own and operate their own business. It takes a lot of time, persistence, patience and hard work to own one's own business - as I well know.

One day maybe.....

We could produce a book as a family project one day. Brenda could do the art work, I could do the writing, Jody could do the proof reading, and  Karen could do the marketing. That would be cool.

I'm back home tonight. I'ts always good to go out and connect with everyone but it's also good to come home. Feels good to be sitting in my favorite chair and I'm sure I'll appreciate my own bed when I make my way there a little later tonight.

I'm very grateful for being able to travel to visit my daughters. It's an 8 hour drive but I don't find it long. I really enjoy being on the road looking at the different scenery, sometimes listening to the radio, sometimes just enjoying the silence, letting my thoughts wander as I'm doing now.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

More Christmas Travels

Clover decided to sneak in a last snuggle with me before I left High River this morning.

It was a tad bit chilly when I headed out to Edmonton to visit my other two grand children. And, no, my gas tank isn't empty. The gauge doesn't work and I can't bring myself to spend well over $500 to get it fixed.

Thank goodness the sun was shinning and it didn't take long for the temperature to climb. It was only -15 by the time I got to Edmonton.

Tonight I had an awesome visit with Cole and Sadie. I didn't pull out my camera early enough but I did manage to snap a few pictures anyway.


Of course I couldn't resist stopping to snap a picture of the beautiful Rocky Mountains silhouetting the sky in the distance. I kept stealing glances in their direction all the way from High River to Calgary. Made me want to crank the wheel and head West instead of heading North. Aren't they a gorgeous sight!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

It Was The Night Before Christmas...

And the anticipation was building..... there's nothing like children to bring the spirit of Christmas to life.
Finnley's dog Clover guarding the presents under the tree
Finnley looking all smug in his Santa hat
Jesse all dolled up as Elsa from Frozen
Carys writing her letter to Santa
Letter and Treats On the Kitchen Table
Santa's Letter
It's been some special times with my daughters, their partners and my grandchildren these past couple of days. Fills my heart with so much love and joy.

There will be more fun times tomorrow morning when the little ones get up to see if Santa's come. Then on Boxing Day I get to see my two older grandchildren too.
Brenda showing Karen & Steve her new house on the computer
I love your chocolate cake Grandma!
Christmas Eve supper
Jody, Carys, Jesse
Brenda & I sharing a morning treat at the local coffee shop.
Yup, well worth the 8 hour drive out here. Now if only my stupid tennis elbow would let up and quit causing me such grief so I could get some sleep before everybody gets up and are raring to go again.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Travels - Arrivals

This little limited edition cuttie is a Christmas gift from my sister.
It was almost getting dark by the time I rolled into High River. Pepsi Bear was getting just as anxious as I was to get out of the car and go visit the grand kids.

It was a wonderful trip mind you. Sun shinning all the way. Lots of time to think, reflect, absorb, listen to music, various CBC radio programs and enjoy.

Slept at Jody's new place last night and this morning I'm waiting for Brenda to show up so her and I can go check out a few coffee shops. It's always been something we've enjoyed doing together even though I never drank coffee in my life. It's the atmosphere and the company I like. 

Lots to write about but not much time to write. I have to drink in the moment of each experience. I don't get to come often so I let it soak in as deep as it will go.

Yippe! We're almost there!  

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Bouncing Around Kind of Day

Another day another dollar? Nope. Not today but it's all good anyway.

You ever have one of those days where everything you thought would happen didn't and things you didn't think would happen did?

I had promised myself I would sleep in this morning but Pumpkin wouldn't hear of it. I was to see 4 clients today. I ended up seeing only one. I wasn't supposed to go to Peace River but I ended up having to. I was supposed to be alone tonight but I'm not. Andree came back from Edmonton early - and, it's a good thing because tomorrow I'm the one who will be on the road.

On my way back from work I brought some take out Chinese food to some friends house. It was a pleasant meal and a nice couple of hours chatting with them and tonight I had a good chat with Andree before sitting down at my computer.  

I'm heading out to High River bright and early tomorrow morning. It's an 8 hour drive to go see my girls and my grand children for Christmas. At least I don't have to cross over a mountain range to get there this year. I'm looking forward to seeing them all again.

I sure wish I could figure out a way to write while travelling. When I'm driving is when all kinds of things I want to write about come to me. I might have to start using the recording app on my phone so I can save those thoughts to write later. Sure shit I'll forget them if I don't.

A cat on our table? No way! Never!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Odds and Ends

Sunrise on our morning travels to Grande Prairie
Three quotes I read today:

"I'm thankful I had a childhood before technology took over."

Am I ever! I got to use my imagination and I learned how to entertain myself.

I actually enjoyed writing and reading, and I had fun biking, walking, pretending, acting, climbing trees, building tree houses, exploring outside, looking for treasures of nature, making paper boats and floating them down the ditches, counting stars at night, finding animal shapes in the clouds, swinging, skipping rope, target shooting, playing with my cats and dogs, helping on the farm, painting, playing ball, walking on stilts, making tunnels, snow angels and igloos in the snow.

I don't remember ever being bored or scratching my head wondering what to do next. There was always something else to move on to.

"Don't let other people hold the key to your peace of mind."

It took me a little while to fully live that one but what a worthwhile learning to come to. It's always my choice if I'm going to react or respond to what others say or do. I choose to go with what brings me peace.

"Believing is all a child does for a living." Kurtis Lamkin

Isn't that the truth and doesn't it make you want to find your childlike self again? If only we could suspend all our doubts and fears and believe like we once did. How different, not only our life but our whole world would be.

Tonight, I unplugged from technology, suspended all doubts and fears, stepped out of the box, and created.

I started by baking something in a different way than usual, then I stepped out of the box, took big sheets of paper and spent an hour or more doing some finger paintings.

I can't show you the second one. I have no idea who's reading this blog and it's a surprise!
My first paint experimentation

Friday, 18 December 2015

Oh Christmas Tree!

Never did make it out to the bush to fetch a Christmas tree this year.

But look at the one we set up outside for us to gaze at through our living room window.

Works for me!

It actually looks quite pretty with the fresh snow fall we got today.

The tree is decorated with lights and bells so when it sways in the wind it's like a wind chime that plays Jingle Bells.

I don't think I've ever not had a Christmas tree in the house. Pumpkin is going to miss out. She's not going to be able to hide under the tree as she's always done in previous years.

Tomorrow I'm going to Grande Prairie to face the shopping crowds. Groan....... I already know it's going to be like a zoo out there. That will teach me for waiting until the last weekend before Christmas to get it done. Oh well, onward Ho I go!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Mixed Blessings

If there is such a thing as reincarnation I think I want to come back as a cat so I can hang out on the top bunk all day long instead of having to head out to work every morning. Her majesty doesn't have much to complain about when it comes to having her comforts met for sure.

Come to think of it, I don't have much to complain about either. I'm grateful that I "can" head out to work every morning.

I wish I could talk about my work sometimes but it's almost impossible to do without breaching confidentiality.

Sometimes I think of how interesting it would be if I could write about the stories I hear and the people I meet in the course of a day, a week or a month's time. I would never do it of course but I certainly would have a lot to write about.

My day can vary from seeing a 7 year old to a 70 year old male or female.

In the course of a few hours I can witness a whole gamut of emotions and situations from anxiety to fear, from sadness to depression, from soft tears to sobbing, from frustration to fits of anger, from barely audible voices to boisterous aggressive voices.

In those same few hours I can be witness to compassion, despair, confusion, humor, love, patience, caring, hope, doubt and trust.

Sometimes people ask, "How do you do it? How do you listen to problems all day and deal with all those emotions?" And every time the question comes up it surprises me but it makes me stop and ponder for a bit. Then, once more I know.

It's because I do what I love and I love what I do. Sounds cliche but it's true.

Do I wish I could join Pumpkin up on the top bunk and lounge around all morning? Yes,

Do I get tired sometimes and wish I could do other things like write all day long?  Absolutely.

But in the end I get dressed and I walk out the door because I believe everybody has a story and every story deserves to be heard.

And I am honored and grateful to have the opportunity to listen, to guide, to love and to offer hope.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Another Delightful Day In Quebec City

I got up, jumped in the shower, went upstairs for breakfast, then got dressed and ventured out for a morning walk. I had full intention of exploring a trail I spotted the day before. So off I went.
The sun absolutely refused to come out and greet me but it was a beautiful walk just the same.
 A hard pack trail in the bush and along the river's edge.
It's not a thick bush but I'm sure it feels much more so in summer when there's lots of leaves.
 This little bridge allowed me to cross over the river and the trails continued to meander along the other side of the river.
 Not a stitch of snow anywhere. It's still pretty cool out there but I was nice and warm with my winter gear and I thoroughly enjoyed my 6 km walk.

Afternoon saw us take a ride to Montmorency Falls. It's a large fall on the Montmorency River only about 12 km from the heart of old Quebec city. Apparently the fall is supposed to be 30m higher than Niagara Falls.
It's hard to do justice to falls with a still snapshot

This is a smaller fall a little ways from the bigger one.
The Ile d'Orleans Bridge - a suspension bridge across the St. Laurence River

Then we headed back to Old Quebec so Edith and Emilia would have the opportunity to do a little reminiscing and sight seeing by car.

The Parliament Building
Champlain Monument

The famous Funiculaire - a wicked elevator ride down to 
There's the ride - as viewed through the glass elevator doors.
Horse drawn carriage in front of Chateau Frontenac
I stepped into the doors of the Chateau today. I didn't explore very far because the rest of the crew were waiting for me in the car but this is what I discovered where I walked in.
A whole line up of beautifully decorated Christmas Trees

And these two little fellows on snow shoes and skis

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Le Vieux Quebec

Comme ces't beaux! I fell in love!

Josee and I walked around for a couple of hours - maybe more. I loved every minute of it and couldn't get enough of it. I could have explored all day long.

Simons - a well known and loved store in Quebec.
But, there's so much to see and take in that even had we stayed all day, we still wouldn't have seen it all.

The temperature was hovering around the zero mark but the wind was blowing and it was very cold on the Terasse Dufferin (boardwalk) and down by the water front.
There's a barge out there on the St. Laurence Seaway
There was several times at the airports and the two flights here that I wanted to ditch my cumbersome winter gear. Today I was glad to have it and that I actually decided to wear my heavier coat plus my mitts and tuque, instead of my smaller, lighter jacket when we left the house this morning.

Chateau Frontenac - What a place!
A Church - Basilique Quebec 
You can't capture the magnitude of this structure in a single picture
Cartier Petit Champlain (one of several market streets with all kinds of beautiful little shops).

Beautiful paintings on some of the buildings.

Following our site seeing adventure, Josee and I went for a famous Quebecois Ashton "poutine." What a treat!
Note the cobblestone streets and the architecture!
After supper, another deliciously prepared meal by our hosts Emilia and Josse, we had a wonderful life giving, living room discussion evening.

Subjects: life, love, loss, laughter, writing, good old times, and whatever else happened to come to our mind. We went with the flow and embraced the sharing.
It was a beautiful day all around and I am super grateful for every minute of it.