Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Piano Recital

Not long after arriving, upon a referal from the former owners, we found our new piano teacher locally. In fact, she lives two blocks or so away, perfect for a morning bike ride with the students tootling along to her home for their lessons.

There were the most amazing thunder and lightning showers the night of the piano recital. At the local auditorium, hail the size of marbles fell on the rooftop and the power went out briefly causing the backup lighting to suddenly shine on the piano player performing onstage, startling him for just a wee second.

Apparently in the east, the storms are something to behold, and we've been told the lightning bolts we've seen so far are nothing compared to the summertime shows in the skies. Yikes!

All in all, it was a lovely evening of piano, guitar and vocal performances.

Exploring again

We've been exploring again!

The pioneer wagon sailed off to explore yet again, an amazing little town called "Petrolia". At first when I heard the name, it sounded toxic to me. Sheesh! But, it's very well known, not huge by any means and has a very intimate ambiance to the town.

Petrolia was the very first town to have a working oil rig in the entire world! This successful mission was accomplished in the late 1800's. Today, the older rigs set up on the same property still function, hauling out approximately 200 barrels each month, which isn't much by today's standards. However, with the same type of working machinery used during it's origins, this is an abundance and a huge success still by oil riggers standards.

Petrolia Oil fields
Bank of Nova Scotia -1911

The town is known by its "Victorian era" theme, with houses and buildings from the 1800's still intact and completely preserved. It gives one the feel of an older Fort Langley with the rich and regal glances of days gone by. Many of the homes had lovely turrets on the roofs, or verandas with swings on them to catch passersby along the sidewalks. Only a short distance from the business area, these homes weave in and out creating quite a stir in the imagination. I expected perhaps anytime to see someone such as Louisa May Alcott take her daily stroll up the boulevard to her publisher or some other such errand of her day. *smile*

Right in the center of the town, there is a Victorian playhouse, most popular and still flourishing today with their theatre, concerts and performances.

The Victorian Theatre

The gorgeous, old railroad station has been preserved well, and now is the home to the local library (I loved this building!)

The old railway station, now the local library

There is a lovely tea shop on the main route, one we must explore some other time.

Older homes with many verandas on several floors

And of course, all around were reminders of mini oil rigs for the townsfolk to recall their humble beginnings.

A lovely exploration once again of something historical to add to our days in the east. More to come next week though, as we venture forth onto "The Freedom Trail" in Boston, Massachusetts. So keep checking in with our blog for more soon.

Sunrise, Sunset

Here I go again tooting off my love of both sunrises and sunsets, but just take a look at ours this week!


Worn out birthday boy!

Someone else had a birthday this past weekend, seven days after his older brother. After the traditional birthday breakfast out with mom and dad alone, he donned his new goalie pads, trapper and blocker and wanted to play hockey right away. Our birthday children are exempt from chores on their special day, but unfortunately, duty called around the house for the others to complete theirs before playing.

With many sticks around to grab hold of and use to shoot on this goalie in the net, he saved shots, grabbed the balls bouncing at him and delighted in his abilities for this new position. When all was said and done, he was one tired boy!

"What a great birthday!"; he said

Driveway blues....

We got the blues baby, and we got a big job ahead, yippee, yahoo.... Oh, sing me the blues baby! *laugh*

The next huge "project" begins as we dig, scrap and lay bricks in rows on large wooden pallets (we need you Stephen and Katarina for more pallets!).

Our driveway is comprised of crushed rock (not enough) from the road to the "T" shape at the top. The former owners gathered various paving and interlocking bricks they scrounged for free from jobsites, and together with their children to proceed with a huge group effort to lay down a driveway together, up to the garage doors. It doesn't appear as though the job was done properly, as it had no foundational rock, sand or other, and a section around the garage doors differs greatly from the rest. It looks silly there. As well, the contractor informed us that he had warned them to wait until after the frost that year, for it would heave up. Plus, it wasn't layed right at all as you can see in the photos.

Each day when we drive up the bricks, it's as though we are on a carnival ride. Wheeeeeee....up and down the bumps up to the garage.

Our project? Lift the bricks, all thousand something of them, flatten and rebuild the driveway form with extra soil, have a partial concrete drive near the garage doors and much more crushed rock for the rest.

Is this necessary? I didn't think so at first. I loved the quaint, country home look it enhanced the house with, however given a wet rainy day, when we step on the bricks, it's similar to watching a clam spit up through the ocean's sand along a beach, but instead,we attemp to dodge the spitting mud shooting up from the cracks on our clothing. Poor hubby gets small mud spots over the bottoms of his pant legs and has to endure a professional work day in them afterwards. Plus, if we don't fix the poor installation and bumpy lumps now, we'll have more problems in the winter ahead.

What a job though! Four pallets are full at this moment, and in the picture below, this is the only area empty of bricks so far...

Who's doing the work at this moment? Well, I have four happy campers who have work with remunerations attached. They're doing a great job too. Now to sell the pallets filled with hundreds of those bricks!

But don't worry...I've saved some to make a winding path from the house to our small barn, up on the block next.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Terrific Trio!

Happy Birthday Dear Friend!

It began as a birthday breakfast for a friend, and then snowballed into a round robin of several friends, for a few years. Three of this core group continued the tradition for years after, now counting approximately thirteen years of blowing out candles with each other. The three amigos are; Herta, Sylvia and yours truly.

We three became the diehards!

We are the ultra fun chicks having way too much fun and proving that life really does begin after about age forty or so.

Like the current bestselling series entitled "Sisterchicks", these two and I have become just that! We've made many memories together, bonding (like glue) in a very sweet and precious way. As a result, over the years, we schemed ways to become bolder in our times together as our younger children grew older, allowing us more time to play outside of the home. We have had no difficulties encouraging giggles and fits of silliness, not fearing what one another thinks.

Three times each calendar year we brainstorm to reserve a spot on the calendar, then set aside all busyness in our lives. Once plotted in the little squares, we ultimately begin to anticipate in preparations for those next wonderful moments to behold once more. First the cherished and loving greetings, food, then catching up with often deep and uninhibited sharing, food, prayer time blessings, food, activities, food, and yes, sometimes, even chocolate. Did I mention the food?

We've blown out many candles together in intimate settings, held up one another in times of deep despair, sat in restaurants and tea shops, cooked for each other, had picnics, dined at a winery and sipped the goods in the sample rooms, walked along the dike, shared meals and desserts, sang birthday greetings, exchanged gifts, and strolled along the boardwalk and pier at White Rock, licking our Italian sorbets after a lovely dinner high on the rooftop overlooking the ocean.

We've been chastised over our sneaky boldness when laying around, and swinging wildly on a forbidden hammock, three across sideways. Woohoo! That was fun!

We watched one another's children grow up, then attended the weddings, and listened to the stories of the grandbabe arrivals.

With our very busy schedules, we've always managed to make certain to insist on time to sit, catch up, enjoy the outdoors, sneaked onto museum gazebos, always chatting long into the afternoons, or late into the evenings, before "home" was beckoning us back.

We joked about how the age of forty was coming fast and too soon. Then it came. Shortly before we heard of "the red hat society" where women were greeting middle age with verve, excitement, and all out humor~ laughs galore, feeling young, adventurous, and so very full of life still, celebrating silliness which is the comedy relief of life, by wearing a red hat, and maybe, a purple dress with it.

Funny things began to appear wherever we went, reminding us of the silly red hat, the carefree attitudes, and we began to aspire to thoughts of "joy" and even immense "bold courage" surfaced. Bold courage was for all of us, heading into unknown territories with plans of making excursions further away. One in particular necessitated bold courage, for a participant being such a great sport with our kayaking adventure, specially when she divulged she was hesitant because she couldn't swim. But, she, like us, paddled our hearts out, were bold and courageous on that one, and in the end, all lived to tell. What fun!

A definition of a sisterchick is;

Sisterchick; A friend who shares the deepest wonders of your heart, loves you like a sister and provides a reality check for you, when you're being a brat.

Wouldn't you know it, but six years after laughing over the "red hat" ideas we gathered up, we found out the red hat society had several colors of head gear, each color ranks a change of age in years. Red we were informed was actually for fifty (and they made ME wear that color for my fortieth birthday lunch! Just a little premature huh?), pink wasn't so bold because it was for forty, and purple; the mightiest color of them all is reserved for sixty and over. We were fooled!

My friend Herta is so fortunate to earn her red hat this year. She rolled into the new color palette with dignified grace and absolute high class, being the elegant and grand lady she is, the titus two mama all admire her for, truly exquisite in her character and so very dear to our hearts.

Happy Birthday my precious friend!

Missing you on this grand occasion, but knowing we will be united soon to celebrate this milestone and fabulous occasion. Sylvia, you're next! Enjoy the pink for a wee while yet my friend. *smile*

I have grown to love you both so much, and can't hardly wait until we meet again. Oh, did I tell you what our next adventure will be? Take a looksy below and guess!

Happy Birthday! Love you both!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Fields of dreams


A field of dreams right in our own yard!

Yes, isn't it amazing just how those lovely yellow flowers turn into white fluffy ones, there to create a special moment for children? Aren't they just so tempting to grab hold of their stems, then yank out of the ground, for blowing on with all your might for the purpose of sending those "wishy flowers" all over the place?

In lay man's terms, what I'm talking about, is when dandelions turn to white fluffy seeds!!!


One lone tree in one huge field!

The farmer has tilled and planted, soon this tree won't look so lonesome out there by itself.

However, each time I drive by this field, especially in the evenings, there is always a marvelous sunset just beyond it, and altogether the scene before me is just stunning in its simplicity. The tree too brings a beauty to the vast landscape around it.


Mommy, please make cards with me today.

Okay, so Mother's Day was slightly opposite to what I had anticipated as a gentle day with peace and tranquility within the home, being mom's day and all...wink, wink.

Instead, the reality was, hubby had been called out of town for work, one child had been throwing up in the night from too much junk on his birthday, one child needed to be read to, and one little girl was begging me please, (oh, pretty please), to get down right crafty and make cards with her all afternoon.

I'd been promising to do this with her the day before, but, managing a traditional birthday breakfast, doing mountains of laundry, getting housework accomplished, and getting kids to their hockey game, made for a day loaded with no extra time left over.

With puppy doggie eyes, big pouty lips and a sense of hope in her voice, I confess it was difficult to refuse her request. We headed to mom's office and decided upon two specific cards, both the same, though as you can see, each became our own little unique creations in the end.

Clutching her beloved new cards to her chest, sincere gratitude was espoused over and over again, and great big bear hugs came at bedtime claiming what a wonderful time she had with her mommy.

Indeed, THIS is what motherhood is really all about;

- Treasured and sometimes stolen moments with each other when its the last thing you feel like doing at that instant.

- Making memories to last a lifetime when least expected.

- Simple pleasures with paper and assorted accessories.

- Sweet dreams to drift off beyond neverland with.

And so much more of course, but some reflections of this card making time enjoyed with my little one.

God made me a mother to many. Yep - many of them! Though I'll be the first to admit there are times when I feel totally inadequate for such a huge job, and so very far from being the perfect mother for the task of raising these little souls, with the help of God's grace, I will continue to stumble along with the duties and responsibilities of my calling to motherhood, that these young ones continue to bless me with.

As the years whisk by, I can attest to the fact that there are always sweet and tender moments continually enriching my life, many of them unexpectantly, but moments so dear and so very precious, during these short times, in the child rearing scope of things. For such moments as these, I am truly blessed beyond measure to have children who allow me to be imperfect, allow me to be who I am, and what I am - nothing more, nothing less.

Thank you gang !

Wild raging waters

There was one spot at the look out area, one that took you away from the falls inself and over towards the rushing waters. There we were stunned and without words, taking in the ferocious force of the waters working their way to the falls. WOW!


Imagine the errosion over the years that must take place here.

Could this really be where many battles were being fought?

How many ships could have fallen over the edges into the gorge below, we wondered ?

What lives were lost for us to have our own country to battle over the land for?

My oh my, alot to digest at the water's edges...

Room with a view

The view from our hotel room on the 34th floor

With hubby's work committments taking him out of town, on impulse, the rest of us had the opportunity to travel and experience one of North America's loveliest spots, and join him after missing out on the weekend together.

During the day, tourists gather in droves here, but being off season at this present time still, and the weather not so forgiving, we all concur that seeing "Niagara Falls" in its glorious unspoiled natural form, spilling water over its brim with massive force, is just amazing, and an incredibly awesome experience to be a spectator near its edges! The loud roaring sounds of its rushing waters created a spellbound audience with everyone observing it around us, typically distracted and in awe, over the enormity of the falls. We were drenched before even arriving at the fenced viewpoint, as the mist drifted about, then encompassed our bodies with wet moist kisses. No wonder sales are brisk for plastic ponchos here!

Our mini vacation time was on the Canadian side of the border with views of both American and Canadian falls in front of us, out our bedroom windows.

By night, all restaurants with views are packed and the patrons sit to admire the lights, changing colors around the falls while eating their delicacies. We had a light meal at the "Keg" restaurant which included an intimate look at the wonder of rushing waters directly before our eyes, nine stories off the ground. Amazing, especially when it became dark, and the waterfalls were suddenly transformed and highlighted into rainbow colors when spotlights began showing them off.

A room with a view is the title of this blog and certainly fitting. Our room was skyhigh, way up on the 34th floor of the "Embassy Suites" hotel. Not only could we behold both the Canadian and American sides of the falls, but too we could see the mass of land for miles and miles from way up there.

Truly, what a great place to stay! With our two room suite, the fare was off season and not only included a nice hot buffet breakfast for each guest gratias, but also a manager's snack time in the afternoon with food, assorted beverages for children and two free alcoholic beverages for adults, should they wish them. As the juke box played on, people of all walks strolled into the atrium, to partake in the food fest for the taking.

There are few hotels which leave a great impression with me when our children have been along in tow. Admittedly all is crazy while initially settling in, but I really was hugely impressed by the family friendly environment within the complex. From the staff working there and their genuine friendliness, to the lovely display of food, pools to tempt anyone of any age, many other family friendly activities; there was much to do, in case of a rainy day. And it rained during our time there, quite a great deal!

I would highly greatly recommend the experience to anyone, but book ahead if you're traveling during peak times.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Future Goalie hopeful!

I love this photo!!!!

There is so much innocence in this child's face. and he's such a great sport!

Truly, THIS is hockey folks - "Little guys" with big dreams.

Don't they all want to be in the NHL someday?

Let's be candid shall we?

All children have dreams and desires in their hearts. They all have beginnings, and this little guy has his now at a very young and tender age. So what if the equipment isn't just right. So what if the net is too big and needs adjustments. He's making the attempt and playing his heart out. That is all that really matters now isn't it?

Look at that smile!

He's a superstar, saving the game, by saving goals from bouncing in the net.

When the sun goes down...

We discovered our home has many pot lights, so when the sun made its descent for the day, and shortly before the moonlight began to appear, I took a picture of the house with the both the potlights and carriage lights turned on.

Since its so dark here without street lights to guide our way for either walking or driving, these have come in handy on more than one occasion so far.

Another lovely sunset!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Papa's Burgers

Check out the new BBQ, the one that just "had" to be hooked up to natural gas, on the deck, never to run out of propane again, says hubby. Yet, in the hubby's defense though, this really should be cutting edge stuff, that is, never to run out of propane again.

Regardless of the deep desires of the BBQ man's heart, truly, we lucked out on this very frugal find last week. It was an assembled model featured and showcased at the store, yet the stock had been completely depleted, leaving this model placed for sale to the first lucky purchaser moments before we arrived at this store.

Well, that fortunate person was me!

I stood in front of it, guarding it just like a judge. I even removed the sale sign and hugged it closely (sneaky huh?), while hubby went off to pay for it with an employee we motioned to nearby.

Several folks came up to it meanwhile, not even clueing in, even with me sprawled all over the top to indicate I was the new owner, to inquire as to the price. Immediately my retort was "it's mine, it's sold", and sold it was! Just that quickly - to us. *laugh*

This little baby is not only a natural gas burning BBQ, but it also sports a burner on one side to cook on with regularly cookware from the kitchen. The price was regularly featured at 450.00, but we purchased it for 149.99. Fabulous deal; our deal that is! teehee

The double bonus for us was this model also featured the natural gas hookup line directly on the unit not requiring another purchase, it didn't have to be assembled, and we could simply roll it out to the van for its transport home. If only shopping could be that easy all the time!

Alas, here now tonight, it is showcased on our back deck, graced by its new covering to protect it during weather extremities.

Summer cooking will be a breeze this year, though we're told folks here cook outdoors all year long. Oh joy! Hubby can do the cooking all year long! What a good deal!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Off to the lake.

Our little bit of heaven, just a short distance away; we decided to take in a respite at the lake. With its very attractive sandy beach and blue waters beckoning us towards it, first we hurdled down a steep set of stairs before arriving at the shore.

It's still difficult to believe this is merely a lake, rather than an ocean with its gentle waves lulling the senses, and its huge expanse, some 81 miles wide at the largest east/west points. Huge barges and ships use the lake to transport between countries, sometimes daily. Sailboats, motorboats, catamarans, and all sorts of vessels have been spotted on this lovely lake, sure to please any water lover. Fishermen have fishing derbies often. We're told there are also several very interesting ship wrecks within this lake, and one particular spot is a "divers paradise", though I've now forgotten the name of course.

We woke up to another bright and cheery start to our day, with sun and warmth soon filling the house. Not like home in the west for the damp outdoors and rain much of this past fall and winter, here it's dry much of the time. The bright skies are a joy to lap up lots of natural lighting from.

Once at the lake, I could feel my whole body relax, almost melt into the sand. It was tempting to lie down and just listen contentedly to the rolling wave noises or observing the children loving their time there. There is peace at the water's edge. Today, we experienced that peace, with some memories and experiences to pass along here;

- How dare we think rubber boots would be best?

- Perfect skipping rocks were all over the shores.

- Each taking skipping rocks to see who's could skip the most.

- Each taking rocks to see who could throw the farthest.

- Turning our heads quickly when a sudden gust of air blew sand at our faces.

- Finding shells (?) on the sandy shores.

- Making "sand" angels was something attempted. Very cool actually.

- Racing together in the sand to the water's edge.

- Trying out the cool water with bare feet.

- Admiring the sights and sounds.

- Trying to remember - This was just a lake!