Thursday, July 30, 2009

Random Summertime Photography: 15

Anchors Away!

Aye Matey, one must throw out the anchor if one wishes to swim for a bit without losing his boat. And swim they did, jumping off the boat at the 'boating playground'.

....more to come of our boating excursion, long overdue, but to come.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

BBQ - "Can-Do"!

So happy to have his BBQ up and running

When one suffers from a physical disability, specifically a degenerative lung disease which very often inhibits the enjoyment of some of life's most simple pleasures, turning the negatives of "I can't do that" into a positive of "I've found another way to do that", has proved to be the only way to overcome emotional and emergent respiratory onsets which can prove utmost difficult or even pose a serious risk of danger to breathing in general.

If there's one thing my husband was forced to recon with and now has begun to learn all anew, that would be remembering to use his conserving energy tips each day. While focusing on his in-hospital seven week admission during his rigorous respiratory physiotherapy bootcamp earlier this year, the topic was frequented but the idea of remembering (!) to turn all of the "can't do's" into "can do's" has been really tough.
We are on a "Can Do" tangent in our home, rather my hubby is trying to keep focused on grasping the absolute importance it with every move he makes to reap positive residuals. (We help him too because we nag him all of the time, laugh. Actually, we use tough love because he never gets away with anything around here now that we've also grown accustomed to what he's supposed to do, often attempting to enlighten him with even more positive "Can Do" list ideas.)

At first the idea of even dreaming up such a positive list on purpose seemed daunting and completely overwhelming because the negative side was initially much longer than the positive side. Over time though things began to come more natural for mentally checking off and beginning to omit the difficult things, even eliminating some altogether for future self inflicted pressures.

Seeking assistance from others for a task one can easily do instead - by nature for any man becomes a bit of a pride issue, a "man-thing" to be sure, because the preference is to DO IT if he can, but with the passing of each week, my hubby began to realize it was just absolutely necessary to maintain optimal energy and even keeled breathing abilities by enlisting others into his work. Now he asks for help. Well sometimes. Actively pursuing change for "what one normally would to do by nature", as opposed to what "one should be doing instead to conserve important energies" is not easy, so often baby steps continue to be in progress instead of those leaps and bounds we would instead prefer to behold. For the person affected in this type of situation, it becomes intensely frustrating!

During all of the my hubby's assigned "conserving energy" classes each day with his occupational therapists while he was in hospital for those seven weeks, instructions and practical scenarios were offered in a mock apartment setting inside of the hospital building for use of being taught and then practicing many assorted daily tasks using all new tips and ideas for eliminating panic breathing and shortness of breath.

Just a few of the very helpful notes for
conserving energy during everyday tasks

As a bonus to his long period of time spent as an in-hospital patient, his love of cooking began to spin into a whole new realm with his attention during rest periods given to watching the FOOD channel. I've posted many photos on this blog with the "In my kitchen" activities of the weekend cooking specialties he offered the to the family and to our overnight guests.

He's hooked on cooking and it has become a "Can Do" for the positive side of the list. It's a great "Can Do" on our list because it can span many ways to other interests including gardening, growing fresh herbs, pantry selections, restaurant appreciation and other FOOD Network food programs to learn from. He is currently really enjoying our own Mission -B.C.'s "100 square mile challenge" (CLICK HERE). We know two of the participants who are attempting to change their lifestyles dramatically and endure the challenge time frame.

During summertime, he can hardly wait to use his mucho macho barbecue again with the manly oversized cooking tools he flings around while sizzling up good meals. They really are supersized tools too folks, perfect for a man who wishes to scoop up four burger patties at a time as opposed to one. All joking aside, his barbecue now all hooked up, outdoor feasting has begun again. That is if the weather permits and he uses his "conserving energy" tips for taking breaks by getting off of his feet while cooking.

During my hubby's hospital stay, an entire manual was handed out and used as necessary during every class he attended. The handouts inside of it have provided brand new life changing hope and positive reinforcement for handling many situations my hubby comes up against in his daily living activities. It's been a godsend to be sure to retain this manual in a handy location for use as reference material review when necessary, or just plain ole reminders are pointed out from other's reading it to say things like; "Here's a stool dear, sit a spell while that cooks."
Principle reminders of why conserving energy is necessary
The food photos within this post were snapped after I became spellbound and began drooling over his new creation before me, all wrapped in foil at the end of the big production and cooked to perfection.

For this BBQ cooking food packet - my hubby used;

  • few red potatoes
  • zucchini
  • mushrooms
  • sage leaves
  • buttermilk mixed into the wee bit of sour cream left in its container
  • minced garlic
  • salt/pepper to taste.
Each item was layered one by one to build the most sensational BBQ packet I think he's ever created before. I am the one who usually does the veggie packets and additions around here but after this presentation I will nominate him to make this yummy delight again and again. Yum, it was great!

During our visit with our oldest son and his wife over this past week, they were able to enjoy the culinary cooking he provided on a few of their days here. Not only was this one of them served during this visit, but the Sunday morning brunch meal consisted of a "Southwestern Mexican egg dish with a dollop of salsa, wrapped inside of toasted soft tortilla shell" in honor of our daughter in law who was born and raised in San Diego, California. It was a real cute idea and she was pleased with his spicy nutritional efforts.

My Chef at home offers his family a tremendous "CAN DO" attitude!
  • **LOVE my man!**
  • **LOVE a great attitude!**
  • Love it!
  • Love every itty bitty thing about it!
  • Love him to bits!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Memories of a Summer Visit

They say a picture tells a thousand words. What no one tells you really is that this is the simplicity of photo perusing; no words are ever necessary, rather only hearts become all a-flutter with memories pulled forth from the wonderful moments captured, now tucked away in time capsule tucked away in the deep recesses of our hearts.

Memories. These are things that last!

How the memories linger on...

The instant Polaroid photo at the top was taken following a stupendous dinner celebration together by a waitress, with double birthday fanfare for both my hubby and son (whose own day is coming up). What a surprise to find the restaurant catered to such an occasion by delivering birthday cake slices with a candles burning on top to both men.

Surprise guys! Two birthday celebrations!

Hamming it usual....LOL

When the waitress called attention to all surrounding patrons, a fun and very (loud) festive atmosphere provided for the typical comedy these two can deliver for all in their sudden claim to fame audience (who are obviously "in the moment" with us) before them, when they were asked to stand up and everyone was encouraged to sing along for them. As the tambourine clanked, what a big bunch of giggles arose.

This was the real birthday celebration evening for my hubby.
Can you see why I take the photos around here?

Of course we're a crazy family. We prove it all of the time, so sometimes no words are necessary. When siblings gather, things can be busy but in general time together flows quite well.

Hail, hail the gang's here!

Just ask the rest of the bunch who were enthralled with our company. Of course the boys HAD to go golfing, and that they did! What are the chances of getting three sons together like this, gotta do it! Problem? No photos of all three at the golf course. One son took this below, so thankfully we got one anyway.

Of course the girls HAD to show off their horse love, and took our daughter in law on a trail ride high in a saddle. Problem? No one took photos there either. Darn! She was here however when the older two offered their services to stock up the barn for hay season before the next summer storm was due to arrive that same night. (*I* got photos - so they are to come, laugh)

Many hours were spent doing those things families do; resting, playing games, making puzzles, watching movies, listening to music, making meals, doing dishes, having naps; all those things people do when especially when they are on vacation like our son and his wife were. :-)

Just me and my sister in love

Just me and my big bro!
A little Father and Son time

Whoosh! How swiftly 30 years has gone by!

Happy Birthday again in advance.
Enjoy blowing out your candles one more time. Either way, it's still a new decade ahead for you.

We Love both of YOU! Miss you already....

Horse Camp Week

So excited and all ready to ride!

Horse camp is a summer camp the horse loving all of the local girls dearly look forward to all year long. It's a time to get to the barn daily, every day for five days in a row. All of the camper participants are thrust deeply and completely into their horse environment to the point of being gloriously delightful and most delicious for them all.

The day begins with a horse roundup. The girls had to enter the field through the big gates where their selected horse of the day was corralled, and then bring it up to the barn area for grooming. Once fully groomed and their horse passed a bit of an inspection, it was time to gather the tack appropriate for their horse of the day, and prepare for the first group lesson.

Eleven campers were attending with our daughter, ranging in age from 5-12 years. The instructor broke up the lessons into two groups according to age and riding ability. Our daughter was assigned to the older group and learned so much at this camp this year. I was amazed at the difference between this camp and one other she attended two years ago. She sure has come a long way in her horse riding but more than anything her confidence level has been boosted to heights previously unknown.

While the younger group were in their lesson, the older girls were in charge of cleaning stalls and/or learned horse theory. They learned about the horse body parts, and all general knowledge for horse care, nutrition, breed differences, maintenance and so forth.

  • Two point
  • Walk
  • Trot
  • Canter;
...just a few of the terms used during her two horse riding lessons each day

And just when she thought she had a hold of all the terms, the instructor threw this one in - Le'ts practice a .... Walk trot canter two point

One arm out to practice balance riding

Two Point Riding

Align Center
short video of the lesson
Our older daughter offered assistance to the campers every hour of every day in session when she wasn't working at her other summer job. She was assigned to some of the younger riders along with three friends who in turn all took their duties seriously.

Big sister was on hand working most of the week

A bag lunch was the meal of the day and plenty of liquids to keep hydrated. There were two resident barn dogs who loved this time of day and usually a girl or two began the fast paced chase when one of them stole something from their lunch bags.

After lunch the girls assigned horses required tacking up again (they were untacked after the morning lessons), groomed beforehand and off they went for a trail ride amongst the 100 acres of trail riding systems.

Catching a photo at the end of one of the groups' trail rides

If time permitted the two groups took turns to lunge without reins, ride bareback, and become familiar with their balance while atop of the horse. They learned how to turn around in the saddle, how to dismount in case of an emergency, footing releases, and several other techniques worth knowing and remembering.

Favorite things during the horse camp for our daughter were learning to canter, trotting over the poles while crouching down into a two point position, but the very favorite was the special grooming the girls took part in for a small show on the last day.

Horse Hairdressing

They braided their horse's manes and tails and the horse's hair gleaned brightly from all the brushing. Likened to playing hairdresser imaginary play, the horse's weren't imagenary at all. The girls were thrilled with the results of their very hard work! :-)

Just ask my girls - ANY TIME is riding time

Monday, July 27, 2009

Random Summertime Photography: 14

Enhancing Floral Color

(but just a bit)

As mentioned in a previous post, I've really enjoyed playing with my "Picasa 3" free download program from Google. For those who have inquired, I did have a live link on that same page with the program name highlighted to note it, however if you missed it, you can find it.... RIGHT HERE FOLKS (click this link).

Click away and get your free FUN photography software today. I'm loving mine.

Here are two orchids from the same floral vase. The natural color hues within the flowers were only enhanced just a bit as they were already very colorful to begin with. What the added touch I gave it did was provide a bit more detail on the petal patterns and the interior of the flower centers.

I have selected the first one as my desktop background, with giddy pleasure and plan to alternate them both into the rest of my favorite photos for a personalized screen savor. Guess what program I can do that with?

For the love of flowers, get this program and play with your floral photos to your delight.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's her "NAME DAY" today!

Celebrating "Name Days" within the Liturgical Calendar year is such a wonderful reason to feast. Today we celebrated!

Take a good look at a very favorite painting of mine above and observe the mother and daughter wrapped so obviously in love for each other. Our young daughter shares not one, but both names of the woman shown there for double feasting abilities round the year. Indeed she has double reason to feel joyous and giggly today.

It's her name day, her special Patron Saint's Feast too on top of it all, and it just happened to fall on a Sunday (even better) to make celebrating with the whole family even more fun. Nothing lavish or extreme occurred in our feasting, perhaps something so darned right simple might be a better way to describe it, but it was sweet for her nonetheless.

I know she felt blessed for sure today and loved being part of such a special saintly celebration.

On the other hand, when speaking on behalf of my own mother's heart, I have to admit I always seem to feel a sweet pang myself and a smile cracks every time when remembering the announcement - that of her very presence growing within my womb in fact only ten short years ago.

She was a child who was conceived during a very tumultuous and deeply difficult time in our lives, but as only God could have ordained it, she became an endearing and beautiful golden gift surely only a heavenly blessing could ever have provided at that exact and most particular time.

Instead of a select few I counted on offering a tender word or gentle hug when I could've used it the most, how tortured and taunted does one have to become in order for others to feel a triumphant sense of personal satisfaction for having aired their "opinions", especially most typically when uninvited during such a fragile time. However, that said, there were others who were drastically opposite in word and deed, and two gracious people who always saw through it all went way beyond their calling, wrapping us up in their loving hedge of protection. They just knew what to do. They just did. Thank you.... you know who you are!

Like these two folks, some of the most powerful heavenly friends are always there too; they never judge or dump salt in the wombs, they're super easy to call on and take refuge with while having to lean on them for a time when the going gets tough, and this daughter is definitely named after one of my very, very favorites.

Like a sunbeam of light in a terrifying dark valley, our baby daughter came wrapped up and presented to us in a big pink bow, bringing hope to our family and the immense joy of her arrival seemed to lift the storm from our hearts and still does today. She's the baby of the family. For some reason no more have come, so she is the one everyone keeps on loving and protecting as older siblings seem to do forever.

Blessed? Oh yes, we are incredibly blessed!

She was comfort to this woman when she was just a wee nursing babe and our storm turned nasty. The result was her having to accompany me daily to a hospital over an hour away after my husband was (finally) diagnosed with a degenerative lung disease and suddenly - life hung precariously in the balance after the ambulance took him from one hospital to the other. Holding my babe close and having her near kept me "together" in a way I can hardly imagine being able to have accomplished doing at that time. Her sweet smile always made us feel better even when our hearts were breaking and the suffering was almost unbearable at times. Oh she made us smile...yes she did.

It's no surprise then that God knew all along what this babe would do for our family. Isn't he just the best at figuring it all out way before we ever can?

Thank you St. Anne

Random Summertime Photography: 13

Hooked Up!

What is summer without a barbecue? What's a summer without Dad's home cooked burgers?

It's finally cookout time around here folks with my hubby loving his big black toy up at long last to assist in producing easy meals in a jiffy.

Two things happened around here to make his grin in the photo below this big;
  • We have a back deck now where the outdoor living space is all set for our family to carry on bonding times outside.
  • And, the gas company finally arrived to hook up my hubby's gas BBQ that sat in our garage until now.
The tough part about waiting for the hook up was having to pay the builder the additional fee before we took possession of the house in December/08, and then missing the gas company two times previous to their arrival because they decided to pop in and take their chances on someone being home. At the end of the day, the installer never had to have entry access to the house to turn off the gas, they just did it manually, LIVE instead. gulp.
We are now HOOKED UP! YES!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Random Summertime Photography: 12

Yee Haw!

What better hat to wear for the love of horse riding!

My mother sent out this hat for our older daughter. When the youngest nabbed it first, she staked her claim and declared if it fit her this well, certainly it wouldn't fit her older sister's head. What a perfect piece of head gear for this horse loving gal, our little cowgirl at that.

P.S. Sending along many thanks to her "Mama" for the hat.

Fun with Nature, #17

Nature study is such a natural activity when we become absorbed and drawn into our personal surroundings by simple observations from day to day. No matter what you think, we all do it. A few suggestions we can become absorbed in easily are;
  • the simple changes of the season
  • changes in the weather patterns
  • aromatic fragrances wafting in the air from new buds and floral beauties
  • the lapping of waves along a seashore while discovering washed up treasures
  • what lay in our gardens or along walking trails
  • changes in the geographical landscapes
  • bountiful harvests in colorful droves of beauty
  • observations made within our own neighborhood
  • mammals on the land, nests in springtime and birds in the air
  • exploding nutritional fare in gardens
  • accumulations of wonder our filling our eyes, minds and hearts
Unless you are visually impaired, without any uncertainty, our world is a painter's canvas, eye candy, simply awaiting us to notice the beauty held within.

I can't say enough about the book in the photo selection for my "Fun with Nature" topic series. Named with the same title, it has become a valued addition to much of our nature observing and a beautiful book in general. There are a few subjects not included inside, so our nature book basket includes a few others to glean information, photos and ideas for further study.

I found a new book while glancing quickly down the book aisle at Costco. It's another treasure from the people at "Lone Pine" books by Krista Kagume. It's a definite "keeper" and so far, a real handy reference guide, a real gem for our new provincial nature finds near to us.

The contents include; mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles,trees, shrubs, and herbs, grasses and ferns. No more sifting through natural reference guide books any longer to find something in my own specific area, nope, it's all here in one spot, so handy and easy to use. And besides, it was really difficult to resist the 7.00 savings off the regular price in addition to the 224 colorful pages held within. Perhaps the "Lone Pine Publishers" have a book in print for your own Province or State. I'm sure it's worth a try to find out. Here's the link to their website.

American Robins

American Robins are our familiar friend. They are found here on this Eastern part of Canada after we came to know and appreciate them well from having lived on the Westcoast most of our lives.

I love the friendly orange breasted robins found tugging away at worms in our garden and for being prolific bug eaters. I love to fling open the doors early in the morning and listen out for their lilting musical whistles.

One drawback for enjoying them here in our new home was finding many nests located inside of our eavestroughs, which in turn began to clog up the drainage of rain along their runways.

We noticed immediately before purchasing our home the amount resting in eavestrough corners near to our front and back door areas and one of the first things our son was assigned was to climb up the ladder resting in three feet of snow to yank them out so the ice drooping from the area could melt sooner so no damage would result from the expansion of the nest against the eaves.

The birds like to return to their familiar nesting grounds, much to the dismay of my husband who isn't at all happy about today's robin report because he knew where they came from once the mystery was solved.

Our daughter noticed a wee bird on our brand new deck, laying there motionless, perhaps dead. The curious gathered and together we witnessed it move a wee bit, dropping its goodness onto our NEW deck. The nerve...LOL

Our little fledgling mustered enough energy to wiggle to and fro until it flapped off the deck, through the opening at the back of the top step, and onto the ground below. It appeared he had a broken wing when dropping so suddenly, but then it jumped like Tigger until it sat hidden in the nearest window well.

So sweet, had fallen from our roof onto our new deck

With the longer grass nearby, there it stood squawking its little head off with no mother Robin bird in sight. It was so cute! We all felt badly for it and wondered if/how we could help out, or if we should even make the attempt to interfere in the patterns of nature.

Our youngest daughter had the idea she could set out some bird seed in a plastic lid with a bit of water close by. Of course the wee birdie preferred a juicy regurgitated worm, a conditional meal we all preferred not to offer it ourselves.

Stuck in the window well, the afternoon wore on and the sun blazed its heat on the feathery baby. Our daughter in law used a frisbee to assist it to the area under the deck where it was cool and shady. And then we left the rest up to nature and how it would take its own course within a short period of time.
Later on we noted mama and sibling on the roof

Shortly after though our younger daughter alerted me to our roof where mother robin and another fledgling squawked near to it. It occurred to us the likelihood this wee thing fell from our roof and that's how it ended up on our deck near the door to the house. Wow, what a drop! It had to be hurt. And then with the swiftness of being spotted as good prey for another on the food chain, this hawk in the photo below began to fly in circles while dropping in height toward our property. He never arrived while we were nearby and it was time for us to depart for the rest of the afternoon.


When we arrived home again and drove up the driveway, everyone wanted to know if our baby bird was still hovering under the deck but it wasn't found. Assumptions began as to what could have happened to it. Where did it go? Where can it be? It wasn't later on when my hubby took out his newly installed BBQ (only seven months waiting for the gas T to happen!), when he discovered a rather large feather deposit under the covering. Dinner for one hawk was now the certain ending for this cute thing.

It was such a sad ending to our little excitement of the day, but such is nature's way. Just in case it ever happens again, I'm prepared with information from many sources, one being eNaturalist's website. Under no circumstances should a human interfere in a fledgling's separation from its mother. Apparently the mother will eventually find its young. It may appear no one is tending to the young birdie but the mother will upon occasion swoop down to feed it her naturally regurgitated nutritional fare saved specially for him. This is great news for the children because they no longer have to worry about "worm hunting" now.