Sunday, June 26, 2011

24-25 / 52 weeks

52 weeks of daily life in pictures:
trials and celebrations,
the extraordinary and mundane --

whatever is unique to the week.

Join me if you like.

There were great things the past 2.5 weeks, 
therefore there are wordy words and many photos 
below which reflect our moments in the east;

1 :: Happy Father's Day, a definite highlight in our home every year, and thinking of all great fathers, like both of ours in the west. One of those great fathers whom I am thankful for is my husband who is a wonderful encourager, mentor, and daddy to his children.

Blessed is he to have all eight of his children remember and love him warmly with their loving phone calls, happy words and kind deeds for a thoughtful and reflective day. Memories are made of these. Super thankful for my man - my man of many years who inspires me daily, loves me always and keeps me grounded. Love our dads and love you honey...

2 :: Hooray for daughter passing and now awaiting her G2 Driving license, and celebrating the end of all those trips to town for driving lessons are officially over now. Yes, we live in the country and the driving school wouldn't accommodate the pick ups for lessons.

3 :: Writing classes, swimming lessons and weekly French lessons are complete. The poor French teacher is upset because of the postal strike and not being able to send out her
final test results and remarks for her students.The small and intimate writing classes were perfect, taught by a homeschool mother (former English professor) who really got her students interested in the creative process of the written word. We hope to catch more of these in the fall, sets of four offered in a biweekly schedule.

4 :: The postal strike? Well - that's nothing to celebrate, no mail and one delinquent passport is stuck in it due to using a wrong form for one of the young adults here. boohoo... We sure hope to get that lingering item soon and feel rather hopeful today as postal workers have been ordered back to their duties.

Softly the evening came. The sun from the western horizon
Like a magician extended his golden wand o'er the landscape;
Twinkling vapors arose; and sky and water and forest
Seemed all on fire at the touch, and melted and mingled together.

~ William Wadsworth Longfellow

5 :: It's that time of year once again for appreciating a soothing sunset serenade at the beach, on one very hot and humid 94F day.

With the heat creeping up, and the humidity soaring, it fast became one of the most refreshing places to be this particular evening. With a gentle breeze swaying the sandy grasses behind us, and the hush of day's end creeping forward to nightfall, we settled ourselves in front row seats to the beauty of it all. The evening was a welcomed action with the distinct beat of the musical lapping waves, of the sun slowly descending front and center, leaving all deeply relaxed and quite mesmerized by the tranquility of the soft glowing scene before us. 

Here's to celebrating all that lay in the months ahead for more possibilities of such lovely sunset serenading delights.

6 :: When whipping winds appear in a sudden ferocious roar, one just instinctively knows there could be a tornado looming not far off. And there was this day! 

A tornado brewed, hissed, and blew mightily, though it decidedly settled and landed elsewhere east of us and only frightening the masses along its path. Thankfully, the high winds and wind tunnels only whistled through and blew the back deck canopy down, snapping the metal bars in half on two sides and the sharpness of each rising upward to tear the fabric a good two feet in length.

Only one of the newly planted cedar trees blew upwards right out of the dirt ground and flew onto the driveway, (thank goodness) though the pounding 3/4 inch hail bits and the crazy flash flood accompanied by forked lightning was really something quite a theatrical sensation. Only fifteen minutes earlier we would have been out on the water in our canoes, thankful again to avoid the terrible danger of what could have been!

7 :: Along the path of the water front, early summer bids hello to an abundance of baby geese and new ducklings. Surprisingly, there was quite a large population encountered this day. 

Warnings of wild honking geese kept all passersby at bay, and very narrowly missed threats to nip at folks were not for the faint of heart. We kept our distance. They kept theirs.

8 :: During a Saturday morning walk, these two were joking around and I was able to capture their mood.There is a precious amount of gifted relaxation for those who hang around the water's edge, this day was wonderful!

9 :: I found a wonderful and most delicious smoothie recipe for morning nutritional goodness. Here it is, sharing with you;

- 1 cup almond milk
(do not sneer, it's delicious!)
- 1/2 banana
- A handful of spinach or kale
(do not sneer again (smile), for one only tastes the fruit)
- 1/2 frozen or fresh berries
( I like frozen because it gets all frozen and slushie like)
- 1 tsp. flax oil

Throw it all in a blender and sip slowly to savor the flavors. It really is most delicious! (And the almond milk is a great tasty substitute for the milk which isn't sitting well with me these days)

10 :: Graduation this Wednesday will see another walk the passageway to adulthood. Since she formally completed her high school studies last January, she almost forgot about her formal Grad night this week when first reviewing her work shifts ahead and was scheduled to work that day. She would have been late to Grad, so a change in shift is obvious.

11 :: Browsing the calendar, there are so many reasons to celebrate in the coming months. Thinking of a road trip in the same time frame for travel to the west coast. We're warming up to the idea of traveling one way through Canada with friends along the way to stop and visit with briefly, and a return through the US (North Dakota, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan etc.., taking in a few additional sights.)

It would be grand to take the ferry south for a daytrip to Mackinac Island, something I've dreamed of doing for five years now! An island having only horse and buggy, or bicycle, it would be a walk back in time to be part of that gentle lifestyle, even just for a day.

12 :: Hanging out with the dogs, that is BEFORE the black bear came to visit. Yes, the neighborhood resident mama bear is back, and the neighbors all began sharing their bear stories together while gathered around the frightened police officer's car, claiming he wasn't able to remove himself from the vehicle due to being terrified about having to be in attendance of a "bear call". Claiming to be just a city boy from Texas, and quickly it all became too much for him as we tried our darndest to scare him silly, giggling still at his behavior. Au contraire to him, his fellow (female) officer who arrived in a separate vehicle was standing in the thick of the neighbor chatting, smiling and expressing her eagerness to snap photos with her camera in hand.That whole scene was very amusing!

Turned out the joke was on all of us because while there have been so many sightings of that one black bear in the area, it really turned out there are three around here, not just one; mama and her teenagers. The neighborhood's resident barking dogs seem be keeping keep them at bay since the excitement around here last weekend when one stood guard at the end of our driveway and freaked out the neighbor across the street! With our road's assigned weekly garbage day now over, and all the subsequent messes along the street from the bear/bears all cleaned up, there doesn't appear to be much for the bears to revisit the neighborhood for, or is there?

Everyone has become quite vigilant around these parts to ensure their properties are bear-proof, and the children are keeping close to home or using whistles and walkie/talkies in groups while riding bikes.

13 :: A typical breakfast, a lighter fare which has been so welcomed; fresh fruit salad, a bit of yogurt and a sprinkle of granola - my kind of breakfast...after my morning coffee that is.
Instructor and one other student missing from photo.

14 :: If only I could share all my bruises with you, the large purple ones now turning yellow around the outer rims. They are my prize earnings from becoming certified in the ORKCA Levels 1 and 2 Flatwater canoe, a two day course my son and I participated in last week. 

Yes, it was a tough (but so wonderfully exhilarating!) course, a full 16 hours worth of learning everything about safety and the equipment involved, an abundance of theory, testing in theory and in deep water canoe demonstrations.

Both days turned out to be quite warm, though the second day was breezy enough to warrant small white caps on the water's surface. The bruises we all obtained were mostly from the canoe carrying as it banged into the sides of our legs, and from the wet water rescue we had to perform when we tipped our canoes over while still in all our clothes, and the goal was to get back inside again after two additional rescuers in a second canoe assisted us in the detailed process. The gunwales on each side weren't obviously padded, thus the yanking edges and getting myself back up again over while scraping along those rims created quite the banged up bodies. Every student showed theirs off the following day, all aghast at the damage done! :)

Oh, and a few of mine were from one actual surprising "real" water rescue on day two we had to perform, when my assigned new bow partner lost her balance suddenly while shifting her body, and slowly tipped herself out. As I could feel our boat beginning to tip over (for real!), I (thought - oh great, we weren't supposed to get wet this day!) and then I instinctively lunged upward to catch the now vertical other side of the canoe as it began to turn over, and amazingly I somehow managed to stay onboard. I really should have tipped with her, marveling still that I didn't.

These bruises (about a dozen, four of which are up to three inches wide) look pretty awful about now, and all my ladies at Curves wanted to know what on earth I did to myself at classes this week. Smiling as I type this up because I know (for sure), that I earned every one of them fair and square.

Three of the ladies in attendance were in their early sixties, all with great reasons for learning to paddle and use a canoe. Each offered stories of inspiration! For instance; one had endured double knee replacements and is now able to do all the things she always wanted to, but was in too much pain before to even try! She claimed just standing while washing her dishes made her cry, and now she's taking a canoe course at 62 years old! Incidentally, she was the partner who tipped over. I felt so badly for her, though she turned out to be such a gracious sport about it all. 

The young couple who came to the course together want to participate in future canoe trips with their children hanging out in the center of their canoe.

The other man in our group was a bear photographer and his goal was to learn to canoe so he could spend two solid weeks alone on crown land,  hoping to capture his prize bear photos of the summer while camping in the bush with his gear and canoeing by day out on the water.

I have to admit, all of us found this two level course to be intensely challenging, no real "beginner" stuff here as one might expect, actually quite tough to get through. I'm happy to report each of the people in attendance did in fact pass both levels. There are areas for all to work on individually for a bit of improvement, like remembering all the stroke names, the jaw dropping crawling over one another to change places while out in deep water without tipping over, and standing up in the air to get our balance (sea legs) and not tipping over again. With all my love of all things kayak still prevailing, I can see my son and I still progressing in our canoe practice when we begin attending the all-day canoe trips with several portages included, the few we're both signed up to do as a team until fall.

15 :: This was our son's idea of shopping at Ikea recently when his mother was lucky enough to spend time there with his younger sister. He would walk ahead and find somewhere to sit down, play some of his history game (Age of Empires), and then move ahead some more once we caught up. He thought this was the best idea ever, how to get through a shopping moment at Ikea with the women folk in his life!

16 :: More horse lessons are currently in progress, horse shows are on the calendar, and lots of practice is still ahead to learn new hunter/jumper courses in search of show ribbons to add to collections all summer long.

I liked this photo - coach and student getting strategies in place for the next jump session.

17 :: Mommy birdie is standing guard near her nest of young ones, much to my husband's chagrin for the choice of nesting locations. I'm happy to report all is well, babies are flying and the nest has been abandoned, so it's safe for a clean up duty and scrub job.

18 :: Our younger two were invited to participate in a homeschooling teen day playing volleyball at the beach, and what a gorgeous day it turned out to be! 

Until this gathering we had no idea there were so many located near to us, and with this successful sporty day, come the fall there will be more activities for what will become known as "Terrific Teen Tuesdays"...

Suggestions have come forward for; ball hockey, tennis, hiking, extreme frisbee, basketball and more. One mother's idea of gathering teens for a fun two hour sporty day has turned out to be something most welcomed by all. Looking forward to more...

I was able to assist at setting up one of the three nets, and then parked myself in the direction of play to chat with other mothers in attendance. 

As other little ones played in the playground adjacent to this volleyball area, everyone was thrilled with the outcome. I could see our two here, both immensely enjoying their games, and both walking away not only pooped from their games, but also with a swim at the beach before leaving the area, complete with big smiles on their faces.

19 :: Summer warrants lighter food fare no matter what the time of day. Here is a Friday fish meal; tuna salad on a bed of organic leaves, various fresh summer berries, almond slivers, cucumber and tomato slices, and sliced grapes with a drizzle of poppyseed dressing. Everyone gave huge kudos over how delicious it was, though the photos don't do it justice at all. Yay, it's a keeper!

20 :: Schooling is slowly coming to a halt in our home, not officially ending for a summer break much at all before the end of June as tradition has been known to have it. We like to take breaks all through the year when my husband has his vacation times, so the timing is all ours to decide when to break and when to hit the books. It's almost time for a break. I'm feeling it, so it must be very near, though some goals for summer learning will remain high on our list.

21 :: Take one two day canoe course, and go figure after registering for it, this son also was assigned a soccer and ball hockey tournament also for that same timing. The soccer tournament was a complete write-off, however after our first very long day at our course, he was able to make a quick change and complete the remaining afternoon/early evening part of the ball hockey tournament. 

Sitting in the stands and trying to fend off complete exhaustion, and trying to sip a coffee to keep awake and alert, I was able to snap a few photos (using my iphone) of him receiving team medals and such for obtaining second place. Great day! BIG day! And then there was our assigned presentation homework to go home and complete before returning for day two the next day. Whew...

22 :: I'm thrilled to report I have two more blog books published! Wagjag recently had coupons for a discount, and I was able to buy two of them, the limit imposed for individuals. What a bunch of work to edit the slurped posts with an autofill of photos, about 900 of those alone! I had to rearrange everything, but loved every second of the process!

Each includes a six month time frame for blog posts, and I surprised myself to find one ended up with 396 pages! The other had 244! Whew... That's a lot of writing! But then, I have two more books now in progress and I can hardly wait to have them all published and sitting pretty on the family bookshelf! The only thing I found a deterring was having to go elsewhere for highspeed bandwidth abilities for downloading the blog into my software (it worked only once at home but took almost two hours to do so), and then again later when having to upload the edited version to the publisher for printing.  

23 :: It wouldn't be right not to mention how disappointed we diehard Vancouver Canuck fans were with their game final loss to Boston, however we congratulate them and are pleased another hockey team who hasn't won the cup in years was able to bring the cup to their city. 

As that final game 7 day crept forward, everyone felt strongly there would be mischief in the streets that night no matter the outcome of the game, especially as story after story began to emerge about the masses of trouble makers dressed in Canuck shirts who were on the skytrain headed to the city, verbally announcing with high hoped voices how they would bring on some great vandalism. Disgusting is my "word of the day" because THESE folks were NOT true Canuck fans, they were imposter hooligans out to wreak havoc, and they sure did! And, in the process of doing so, their failed outcome ended up offering the Vancouver Canucks and their true fans a bad name worldwide. That was disrespectful!

** True Vancouver Canuck fans love their city and would never do harm to it.

**True Vancouver Canuck fans are good sports, despite (!) a loss so near to the cup in hand.

** True Vancouver fans in the stands that night made us proud when we were able to witness all giving a standing ovation to Boston and to their great goalie "Tim" while still in attendance at the game past the final game end. 

We were so proud to hear of the thousands of people who showed up the following day to clean up the streets and offer their condolences to shop owners and to their beloved hockey team for having the fallout so unnecessary to everyone. We are still hearing more stories of arrests and charges for those "outed" on a huge Facebook page with many photos uploaded by all those witnessing such a disgraceful and catastrophic event. I personally hope they catch every single one of those hooligans and throw the book at them with huge damage charges tabs over what they produced that night! 

Vancouver welcomed the entire world to their city for the Olympics last year, thankfully many know this is NOT the way "Vancouverites" really are! What a sad day for hockey! What a sad day for our beautiful Vancouver city! What a sad day to know these hooligans were on a mission to recruit others to join in their great destructive bandwagon during the hubbub of the unbelievable chaos. Shame on all of you! 

And there you have my little vent for the day...and now I rest my case and continue focusing on the fact there are far too many beautiful people and things in this world of ours to become so ruffled, even if it was seriously agitating to hear of the evening's ending. Not everything is created equal for feeling such unrest as this isolated incident, so it's due time to move forward now and hope it never happens anywhere worldwide again. 

Congratulations Vancouver Canucks! 

You make Canadians proud! 

And there you have an enormous catch-up session (and small vent, laughing) with Renee of the east..... Hugs to all my family and friends, and happy summer to everyone!

(sorry if the formatting is strange as I used explorer
instead of my usual firefox to create this post which somehow changed what I wanted)

Head on over to Barbara's to check out the invitation to join the

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Canuck Stanley Cup Fever

Game On!

Friday, June 10, 2011

23 / 52 weeks

52 weeks of daily life in pictures: trials and celebrations,
the extraordinary and mundane -- 

whatever is unique to the week. 

Join me if you like.

** Now you see them, and then just like that - they are now all gone! 

Sweet pink blossoms came out to wink at us last week, blossoms not yet seen before. How beautiful it was to find floral visits in the garden the past while, such a fleeting and exquisite moment to behold


At last I was able to attend our son's soccer game, thankfully for me it was a make-up game for a rain and thunder storm cancellation.

Here we are, on the front line ready for the referees to yell; "Game on!" 

Both of our children who are playing soccer this season are thoroughly enjoying every bit of the team sport, and lucky for us they have fabulous coaches, who make everything (ie; two parents at two separate fields, at the same time, on the same day each week) worth it.

** These sweet children were sitting in front of us shortly after the May crowning procession. They were so precious, little gals in veils and the little boy in a wee little tie, I couldn't resist snapping this photo with my iphone from behind. 

Greeted shortly after by my daughter's "look", something akin to "Mother! You're embarrassing me!".... I am still smiling over this particular photo.

** A special birthday gift inside of birthday card, this was the order requested when I recently hit the Starbucks near us for a caffeine quencher. Yes, quencher. My kind of liquid the past few weeks, just stick an intravenous in my arm please....

** The big moment finally arrived, and here I am all decked out in my fine attire and "Fascinator" created by the hands of my beautiful niece. She read I was going to opt to wear one for my upcoming "Royal Tea", as I'm seriously not a hat person. In no time at all she contacted me and offered her services, and what a spectacular job she did! 

My dear Stephanie, "I love it", "I wore it", and "It was a big hit!".... Love to you for blessing me with this beautiful floral fascinator, complete with ribbons and white fluffy ostrich feathers. 

I'm simply delighted to be able to call it mine now. Thank you!  

A lovely collage most likely will not even come close to capturing the great event enjoyed by all. It was splendid indeed celebrating the Royal wedding of William and Kate.

** I do believe the sign above is rare in the modern world. I found this recently of all places, on a gaming store where my son went to browse a few "Lord of the Rings" minifigures, a place where he and some friends like to browse to find various items they are collecting. It was such a surprise to note the door before entering, I just had to take this photo.

** More paper crafting; This was a butterfly and french script background scene, embossed to create pizzazz and sparkle. 

The photo of the card above simply doesn't at all do it justice, but nevertheless you just have to trust me that it's a hit and we'll be making a few more using this fun layout this summer. I just love how it turned out.

** The first horse show of the season, this was a photo I snapped of our daughter and her coach shortly after completing one of her course divisions.

Not only was her coach offering superb tips and rendering much confidence for a less stressed day, she too was riding and competing which brought a whole new element to both our very excited girls.

We were able to cheer her on, the roles reversed, and I had much fun snapping photos of her too.

** Getting to the water's edge comes naturally this time of year, and it's very enjoyable to promenade around the boardwalks near to the bay while viewing all of the vessels parked there.

** I took these photos two weeks ago and forgot to post them, it's been such a tardy season for the tulip over here this year. Aren't these just gorgeous?

Apparently there's a history with them, as they were a gift from Holland many years ago now, and yet they continue to bloom onward.

** A good day to be outdoors, there was zero humidity during this cool, crisp spring day. We were loving it!

** Our angelic sounding birdie sings tunes for us daily, hovering near to the bird house on the back deck. 

The wee baby birdies have now hatched since the weekend, and the singing sounds like an entire choir instead of just a solo. It's very sweet to watch the lilting head and hear the harmony while seating nearby.

** Sneaking into the back, I simply had to have a photo of the now snuffed out pascal candle. 

Each year when a brand new pascal candle is hoisted up in to position on the altar, I feel an unexplained type of hopeful blessing just from its mere Easter liturgical season presence. When it becomes snuffed out, it's also a happy time, mostly representing many additional and thought provoking emotions. I'm so pleased the altar servers didn't mind me snapping this photo.

** They're back! Oh my, they ARE back! You know that red bush above with the tiny little pink flowers? It's now completely bare, as all the leaves were gobbled up by these creeping bothersome crawlers.

These are the horrible, silky web makers called; "Tent Caterpillars". Our area is infested with them, a seemingly biyearly event I've been told has no real cure for a good riddance.

The province of Ontario motioned to ban all pesticides and herbicides several years back, so even ant killer is under lock and key at your local store.

Each day we note where some may be dining, and with gardening snippers in hand, we rid the parts of the leafy branches by burning or zipping in plastic bags to get rid of them.

** Wow, there is nothing quite like weed whacking in the front area of the garden, and having these things fall from the trees while hanging on to their stringy spider like webs and then land in your hair. I've never worked so fast to complete that job in my life! ick. 

(So, did that make you want to scratch your head? LOL)

** Sometimes there are those moments in life when a heart grows weary and dropping on to one's knees seems the only logical answer for finding the necessary grace to move onward after a prayer request has been divulged.

There are definite heavy heart moments appearing the past few weeks, honored to be petitioning heaven and praying for at this time. Sending bouquets of great love to all those who know I'm always here - for them...

"But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield."

~ Psalm 5: 11-12

Head on over to Barbara's to check out the invitation to join the