Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring Thaw

If there's anything good about this long cold winter we've endured, it's that it's showing signs of letting up, finally. The past two days have been lovely and warm - just above freezing - and sunny.

This is my favorite time of year - spring thaw. The ice and snow are finally melting, leaving little rivers and mini streams that are so fun to play in, for kids, that is. When we were kids we'd get our rubber boots in and build dams and create waterfalls in the fast-running rills of water at the end of the driveways and sides of the road.

I couldn't let 20-month old Aidan miss the fun. His mother, Amy, was getting him ready to go to the toy store anyway so I grabbed my camera and went out with him. Amy really didn't want him to get wet, but I didn't want my little grandson to miss one of the rites of spring. It wasn't too bad - he just got his shoes and the bottom of hs pantlegs wet.

Doesn't he look like he's having fun!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Love of My Life

Today is our 38th anniversary. We are just spending the day together, going out to dinner, and enjoying one another's company. We don't need a big celebration to prove the strength of our love. (Although if the kids want to plan something big and fancy for our 40th we wouldn't argue :)) Today I've put together a list of facts about this man I've been with for so long because I think I know him pretty well by this time.

1. He is the youngest of 4 kids, born on October 24, 1949.

2. He grew up in rural New Brunswick, mostly in the town of Harvey Station.

3. He started driving when he was 9 or 10 – the farm farm tractor out of necessity.

4. Likes his toast slightly burned.

5. Has recently overcome his fear of flying, as long as he’s on a direct flight that doesn’t last more than 4 hours. Luckily there are direct flights between Edmonton and Phoenix.

6. He enjoys taking long road trips with me.

7. He played hockey throughout his life and used to dream of playing in the NHL

He was the goalie in High Level in 1976

8. He can cook a mean burger an enjoys barbequing

9. Lloyd loves being a grandfather and wishes he had more time to spend with the kids

Teaching Nathan the game

10. Lloyd has never liked his name – if he had the choice he’d name himself Mike. (Our second son is Mike)

11. He and his buddy Eric were in the Army Militia during their high school years.

12. Has worked with the First Nations of northern Alberta/BC for over 38 years, on and off

13. Still misses his big brother and mentor, Bert, who passed away 10 years ago.

14. He loves to golf and would like to live where he could golf year round. He organizes a yearly MacKenzie Family golf tournament and has outfitted a lot of kids, in-laws and grandkids with their own clubs.

15. He wishes I was a golfer too, but I just can’t get into it. Maybe I should teach him to scrapbook.

16. He is a better housekeeper than me. Has often said that if I could earn what he does, he’d gladly quit his job and stay home and keep house and raise the kids.

17. Is very generous with everyone and spoils me more than I deserve.

18. Is an expert wheeler-dealer and always bargains down the price of any vehicle he is trying to buy.

19. He has the most beautiful blue eyes and passed them on to each of his seven blue-eyed kids and most of the grandkids.

20. His once-thick dark brown hair has thinned quite a bit over the years and has become more grey than brown, but it’s still curly. We're having fun growing older together though.

21. His great-great grandmother was a Cherokee.

22. For a couple of years in the early 1990’s he was a customs officier at a couple of border crossings between Alberta and Montana.

23. He spent 2 years as a missionary in Southern California back in 1969-70. We got engaged the day he left and didn't see one another for the next two years. We got married two months after he got home.

24. His olders sisters still torment him with chants of “did you get the chickens watered” from his days on the farm.

25. The worse Christmas present he ever received was an accordion from his parents when he was 12 or 13. It was just so not cool. He made them take it back and get him a transistor radio, which was the coolest thing for a kid to own back then.

26. He doesn’t like reading instructions. His motto is “if all else fails, read the instructions”. It makes putting things together and figuring things out very frustrating.

27. He likes high tech gadgets – GPS devices, BlackBerry’s latest, big screen HD TV, TouchSmart big screen computer that doesn’t require a CPU box, satellite radio for his vehicle, etc.

28. His taste is music is varied and eclectic – anything to rock, easy listening, blue grass, country western, folk. He likes it all and has downloaded thousands of songs to his ipod and computer.

29. His favourite TV shows are The Office, CSI and House. His conversations are sprinkled with lines from Seinfeld. "Always Jerry"

30. He and his sister Joyce left New Brunswick when he was 16 and came out west to Edmonton to live. He was followed a few months later by his mother and sister Cheryl, and still later by his dad. I came out two years later. As they were getting ready to leave home (a 3-day/3 night train ride) their mother sewed money into the lining of their coats.

31. He loves the Atlantic Ocean beaches that we became familiar with when we lived in Nova Scotia. A particular favorite is Taylor's Head where my family homesteaded several generations ago.

32. He'll tell anyone who asks that the happiest day of his life was March 27, 1971 when he married the girl he had been in love with since he was 15. And the feeling is mutual. Happy Anniversary Lloyd.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Here's a few layouts I've done lately - most of them done this past weekend at the 2-day crop I attended. I'm struggling with the 8.5 x 11 format. I want to get this album finished so I can get back to doing 12 x 12 layouts.

Lloyd with Charlie and Max at the top of the Waterfall Trail at White Tank Mountain. The paper I used in this layout is the back side of a picture Charlie painted for me - solid teal with a splash of yellow in the center. I was going to use the right side but when I accidentally put the picture down on the wrong side, everyone at my table thought it looked better there. And it does. Thank you Charlie.

Charlie feeding the giraffe at the Wilderness Park.

The sign warning that dangerous snakes and insects inhabit the area and to stay on the trail. The green frame is around the picture of the tiny lizard we saw.

Random shots of us on the Waterfall Trail

Picture of me with my sister Wendy, and my friend Mickey, taken outside the Arrowhead Mall in Glendale, AZ.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Don't You Hate It When They Say That...

Today's blog is inspired by my daughter, Jenn's, recent Facebook mini-rant. It's about words, non-words, and their use and/or misuse. Here are some of my pet peeves regarding the use of certain words and phrases. I hope I don't offend anyone but if I do, rage back at me via Comments. I'm sure I've used a lot of words incorrectly so much that they've become normal to me, but my kids are sure to point them out. Here goes:

- by way of. As in 'We went by way of bus'. Just say 'we went by bus'.

- As of now. What's with the need for extra words. Just say 'now'. "We need it now", not "We need it as of now".

- As of yet. Even worse. Again with the extra words. "We don't need it as of yet" is more properly stated "We don't need it yet". Some people must think that if you use more words it sounds more important. Sports announcers are the worse for this type of misuse.

- We're pregnant. Excuse me? Last I heard, only the woman gets pregnant. You might share the blame/joy, but there's still only one pregnant person in the room. It would be more appropriate to say "We're expecting".

- Utilize. Nothing wrong with the word until it's used unnecessarily. "I'm going to utilize my spoon to eat my soup". How about just saying "I'm going to use my spoon to eat my soup."

- Whatever. This is one that I'm guilty of. It's a cop-out, a non-answer. How many questions can appropriately be answered with "whatever".

- PMS-ing. I hate this when used by a man to refer to any woman's bad mood. It's so sexist and just plain wrong.

- At the end of the day. Referring to the final outcome. How many of us have not used this phrase. It's lifespan is over now. It's way overused and just plain annoying now.

- kiddies. I've always disliked this word - it sounds so patronizing. Kids are kids, not kiddies. I suppose some may say that kids are baby goats and children should be called children. I like kids though.

Those are just the ones that come to mind right now. What are some of your 'word peeves'?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Mike

Our second son, Michael Bruce MacKenzie, was born on March 20, 1978 in Prince George, BC.

This sweet boy was destined to be sandwiched between three older sisters and three younger sisters, with his only brother leading the pack as the oldest sibling. He turned out all right anyway! He's been the most laid-back of all of our kids, with a (sometimes frustrating) what-me-worry approach to life.

He had climbed up on the table after breakfast and got into the
chocolate milk powder in this now classic family picture.

Early on he became a fan of Superman and was never without a
Superman T-shirt, even as an adult. Isn't he just the cutest little boy!!

He was a cub scout with his cousins

He liked 'hanging out' at the local playground, showing off his amazing physique!

In high school he was part of a singing group called the MT Vibes. He became locally famous for his rendition of Elvis Presley's "Teddy Bear", complete with the signature "thank you, thank you very much". He still keeps in touch with most of the boys from that group.

He was the most handsome young man in his graduating class, and I say that without prejudice!

Then when he was 20 went to the Philippines for two years as a missionary. He has lots of great (funny) stories of that time. It was there that this most picky of eaters learned to broaden his horizons and learned to like rice and fish and even ate the 'delicacy' Balut (fertilized eggs).

I should have his wedding picture here but I can't find it right now. Instead we'll jump forward to this past Christmas.

He's now a settled 31-year old married man (to Avril) and father of two sweet little boys, Kenny and Alex (who they call Lex, I'm sure as a tribute to Superman). He's just completing his internship in local government and in May will be starting his career as Assistant Town Administrator in the small town of Picture Butte in Southern Alberta.

Mike has always been a great kid, easy to get along with and loved by all because of his good natured ways. His dad and I are very proud of him. Happy Birthday Moike!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Do you know....?

...some random thoughts

This 60-year old picture is a family classic. We have one of my two oldest girls in the same pose. (I'm the one on the seat)

This is what animals at the zoo do when they think no one is watching.

Little boys can watch bugs for hours. Max was fascinated with the ant hills we saw on our walk when we were in Arizona.

There's nothing like a kitchen sink and bubbles to keep a baby happy for half an hour or so.

Sometimes the icicles that form between a vehicle and the street are pretty pink. Sure hope that doesn't indicate a fluid leak of some kind.

Max likes having fruit stickers (from an apple in this case) stuck on his face. His mother, on the other hand, screams like a banshee if someone (me) threatens to come near her with one. She has had an irrational fear of fruit stickers for as long as I can remember.

I warned you there would be some mundane posts...this is one of them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Luck Of the Irish??

If Irish luck is all bad, then sure, I had the luck of the Irish on St. Patrick's Day. Take a look at this.

There's something in there that's rubbing on the tire.

Looks like the whole fender will need to be replaced, probably the headlight too.

The grill snapped off at the top there

Close-up of the fender.

I had just dropped Charlie off at school and was on my way home. In Edmonton the residential streets don't get plowed all winter and the snow pack builds up and giant ruts form. With all the snow that fell in the past two weeks, those ruts are murder. My car fell into one, hit the edge, bounced out, and did a 360, clipping a pick-up truck that was parked on the side of the road in the process. I got out of the car, looked at the truck and noticed that his lower bumper and fog lights were broken so I went to the house the truck was parked in front of and knocked at the door. There was no answer and the doorbell was disengaged. I put a note with my name and phone number on it under the windshield wiper and told the owner to get in touch with me.

We met today and it went well. Today I went to the police station to file an accident report for the insurance company. The police told me to get an estimate first, so now I have to contact the insurance company, have the appraisal done, etc. etc.

This is no fun. On the upside, for the next few days I'll be driving Lloyd's new Dodge Ram truck. Feeling powerful. Also missing my Acura. I hope it does't take too long to be good as new again.

St. Patti's Kids

Max, Elly, Charlie, Aidan, Sydney

The kids were excited about wearing green on St. Patrick's day. Max and Sydney had a St. Pat's party at their pre-school and Charlie had one at kindergarten. Elly joined in the festivities at home. Only Aidan was without green, so when I wanted a picture of them, Amy turned one of Charlie's green shirts inside-out and put it on Aidan for the photo shoot. He's only a little bit Irish anyway.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Elly's Revenge

We got home from Arizona on Friday night...what a shock to the system! So much snow here, and so cold. There's not one spring-like thing here in Edmonton. On St. Patrick's Day you think the weather would cooperate and give us even a tiny glimpse of green grass! But no. "They" say it'll start warming up later on in the week. I won't hold my breath.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of you Irish folk, and wannabe Irish folk out there. I'm proud to claim ancestry from the Emerald Isle.

Now for my pictures: It seemed that every place we went when we were away, Elly was confined to her stroller. She was pretty good about it and even slept while we were sightseeing, but she sure did like to be free and running. I guess she decided that turnabout is fair play and yesterday she put her baby in its stroller and walked round and round the house with her. It was so cute.

At the Wilderness Park

At the Phoenix Zoo

She was even used as a packhorse at the Build-A-Bear outing

So this is how she was able to feel better about herself...doesn't she look happy to be the pusher rather than the pushee for a change.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Phoenix Zoo

Our adventure today took place at the Phoenix was was was fun! We even saw a few animals! We took a train ride through the park, a paddle boat ride in the duck pond, and Charlie and Max even rode real live camels. Here are the pictorial details of our fun, very tiring, day.

Max on the camel

Charlie on the Camel

Turtles in the duck pond

Mickey and Charlie in the paddle boat

Giraffes - from the train


And that's it - I'm too tired to do any more tonight. Lloyd just arrived for his week of meetings, and Quincey is arriving in an hour or so to travel home with the rest of us tomorrow. Be prepared for more mundane blogs in the next little while.