Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mark Everett Music

Our nephew, Mark Everett, is in the process of launching his music career. This cd has been in the works for quite some time, and is finally ready for sale and radio air time. We're all hoping it takes off for him. He'll be getting air time at radio stations in Arizona and Alberta for sure so far and on-line sales are brisk. And yes, this is a plug for him. He really has a great voice and we're so proud of him. He's been entertaining the family with his music for years now, he built his own recording studio and plays quite a few instruments and writes a lot of his own songs.

I hope you'll take a minute or two to listen to some of his latest cd. Just click the link above (music career) which will take you to his website, then click the 'music' button near the top and click again on the song you want to hear. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Dad

I haven't been able to celebrate Father's Day with my Dad since he passed away in 1993. He was always uncomfortable being the center of attention anyway, so I'm sure he won't mind if I honor him this way this year.

Robert Andrew McCarthy was born on February 21, 1922, the first child of Duncan and Millicent McCarthy.

By the end of 1931 five more children were born, including one who lived only 6 months. Pictured above are Duncan, Edna, Robert, Evelyn, baby Marjorie and Millicent. Not yet born is Dad's brother, William.

Dad was very close to his father and remembers having scarlet fever when he was young, being quarantined in a hospital and his father visiting every day and talking to him through the window since he wasn't allowed in to visit him. It hit Dad very hard when his beloved father died suddenly when Dad was only 10 years old. He took his responsibilities as man of the family very seriously and helped his mother out as much as he could, taking jobs as they were available to help supplement the family income. As a child he enjoyed swimming and skating and playing hockey and baseball.

Dad had joined the army when he was 17 so when Canada entered World War 2 in 1939 he was ready to go. He spent the first year of the war in Halifax harbour manning the anti-submarine net across the mouth of the harbour. Before long he was overseas, training in England and then to Italy, France, Belgium and Holland.

When the war was finally over, he returned home to Halifax in 1945, and, having made friends with two of Mum's cousins and three brothers while overseas, he was soon introduced to Mum and they were married in August 1946.

Dad reinlisted in the Army and was transferred to Picton, Ontario, where I was born in May of 1948. My older sister was born in May of 1947.

Dad always loved babies so I think he was pleased to have a couple of his own. When I was 4 we adoped a 9 month old boy, Ken, who completed our family. He and Dad became very close as Ken grew up.

This is Dad with his two girls - I'm the little one with the doll. He used to love teasing and tormenting us and then turned us over to Mum to calm us down enough to go to bed.

Dad in 1958 - a handsome man.

This is his regiment in 1951. Dad is sitting second from the left.

Our family in 1965 at Wendy's high school graduation.

Dad was a good father, always there for us. It took me a while to learn to 'read' him so I could tell when he was kidding. Mum used to say "look at his eyes". When he was teasing us his eyebrows would twitch and he'd have that laugh in his eyes. He wasn't mean or stern but being a military man gave him an aura of authority that we didn't think to question. He had a keen, but low key sense of humor. He liked to play games and back when we were 8 or 9 he got a game of Lingo for us (a forerunner of Scrabble) and would play it with us and Mum in the evenings. He would also play cards with us, hearts, canasta, casino, rummoli, frustration, etc. It always felt so good on the rare occasions we were able to beat him. He never, ever would 'let' any of us beat him. He liked to win but more importantly he wanted us to feel good when we could beat him at a game...and he always smiled his eye twinkling smile when we managed to best him at a game.

When we were living in Germany where Dad was posted, Dad had his first heart attack at age 39. Because of that we were sent back to Canada before his tour of duty was over, and he retired. By the time he was 41 he had had 2 more 'minor' heart attacks. We then moved to Nova Scotia from New Brunswick, and he worked for Canada Post as a Postmaster for 22 years before retiring from work altogether. He always said that he considered each year after 50 a 'bonus' and enjoyed life in spite of developing diabetes in his early 60s. He took good care of himself, stayed active, golfed, walked, and enjoyed his family. I never heard him complain about his health or circumstances. He was a happy man.

Here he is in 1982 surrounded by his children, their spouses, and grandchildren. He enjoyed his family. I always felt special because I'm the only one of that group who is left-handed like Dad.

Even though he was busy with his own family, Dad was always aware of his siblings and took us back to Nova Scotia every summer to visit with them and Mum's family. As adults it was nice for us to see how much his brother and sisters loved and respected their older brother. Although he still enjoyed teasing and tormenting them in a brotherly way, he was always there for them when they needed him and very quietly gave funds to any of them who were in need of them.

Once we had moved back to Nova Scotia where his family was, they always got together for Dad's birthday. His sister, Evelyn, always made him a steak and kidney pie for the occasion, a dish he came to enjoy while in England during the war. We never asked him to share it with us - yuck! Pictured above are Dad and Will with Evelyn, Marjorie and Edna in front.

Dad loved being a grandfather. Our first six children were born in the West so he didn't get to know them as infants, so being a dutiful daughter, when Lloyd and I moved back to Nova Scotia I gave birth, at age 38, to our 7th baby, Emily. I really enjoyed seeing Dad with her. That's Emily and Dad in the picture above.

This is our family in 1982, right after Lloyd and I had moved to NS, and Wendy and Randy came to visit that summer. That's me sitting between Ken and Dad, and Wendy beside Mum.

We had a big party on their 40th anniversary because Dad always said he'd never live long enough to celebrate 50. He made it to 46 though.

This is the last picture I took of Mum and Dad together. They had driven out to Edmonton from Nova Scotia (nearly 3000 miles) to visit Wendy in Winnipeg and us in Edmonton over Christmas. They got back home in mid-January and on February 12, 9 days before his 71st birthday, Dad came in from shovelling snow, sat down in his chair, picked up the book he was reading, and died...just as he would have wanted to go...quickly and easily...of a massive heart attack.

It's hard not to miss him on special days like Father's Day and his birthday, and I think of him often. I am proud to be 'Bob's daughter'.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Button, Button, I've Got the Buttons

I've always liked buttons and have always had a jar of them somewhere in my house. I was just following Mum's example I guess. She always had a jar of buttons. When Wendy and I were pre-schoolers Mum would let us play with her button. We'd line them up according to color and have a button parade...the white ones represented nurses, the brown were soldiers, blue were sailors and air force men (remember, this was in the early 1950's when WW2 was still fresh in our parent's minds)...and so on. The button leading the parade was a large white one with a scooped out center into which we would place a red button...for Santa Claus, of course. I don't think I ever encouraged my kids to play with buttons when they were small, but a couple of my granddaughters have made parades with mine.

Here is my button stash -

Isn't it beautiful, resting there in all its glory on my cutting mat on my scrapbook worktable. There is every color imaginable there.

...and all sizes, from the teeny-tiny ones that would be useless for anything except embellishing a scrapbook page, to the large 1.5 inch ones.

Some are full of sparkles - these are my sparklies

Others have pretty patterns in them. I love the dark blue one near the bottom.

And they come in all shapes as well - square, rectangle, stars, ovals, flowers, triangles, flower pots, swoosh, alphabets, hearts, and even an angel.

Some are two-holers, some are four-holers, and there are even a couple of one-holer buttons, as well as one with slashes instead of holes...whoever said buttons are boring???

They have myriad uses, not least of which is to embellish scrapbook pages, as I mentioned before. And lets not forget games - I don't think we ever went to a birthday party when we were kids where we didn't play 'button, button, who's got the button'.

And what about button sayings....'he really knows which buttons to push', 'she's just as cute as a button'.

But I just like how pretty they all look

sitting there in my crystal cookie jar.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Brides and Grooms

I was wondering what to blog about today when Amy came to the laundry room where I was doing my wondering, dressed in her wedding dress. It still looks beautiful on her and fits perfectly eight years and three kids after her wedding. Way to go Amy!!

That got me thinking about all the brides we've had in our immediate family in the past few years. I've even located pictures of them - a beautiful bunch of daughters, sons, daughters-in-law and sons-in law...although the men are handsome, rather than beautiful! And I'll even go back a couple of generations here. I'm putting dates in here as accurately as I can remember them. I know that my hawk-eyed kids will be sure to point out which ones I've mis-remembered.

This first picture is of my parents, Robert and Meta McCarthy, who were married on August 10, 1946, soon after Dad got home from serving in the Canadian Army overseas during the second World War.

This is Lloyd and me on March 27, 1971 - he was all of 21 years old and I was 22.

Jenny was the first of our children to get married. She married Anders Quist on January 3, 1995. Too close to Christmas Jenn!! Hard to imagine that sweet young couple as parents of 5 boys!

Our son Rob married Cindy White in on April 24, 1998. Jenn didn't appreciate having to share her birthday with her big brother's wedding, but she didn't have any say in the matter. Cindy's a lovely addition to our family.

Mary married Greg Bourne on May 6, 2000 when they were both only 20 years old. Now they're an old married couple with two lovely children and are happier than pigs in mud!

I guess I should have put a picture of Amy and Curtis here instead of just Amy, but when I started planning this blog it was just going to be about the brides. But I don't have solo pictures of all the brides so ended up with the couples. Sorry Curtis. Amy doesn't look much different now than she did back on August 10, 2001 when she and Curtis were married.

Sara married Quincey Hardwicke-Brown on September 20, 2002. He started out as her boss and is now her business partner, life partner, and daddy of their three children.

Mike married Avril Laqua on September 17, 2004. We don't see as much of them and their two little boys as we'd like to - they've chosen to live a 5 hr. drive south of us.

Then finally, our 22-year old baby, Emily, married Allan Taylor on August 23, 2008, and Lloyd and I heaved a sigh of relief that we don't have any more children to get married!

And that's it for now.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Layla Layout

As I've been sorting through all my scrapbooking stuff, I've come across some layouts I had planned to do 4 or 5 years ago, some started, others just put in plastic holders with pictures and papers. One series of pictures I started working on almost 5 years ago is of Layla's first professional photo shoot when she was 6 weeks old. She'll be 5 years old on July 8.

The layout you see here is nothing at all like I had envisioned back then. I didn't even use the paper I had thought was perfect for the pictures. I love this paper with the brown line drawings of flowers and the bird on a pink and white background, so I stayed with the brown and pink theme and added ribbon, a button, a bling flower and letters in her name, stickles sparkles on the bird and hearts, and used my Slice to cut the words - things I wasn't using, or weren't available, 5 years ago.

Sometimes it pays to procrastinate! I love this layout.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I arrived home today just in time to capture this photo of granddaughters Kenzie and Sydney on Syd's new tricycle - Syd on the back and Kenzie on the seat. I'm glad I didn't miss it. This is becoming a traditional photo shoot in our family, going back three generations.

Syd and Kenzie are Amy's children.

Back in 1977 when Amy and Jenny were 2 and 3 years old and we were living in High Level, AB, I took this picture of my two oldest daughters. Amy is standing and Jenny is on the seat.

That pose was based on this picture that my mother took of Wendy and me when I was 1.5 and Wendy just one year older, way back in 1949 0r '50. I'm the one on the seat of the tricycle.

Wendy and I both really like this picture of us and both of us have it reprinted, framed and on display in our homes. Mum didn't take a lot of pictures but I'm glad she took this one. It started a tradition in our family.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Jenn's Boys

When we were on our way home from Lethbridge a week or so ago, we stopped at Lacombe to visit Jenn and her men.

When I posted a blurb about Jenny on her birthday in April I didn't have a current family picture to include. When we arrived at their home two of the boys were sitting on these steps so I decided then and there to get a picture of the whole family right there on the stairs.

Jonah (12), her oldest son, is our first grandchild; Sam (10) is our second; Nathan (7) is our third. Micah (4) comes in at number 1o and James (1.5) is our 15th.

At 5'1" Jenn is destined to be towered over by her sons, who seem to have inherited their father's tendency for height. That's what she gets for marrying a man a whole foot taller than she is. Jonah already is taller than his Mom.

A lovely family with cool kids.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

If you've been following DD Sara's blog and her daughter Charlie's blog, you'll know that they've recently introduced a new member to their family - a sweet little grey kitten. You probably also know that they named the kitten Mickey after my friend Mickey, who they've come to know pretty well this past year.

I decided I needed to post a picture of the two Mickey's together - as Max says "Mickey 1 is human and Mickey 2 is a cat". The picture is kind of blurry, but you get the idea.

Then they all wanted to have their picture taken with the kitten, except Elly, but I got a picture of her with it the previous day.

Mickey 2 is a very trusting animal - she isn't afraid of the kid and lets them pet her and love to be around the family. She was born at the end of March so she's still very young.

Max is still a bit unsure about the correct way to hold a squirming kitten so he tend to hang on tight. Sydney and Kenzie had come over to play with their cousins and were totally captivated by the cat.

Charlie is completely in love with her new pet.

Kenzie wants one too and I suspect that before the summer's over there'll be a new animal at their house - her mother, Amy, wants a St. Bernard puppy! Holy slobber Batman!

Here's me with the three granddaughters. Sydney finally got to hold Mickey 2 but the kitten is out of the picture at the bottom.

And finally, here's a very short video of the little furball playing.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Yorkshire Pudding Anyone?

For years whenever I've made a roast beef dinner, I've served it with Yorkshire pudding - so delicious with gravy. When I first started making them some would raise and hollow out and some wouldn't. Then Mike took over the job when he was around 15. They were delicious, but because of their failure to raise, the other kids (and Lloyd and I) started calling them hockey pucks. And the name has stuck. We looked forward to eating Mike's 'hockey pucks' with our roast beef dinner.

When we were in Winnipeg last weekend, my sister made a traditional roast beef dinner for Mum's 88th birthday and my niece, Meredith,

made the Yorkshires. This is what they looked like - all 12 of them, although I just took a picture of one.

Definitely NOT a hockey puck! Wendy gave me the recipe Meredith uses which I'll post here for those of you (my kids especially) who want to make non-hockey puck Yorkshires.

Whisk 3 eggs.
Add 1 Cup flour, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 c. milk
Whisk until smooth.
Whisk in an additional 3/4 C milk.
Don't use a mixer as this works the mixture too much.
Spray a medium/large size muffin pan with cooking spray, then put 1/4 - 1/2 tsp oil in each cup - just enough to cover bottom.
Divide mixture among the 12 muffin cups.
Bake in a preheated 425F oven for bout 20 minutes, till they're nicely puffed and brown.

Good luck. Let me know how they turn out (you especially Mike).

Oops! I almost forgot. The roast beef portion of this meal was especially good. Wendy cooked the roast in her slow cooker with a tin of cream of mushroom soup, a packet of dry onion soup mix, and 2 cans of diet Coke. It made the nicest gravy! Try it - you'll like it.

Who Am I?

In response to Sara's challenge to post a self-portrait without taking a picture of yourself, I am posting the following: the contents of my purse, pictures on my walls, and my space.

Do the contents of your purse really define who you are? I'm not sure. I did this exercise several years ago for a scrapbook layout and the contents of my purse then were quite different from the current contents. Here's a run-down of what I tote along with me daily:

- Sony Cyber-Shot camera. You never know when a photo-op will happen. A purse sized camera is a must.
- Wallet. Treasure trove of cash, credit and debit cards, postage stamps, plastic store cards, gift cards, receipts, etc.
- Cheque book. Seldom used but I carry it just in case.
- Small card holder for all those stores with customer 'points' , etc.
- Sugarless gum. 5 packs. I'm not a big gum chewer but I like having some for those times when I need a quick breath freshener.
- Comb, lipstick and gloss. For a quick touch up.
- Small bottle of hand cleanser.
- Pill box (Coke design) with Motrin.
- Pill box peppermints with Scrapbooking Girl motif.
- Almost empty pocket pack of tissues.
- Notebook and pens. An essential.
- Keys. House keys on a ring with a huge pink 'diamond' (I love bling), car keys on their own key fob, and a key ring punch card for my favorite scrapbook store.
- Dentist appointment reminder card

These things really don't tell you who I am. I don't carry pictures of my husband, kids and grandkids in my purse and they are the main focus of my life. So I did a quick walk through of my space. It gives a much more insightful look into who I am.

I am a wife, with a strong, loving husband.

I am a mother of seven strong, independent, wonderful kids.

I am a grandmother, with not enough places to store all the pictures of the grandchildren.

I am a daughter, whose mother doesn't always recognize her. I used to be a cross-stitcher. This is a picture I did for Mum and Dad's 40th anniversary in 1986. I brought it home from Winnipeg this past weekend because Mum didn't want it hanging on her walls anymore because "the people in it are fat".

And I am a sister, thankful for the caring older sister I have, and for the younger brother we were privileged to have for 39 years.

I am a scrapbooker. This mess is my scrapbooking space - full of photo albums, scrapbook albums, tools of the trade, works in progress, bins of embellishments, flowers, ribbons, stamps and inks, not to mention all the cardstock and patterned paper. This is my hobby - it's where I organize the many photos and memories of my life. Working here helps me to remember how important family memories are, and they are something I never want to lose. I hope that by organizing these scrapbook albums, my children and grandchildren will look at them for years to come and remember how things were when they were small, and when I was young as well.

So, that's who I am according to the contents of my purse and home. Who are you???