Monday, November 23, 2009

Kittens and Christmas Trees

Sara put her Christmas tree up while I was away this weekend. It looks beautiful standing in their living-room. This morning while I was in the kitchen I heard Max in the living-room saying "The tree is moving. There's something moving in it". So I went to investigate, grabbing my ever-ready camera as I went, and this is what I saw.

Mickey, having never seen a Christmas tree before, and being a curious, inquisitive cat, decided to check it out up close and personal. She batted ornaments around, chewed ribbon, and maybe even knocked a few off the tree altogether. Her favorite one to bat around was the crystal snowman you can see in the picture above.

You can see her in action here. Luckily for us, her cat-friend, Percy, was content to curl up under the tree and sleep.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Off Again

We got home from Arizona on Monday, Lloyd went back in High Level yesterday, and I'm headed to Winnipeg today. When I finally get home again on Sunday, I'm not budging from Edmonton till well after Christmas.

I'm going to Winnipeg today to help out for a few days with Mum. She's in a hospital right now awaiting an opening in a nursing home that has the capability of dealing with patients in the advanced stage of Alzheimer's that Mum has. Wendy has been spending every day for the past three weeks in the hospital with Mum and its becoming too much for her. She hasn't had time for Christmas shopping, or quilting, or helping her youngest daughter with her January wedding plans, or just to relax.

Wendy, Mum, Me - May 28, 2009

It'll be an interesting weekend walking the hospital halls with Mum. At 88 she's still very energetic and needs to keep busy. I hope I can keep up with her. Her memory has deteriorated to such an extent that she doesn't know anyone except Wendy (and isn't always aware that Wendy is her daughter), and has no memory of having lived anyplace except the hospital she's currently in.

Alzheimer's is a horrible disease. Mum and three of her siblings so far have been afflicted with it, and the ones who haven't been live in fear of getting it. Wendy and I are hoping it's not an inherited condition, although Mum's parents lived to be 95 with no sign of it.

I probably won't be blogging again till after I'm get home on Sunday, so don't forget me and keep checking in, just in case. I'll have my computer with me but I'm not sure I'll have internet access.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wrap-Up and Review

All good things come to an end and that's what we're facing today - the end of a lovely holiday. Our last day is always spent (partly anyhow) in clean-up and shut-down activities. So far, and it's not yet noon, we've vacuumed all the carpets, washed all the tile floors, packed just about everything (including the extra large suitcase we bought to carry all our Christmas purchases), changed the beds, and completed two loads of laundry with another one chugging away. We just have the kitchen and bathrooms (3) to clean. Then we'll relax. It's worth it though for the enjoyment of the past week.

Here's a brief summary:

We discovered the joys of underwater photography

We admired Clyde's ripening tangerine and orange trees

We enjoyed night (and daytime) swimming

We introduced Jenny and the boys to the beauty of Campe Verde and Jerome

We all enjoyed the pool - at least twice a day - in spite of the native Arizonans rule that you don't swim in the winter!

We climbed the waterfall trail at White Tank Mountain

and admired the crop circles from the plane as we flew down here. Montana/Idaho I think.

And now back to the hated job of cleaning. We'll be home tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Almost Oranges

Today, the Quist's last full day here, we decided to not do anything more adventurous than shop and visit Uncle Clyde in Sun City. Jenn and the boys were looking forward to seeing oranges growing on the trees. It'll be another month or so before they're ripe enough for picking but they were still fun to see.

This one was trying its best to turn orange for us. We appreciated the effort.

Clyde and Jenny had a good visit.

Sam reluctantly let himself be photographed with one of the orange trees. He tends to run when he sees someone try to aim a camera at him.

Jonah went right up into the tree to get to know it up close and personal.

Never having seen a green orange before, he was fascinated with the little unripe fruit.

But cutest of all was the robust little tangerine tree, full of semi-ripe fruit. We'll all have to come down again in a month or two to taste those ones!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Today we visited two of my favorite, so far, places here in Arizona - Camp Verde, site of Montezuma's Castle cliff dwellings, and Jerome, a very interesting resurrected ghost town. It was a mining town which had been deserted when the mining operation closed down, then resettled in the late 1960s by hippies. It is down a very artsy place full of old buildings, facades, half fallen down buildings and very interesting people - and ghosts.

We had heard that most of the old decrepit buildings in Jerome were haunted, but that could easily be a tourist ploy. However, last week the old Hotel in Jerome was featured on Ghost Hunters (so my daughter Sara told me) and they verified that the hotel was indeed haunted. We visited it today and didn't see any ghosts though - maybe they sleep during the day.

The haunted hotel

Part of the town of Jerome

Jonah and the old, easily escapable, jail.

Lloyd with a piece of rusted mining machinery.

At the cliff dwelling site it always seems to be so very peaceful and can almost feel the spirits of the ancient people who lived in such precarious homes, farmed the land, and mined the salt deposits a few miles away. I love sitting there in the sun and looking around at the old cliffs. The fall colors were incredibly bright and beautiful.


Jenny, Jonah and Sam with Montezuma's Castle

A cotton plant with ripe cotton spilling fro the bolls.

Sam and me enjoying the peace and beauty of Camp Verde

Monday, November 9, 2009

Swimming Season???

We received an ad here in Arizona that began by saying "Now that swimming season is over..." What are they talking about? Sure, it's November, but the temperature is in the high 20s-low 30s (that's in the 80s for you Farenheit people). That spells swimming season to me...if it's so hot out that you break into a sweat walking across the street, it's hot enough to jump in the pool! Just ask these people.

We have friends down here, native Zonies, who think we're crazy for swimming when we come down here in the winter..."you just don't swim in the winter". Again, to my way of thinking, you decide whether or not to go swimming by how hot it is outside. Of course, it helps if you have a heated pool!

We'll continue to swim in the afternoon and again in the evening as long as we're here. We may be the only people in Arizona in November having fun!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Orange Trunk

When I was 19 years old I bought a blue steamer trunk, packed all my earthly possessions in it, and boarded a train in Halifax, NS and after three days and nights, arrived in Edmonton, AB. The trunk at that time contained all my clothes, some books, record albums, and a set of dishes Dad had been collecting for me. Strange to think that everything I owned fit into the trunk. My best friend, Cheryl, and her brother, Lloyd, met me at the train and for the first time of many, Lloyd had to stow the trunk in his car and take it home. Little did he know that that trunk would become part of his life too.

I know - this isn't blue, but you can see some blue spots through the orange. This is what it looks like today.

This is what happened to it in the summer of 1968....

Sitting in the bare living room of the basement apartment my best friend (and future sister-in-law), Cheryl, and I lived in, I painted the trunk orange - and orange it has been ever since. At that time, the trunk fulfilled it's second role in my life - it served as a coffee table/seat in that almost bare apartment.

I don't know what I'd have done without that trunk over the past 42 years. When I brought it out of storage in Sara's basement yesterday she said, "Oh that smells old". I replied, "No, it smells like my trunk". Same difference I guess.

I opened the lid and relived my crafty hobbies of the past few decades - there was macrame cord from the '70s, some cross stitch projects from the '80s and '90s, some cans that I used to collect, most of them filled with bits and pieces of craft projects: stuff I used to make blown egg Christmas ornaments that still hang on our children's Christmas trees, yarn, fabric paint, etc. The large embroidered picture on top of the trunk above is a children's prayer that Mum embroidered in 1952/53 when we were just tiny. She never had it framed and I forgot about it. Maybe one of my children will some day take and frame it before it disintegrates. When Charlie got home from school yesterday she was so excited to be able to go through all of Grammie's stuff and we made quite a little pile of treasures for her to use. She's a crafty person too.

So what else has it been used for? Well, after I arrived in Edmonton and unpacked it, I used it to put out-of-season clothes in. Then after awhile it became my hope chest and I put linens and lingerie, and pretty things that I planned to use in my home when I got married. Then after my sister Wendy got married and handed me her wedding dress after her reception, I stored it in this multi-purpose chest until I needed it a year and a half later.

Then, of course, I started filling the trunk with baby clothes. I used to spend a lot of time baby-sitting when I was a teenager and would pass the hours knitting baby clothes. Those eventually went into the trunk, along with little shirts, socks and baby nightgowns for my future little people.

Then for years it just stored things that didn't go anyplace else in my home. Until I discovered crafts and it became the perfect craft chest. And then it got hidden away in our big house and stayed there even after we sold it to Sara and Quincey and moved out. It feels good to have reclaimed it now.

So when Sara says it smells old, I guess it might. It's been stored in basements and garages and bedroom closets for 42 years. It has moved from Nova Scotia to Alberta to British Columbia, back and forth from Alberta to BC several times, to Saskatchewan and even back to Nova Scotia and now finally rests in our house in Lethbridge, AB where it'll stay till the kids clear out my stuff when I'm no longer here. It's become part of my life, full of memories - well worth the $19 I paid for it all those years ago.