Friday, February 26, 2010

Cloud Mountains and Lemons

If you're thinking of saving a few dollars by taking a milk run plane trip someplace, take my advice and don't do it! It's just not worth it. A direct flight from Edmonton to Phoenix takes three hours - nice and easy and you still have over half a day of enjoyment at your destination. Instead, yesterday we left home at 4:30am and arrived in Phoenix, AZ at 5:30 pm. That is a killer day. We stopped in Seattle for a couple of hours and Portland for even longer. You can only do so much people watching before they all start looking like characters in a Bill Murray movie. Our plane from Seattle to Portland wasn't even a jet - we were squeezed into a small turbo-prop plane. Not a whole lot of fun.

It wasn't all bad though. One of the most interesting sights of the trip was this one of Mt. Rainier poking up through the clouds. Amazing!

One of the first things we did today was to go visit Clyde and check on his fruit trees. He always has something new there. Sure enough, he had just planted a pomengranate bush. I didn't take a picture of it though because it looked spindly and had no blossoms or fruit on it yet.

The lemons were ripe though - actually these lemon trees were at our friend Gordon's new house in Sun City. Gordon was still up north but Clyde took us over to see the house...and to pick few lemons.

That's my hand picking the lemon. They smell heavenly. I'm going to put a slice or two in every glass of Diet Pepsi I drink while we're here - which will be more than a few.

Lloyd learned the hard way that lemon trees have very sharp prickles on them that you will get stabbed with if you're not careful.

Here I am, back at Clyde's place, picking a tangerine off his tangerine tree (you'll remember meeting this little tree Jenn). We each picked a tangerine and stood there peeling and eating them - soooo delicious, sweet and juicy. And fresh as they possibly could be.

It's good to be down here again. Tomorrow we're supposed to have 'torrential rain' so that will be exciting, I think. No swimming of course. The heater quit working so we couldn't swim today either. Bummer.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Poor Pitiful Cats

While Sara and the kids are away this week, I took Mickey and Percy to the vet (with Sara's permission) to have them spayed and neutered. It's our way of being responsible pet owners and is for the best for all concerned. If left to their own devices the house would be overrun with cute little kittens which the kids would want to keep forever.

So today I took them to their early morning appointments. They were not happy about being put in their pet carriers and even less happy, I suspect, at what happened to them there. I feel so guilty, and I know they'll never trust me again.

Percy fared the best - doesn't even have any stitches - although he's walking like a drunk sailor until the numbness goes out of his hind end. He usually purrs non-stop, hence his name, but I haven't heard a hint of a purr out of him since I brought him home.

Mickey, on the other hand, is not a happy camper. She keeps trying to lick her shaved, incised, stitched belly but all her toung comes in contact with is the transparent plastic cone the vet says she needs to wear for two weeks. Ha! We'll be lucky if she lasts two days. She's been walking backwards dragging it on the floor trying to get it off. She's going to be a hard one to care for - she's very active and independent but she's not supposed to go up and down stairs, or climb and jump for two weeks (what's so magic about 14 days anyway?). I'll do my best to keep her calm and relaxed. I'll only have the cats for a week more, then they'll be back home with Sara, Quincey and the kids. Hopefully they'll be feeling much better by then.

Poor kitties. It isn't always fun to be responsible. I hope you'll forgive and forget.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

He Can Do It Too!

Lloyd has lived with a scrapbooker long enough now that some of it has rubbed off on him. He looks through our pictures and suggests themes and ideas for layouts. He came across a picture of me in the train station as I was moving, all by myself, from Halifax NS to Edmonton. I didn't think the picture was scrap-worthy but Lloyd saw in it a pivotal moment in my life - a decision made that brought us together and started us on our life together. So I scrapped it and he loves it.

Then yesterday he decided that he wanted to make a Valentine's card for me. So I gave him a blank card and showed him where my 'stuff' was (actually it's out in the open here but he needed to be introduced to certain aspects of it). And he was off - I wasn't allowed to peek at what he was doing. He went through the pictures on the computer, sized and printed them, and after a couple of hours at my work table he declared himself finished. He was so pleased with his first attempt that he suggested we exchange cards right away. So we did - I had made him one too and a mini-album to go with it.

I love his card. It made me cry - not just because it was beautiful, but because he loves me enough to take the time and effort to make me something that acknowledges that love and his support of me in my scrapbooking efforts. I'll treasure it (and him) forever.

The Front

The Inside

Friday, February 12, 2010

Legacy of Scrapbooking

Hello. My name is Pat and I'm a Scrapbooker.

When I started on this wonderful hobby about six years ago, I thought that noone else in my family scrapped...I'm the first. I immediately loved everything about it - the beautiful papers, embellishments, ribbons, brads, buttons, stamps, stickers, glue in all its many forms, rainbows of flowers, photographs, and the list goes on and on.

Then, when I was two or three years into it, it occurred to me that I am not the first in my family to embark on this memory-saving, family-chronicling journey. It had been going on for fact well before I was born. All I had to do was think and remember.

One of my earliest memories of Mum and home, was in 1952/53 when I was four or five. The King of England had died and his daughter, Elizabeth, was to be crowned Queen Elizabeth II of England. The newspapers and magazines were full of pictures of the royal family at this time and being loyal members of the British Commonwealth, we would cut out all the royal pictures we could find and Mum put them in at least one scrapbook. I can easily remember Wendy and I helping to mix the water and flour paste that we used as glue in this book. I don't remember whatever happened to that scrapbook. I suppose in our many moves as a military family, it got misplaced or left behind someplace. I would love to have it now.

After the experience of making the Royal scrapbook, Wendy and I for awhile cut out movie star pictures and put them in another scrapbook. Again, this one has disappeared. I didn't think about them for years.

Mum also made a scrapbook for each of her three children. We loved to get those books out and look through them. The first page of each one contained congratulation/baby cards received when we were born. The books had birthday cards, Easter cards, Christmas cards, Valentine's cards and anything else Mum thought should go in. It was such fun to look at who sent what way back then. My favorite page contained a full-page birthday card in the shape of a gingerbread man, trimmed with glow-in-the dark paint. I would take it into a closet and close the door so I could see the gingerbread man glow. That book is still among my treasures, although it is starting to come apart.

The next scrapbooks I made (very plain and simple, unlike those I do today) were of the wedding cards Lloyd and I received, and then one I made of all the wedding invitations we received and baby announcements from friends. I stopped working on those about 38 years ago, but they're still part of my 'stuff' that has followed me across the country several times as we've moved around. As each child was added to our family, I made scrapbooks for them containing congratulation and greeting cards. I stopped after each album was full - about 4 years per book. The baby books I kept for each of the kids are also a form of scrapbook. Great treasures.

But my favorite treasured scrapbook is one my Aunt Evelyn gave me. It was made by her mother - my dad's mother - my namesake, Millicent McCarthy. She made several scrapbooks in the early years of the 1900s. This one is very fragile but I managed to photograph the pages so it would never be lost. It is beautiful - full of colorful pictures cut from magazines, cards, advertisements, prayer cards, post cards, ladies' calling cards and anything else Nanny found beautiful. Looking at it is like glimpsing a piece of the past. Nanny died when I was 10 so I never had a chance to talk to her about her scrapbooks, although I do have vivid memories of her and always felt a bond with her because of our names. Scrapbooking is another bond I have with this lovely woman.

the cover

And to continue the tradition, a couple of my daughters and nieces have begun scrapbooking. It really is a family legacy.

Emily at a crop

I started scrapbooking because I had albums full of pictures but they were just pictures - no stories attached, no sentiments written, no names attached. By putting the pictures in scrapbooks with stories and journalling, a more complete picture of the people and activities emerges. I'm hoping my children and grandchildren will treasure the scrapbooks I make of them and their lives as much as I treasure the scrapbooks made by my mother and grandmother.

I no longer use flower and water paste, newsprint scrapbooks, or magazine pictures and have a roomful of scrapbook supplies, but the basic premise of scrapbooking prevails - I record what is beautiful in my life so those who come after me will know who I am, what was important to me, what I loved, and how much they were loved by me.

Scrapbooking is also a great way to make friends.

And that is why I scrap.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cool Cats

Sara has two beautiful cats both about 8 months old. They're good friends with each other, at least Mickey tolerates Percy in her ladylike way. But they're as different as night and day.

They were intended to be indoor cats but right from the start Mickey, the dainty female, demonstrated...vocally...her need to be out in the fresh air and matter what the weather was like. Even in the sub-zero temperatures we've "enjoyed" this winter, Mickey would run from door to door crying to be let out. And she'd stay out for long stretches of time. One day she appeared on the frozen snow-covered deck with a frozen snow-covered mouse in her mouth. She never stops hunting.

Percy, on the other hand, likes nothing better than to lay in the sun as it reflects through the large living-room window, catching z-z-zs and perfecting his tan. He can be made to go out to keep Mickey company occasionally - very occasionally - and at such times he'll stay on the shovelled walk and not venture more than 2 feet from the shelter of the house. Although he's bigger than Mickey, he has yet to bring home a grasshopper, much less a mouse. Maybe it's his pure-bred Balinese blue point temperament, but he seems to live to be waited on and petted and made a fuss over.

See how angry he looks at having his precious little feet in the snow! What a wuss! But we don't mind. He loves to be pet and purrs his little heart out whenever he gets any attention. A purring cat can be forgiven anything.

They are our very sweet cool cats.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Aidan Woolf - our 2-year old grandson - lives in the house above our basement suite with his mother (our daughter Amy), father, two sisters, and St. Bernard (Bernie) who outweighs him by 100 lbs. He seems to listen at the door for the sound of Lloyd and/or I arriving home and, if we're not quick or quiet enough, he follows us down to our space. He particularly loves coming down when Papa is here. Maybe it's his need to escape his mostly female existence upstairs, or maybe he's just a man's man. Whatever it is, lately we've realized that he needs more male companionship.

He came downstairs the other night wearing Kenzie's wedge-heel sandals, carrying over his arm three frilly fancy easter bags.

In his defense, his two older sisters are girly-girls - very feminine little drama queens. He's surrounded by their girly paraphernalia and loves exploring their stuff, causing chaos as he goes.

Also please notice the dirty legs, in true boy style, and the impish grin on his face. He's a real sweetie.

Things will even up at his house this summer when his baby brother is born. Then there'll be three girls, three boys and one male dog. He'll come into his own in no time and will be instrumental in teaching his little brother how best to bug the girls, climb on unclimbable surfaces, shove furniture around the house, drive his mother crazy and win the hearts of his grandparents.

Way to go Aidan!