Sunday, March 28, 2010


Yesterday Lloyd and I celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary in the peace and quiet of our home, enjoying a good dinner and just spending time reminescing about the events of the past 39 years. Here are some of the highlights:

- 1971 - moved to High Level, AB, to start married life together

- 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1986 family steadily increased until there were 9 of us.

- we made a few trips from BC - NS (3000 miles) to visit family

- due to Lloyd's federal government job, we moved a lot, living in 16 different places from Cole Harbour, NS in the east to Prince George, BC in the west, finally settling in Edmonton, AB

- the children quickly grew up, completed high school, went on to college, got married, and started producing children of their own.

- 1997 - First grandchild is born, Jonah Quist, and then the fun really began. He was quickly followed by 17 more grandkids to date, with more on the way.

- 2008 - We had our first family reunion to celebrate my 60th birthday. There were 32 of us at that time...from Lloyd and me, our children, their spouses and children.

Of course there's a lot of events between the lines. We've had many occasions to beam with pride over the accomplishments of our children as they developed their skills and talents and became honest, responsible adults. Our family has covered a lot of ground, vacationing and living in the entire width of Canada, and visiting many of the United States. We've had our ups and downs but always dealt with them together and with love. I wouldn't trade our life's adventures for anything. They've made us strong, and our love and commitment to one another stronger. Not for one minute has either of us had reason to regret getting married all those years ago. I can't imagine spending those years with anyone else. Hopefully we'll have many more years together. After all, 60 is the new 40 so we should have lots of time left.

This morning, as a late anniversary gift, our 18th grandchild, 7th granddaughter, Hannah Rose MacKenzie, was born in Lethbridge, AB. We'll meet her and visit her parents and two brothers in the next few weeks. Welcome to the family Hannah Rose.

Friday, March 26, 2010

'Eye's' Fine!

I wasn't going to blog about my laser eye surgery but a couple of people have asked why I haven't done so yet, so here it is. No pictures though.

On Wednesday my good friend Mickey drove me to the hospital to have the surgery. I had no idea what to expect except that the opthamologist told me beforehand that the most painful part of the whole process was paying for the parking!

I've always been very nervous about anything to do with my eyes - just can't imagine life without my sight and don't like to take any risks with it. The process (it's hard for me to call it surgery when there were no knives involved!) was a necessary pre-emptive strike to prevent my narrow-angle glaucoma from developing into close-angle glaucoma, which leads quickly to blindness. My problem is that there's almost no space between my iris and cornea and the natural drainage that occurs there was impaired, causing pressure in my eye, which is glaucoma. In order to prevent the total blockage, the opthamalogist's goal was to shoot two holes is my iris with the laser, thus facilitating drainage. The process is called an iridotomy. Here's an article that describes almost exactly what I had done, with pictures.

That article pretty well says it all. My eye was numbed with eye drops to constrict my pupil. Then I went to the treatment room. Mickey timed how long I was in there - only 10 minutes. I sat on a stool and put my chin in the holder and my forehead against the forehead bar and then the Dr. put a special contact lens in my eye (the most uncomfortable part of the whole procedure, but very bearable) which focused the laser and kept my eyelids open and my eye still. Then she shot the iris. I could see the laser beams in my eye and felt a small pinch, but virtually no pain. When it was all over, she removed the lens, and said I was good to go. Mickey drove me home (after a detour for lunch at Burrito Libre) but I think if I had waited half an hour I would have been able to take myself home. I'm glad Mickey was there though because the vision in that eye was a bit blurry and I felt a bit off balance for a little while.

So we'll go through the same process on April 28 in my left eye. And I'm not the least bit apprehensive about it. In fact, I'm a big fan of laser eye surgery now and would even consider having surgery so I wouldn't need glasses anymore, but I kind of like wearing glasses.

I realize this is a rather dry blog entry, and boring to most of you, but it might help any of you who might be facing similar procesures to feel less apprehensive. It's really a quick and simple procedure. We're so lucky to have such technology available to us. I know I appreciate it.

And thanks to Mickey for being such a good and helpful friend. Everyone should have a friend like her.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's been more than a week since my last entry. Guess that happens when my life flows along without any appreciable bumps or turns to write about. Not that I want bumps or misdirections, and I sure enjoy life on an even keel, but it makes for boring blogs. I couldn't even get motivated enough to put together one about past history or general stuff. However, I guess I should start the week right and let you all know that I'm still alive and kicking.

Since Lloyd is in High Level right now, I had a quiet weekend planned - lots of scrapbooking and relaxation. My weekend starts on Friday - I work Mon - Thurs so every weekend is a long one. I love my Fridays. That's when Mickey and I get together for lunch and a couple hours of hanging out and getting caught up. Friday started out not so pleasantly though with a mammogram and bone density scan (necessary procedures for the aging female population). Not bad as I had expected - for those of you who have yet to experience the joys of mammography, never fear, it's improved in the three years since I had my last one. I mentioned to the technician that it didn't seem to squeeze and hurt so much this time and she told me that this was a new machine that senses when there's enough tissue involved and the pressure is right, so none of the 'extra squeeze for good measure' any more. Anything that improves the procedure is good in my books.

Saturday was Mike's birthday, but since he lives 5 hours away, we didn't get together to celebrate. We thought (hoped) maybe his birthday gift would be a new baby daughter - Avril had false labor last week - but no luck. After two sweet little boys, Mike is excited to get his little girl. I called, as usual, to sing happy birthday to him. As old as the kids get (6 of them are in their 30's already), they still expect and like me to sing to them on their birthdays - and believe me, my voice leaves a lot to be desired. It's the thought and the love that counts though. Happy birthday Mike.

Today I slept in till 9:00!! A rare thing for me. I got up, washed and changed into clean pyjamas and prepared for a day of staying in and scrapbooking...and doing laundry. Somehow it took me till noon to start - preparation is half of the fun. Then, having left the door open, I was visited most of the afternoon by the Woolf cubs.

Kenzie has discovered the game of Peggle on my MacBook and can play it for hours...then Sydney comes down to see what Kenzie is doing.

And of course Aidan wanders in and out at will. He brings armloads of toys with him when he comes. I have a closet with toys for the kids but he prefers his own.

Two-year Aidan became our hero today. He was laying on the carpet in front of our sliding closet door and called me to look at something. There, squashed between the door and the wall was a dead mouse. We assume that Aidan, who plays with the doors whenever he's down here, swung it closed at the right moment and 'took care' of the little visitor. Hopefully that's the last of his kind in the house.

I did manage to get one layout done today - one of our visit to Tombstone, AZ, and the Gunfight at OK Corral.

I guess I've rattled on and given more information than you could possibly be interested in so I'll shut down and go to bed. 'Night all.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

All Day Crop

Yesterday Mickey, Emily and I did something we haven't done in well over a year - we attended an all-day crop at our local scrapbooking store. We used to go to these marathon events once a month but gradually got out of the habit. They're great fun - about twenty scrappers set up on large tables in the back of the store and visit, chat, shop, and work on our projects. It was scheduled to run from 10 am till midnight, with the store owner supplying dinner, dessert, beverages and snacks for us. I love these sessions and look forward to doing more of them.

Here I am with two of the three layouts I completed. I'm a slow scrapper so considered it a good thing to finish three. It's too easy to get distracted by all the new products for sale at the front of the store.

Mickey is much quicker than I am. She decorated these blocks for her niece who is expecting a baby. It's hard to see the detail, but they're quite beautiful. She also almost completed a mini album.

Emily is a fast worker too. She managed to complete four layouts using her wedding pictures. She's been married for a year and a half already and is slowly working on her wedding album. In her defence, she's a very busy young lady. I love her style.
Em was the first of us to pack it in. She left at 7:00 to go to a party.
Mickey and I must be getting old because we only lasted till 9:00. We got uncomfortable sitting hunched over our work for so long, and all the Chinese food we had for dinner made us sleepy. We were embarassed to pack it in so early - we used to stay till they kicked us out after midnight! Ah well! It was a fun day, in good company, doing something we love to do, so we were totally satisfied with our day and night out.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Babies With Babies

I love little girls playing with baby dolls - not the Barbies that they all have - but real baby dolls. Our Elly is just such a little girl - she loves her baby dolls and has lots of them. At nap time she chooses the lucky ones to take to bed with her.

Today she found an empty laundry basket and decided it would make a good bed for her baby-of-the-day. She also found four of her 'gings' (receiving blankets that she clings to at bedtime). She spread one of the blankets on the bottom of the basket, put her baby on it then lifted the baby's head up very carefully and put another one in for a pillow. Then she put the other blankets over the baby, leaned in and kissed her, then started singing in her little two-year old toddler voice "go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep little baby". It was adorable.

You can tell how a little girl is cared for by the way she cares for her own babies.

She's actually sitting on her baby here.

And a mother/daughter portrait

She comes by it honestly...this is Elly's mom, Sara, with her baby doll.

And this is the real live baby girl that Elly will be able to play with this summer.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

More Tombstone Fun

Contrary to what you may think after reading yesterday's entry, a visit to Tombstone isn't all about graveyards and death. It was an interesting, informative, and fun adventure, especially for those of us fortunate enough to have cut our teeth on television shows of the old west in the 1950s and 60s.

What made the day more interesting for Lloyd and me was the fact that we had just watched the great movie called Tombstone, starring Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday and Kirk Russel was Wyatt Earp. I love it...and to actually go to Tombstone a couple days after watching it was an amazing experience. You must rent or buy the movie and watch it. I think it was made in 1994. Val Kilmer was perfect as Doc Holliday - funny and sarcastic and witty.

Tombstone is a 3.5 hr. drive from our home in Surprise, but it's well worth the drive. The old part of town (where the OK Corral is located) is still there, restored and cleaned , and the old newspaper office is still there with the original type-setting equipment and printing presses that were used to print the newspaper telling the story of the gunfight and other news of the town.

The best part of our visit there was watching a re-enactment of the Gunfight at OK Corral. The actors were very good and the one who played Doc Holliday was superb.

I wouldn't advise taking children to it though because it's a 40-minute play with just two or three minutes of gunplay at the end. Through actors representing the three Earp brothers, Doc Holliday and four of the cowboy gang, they told the story of how the gunfight came to happen. It helps to have seen the movie before.

There's also a diarama on the actual site of the gunfight, with life-size mechanical figures of the characters whose arms move and appear to shoot their guns.

The Bird Cage Theatre where Josephine (later called Sadie) acted is still standing - she later married Wyatt Earp. There are museum tours and at the Theatre they have a paranormal tour at night, for people 18 and over who are looking for an actual paranormal experience. The whole town is said to be haunted.

Stagecoach rides are available for those who wish to have a taste of old fashioned transportation.

Of course like all tourist sites, there were plenty of souvenirs, antiques, Tombstone movies and pictures to be had, but to me, that's all part of the charm of the old west towns down here in the American Southwest. I love it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Here Lies...

In honor of our trip to historic Tombstone today, I'm posting pictures of some of the restored tombstones at Boot Hill, Tombstone, AZ.

This first one was erected fairly recently in honor of a former slave, who was an AZ pioneer.

How would you like to be memoralized on a gravestone? "Here lies ..... ...., beloved wife, mother, etc. " How about some of these final resting place markers...

According to family history, Mr. Noonan was a lone rancher who was shot when he went out to chop wood.

Mrs. Ah Lum, born in China and buried in Boothill in 1906, had great influence amog the Chinese residents of Tombstone.

Mr. Heath was taken from county jail and lynched by Bisbee mob, Feb. 22, 1884. He was called the leader of the five men who were legally hanged and was said to have planned the robbery. He was hanged from a telegraph pole a short distance west of the court house.

Poor Mrs. Stump - not even given her first name - she died in childbirth from an overdose of chloroform given her by the doctor.

This is my favorite. "Here lies Lester Moore, Four slugs from a .44, No Les, no more." Moore was a Wells Fargo agent at Naco and had a dispute with a man over a package. Both died.

Marshall White's death is depicted in the movie Tombstone, starring Val Kilmer and Kirk Russell. Mr. White was accidentally shot as he started to take Curly Bill's gun.

Poor George Johnson really got a bad deal. A good argument against capital punishment, or for better investigation of crimes.

Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury and Frank McLaury were murdered on the streets of Tombstone, 1881 - tragic results of the Gunfight at O.K. Corral which took place between the Earp Brothers with Doc Holliday, and the cowboys. Three men were killed and three were wounded. (see the movie Tombstone I mentioned earlier - a great movie.)

Frank Bowles' horse became frightened and threw him off. This caused a rifle to discharge and badly injure his knee. He lay in camp for several weeks without medical attention and when friends took him to a doctor for amputation, it was too late. (Information provided by his daughter). His marker reads, "As you pass by, remember this, as you are so once was I. And as I am you soon will be. Remember me".

That's just a sampling of some at Boot hill. I have lots more pictures from our trip to Tombstone today and I'll probably blog about them later. Lloyd and I were talking on our way home (a 3.5 hr trip - we had to do something to pass the time!!) and we realized that we're excited about this old west history because we were raised on cowboys and indians on television - Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, etc. But our children and their children weren't so they're not as enthusiastic as we are when we hear about and see these old places we used to see on television when we were kids. Pity - they've missed a lot. Oh well, that's why we blog about them!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Rob

In honor of our baby boy's 38th birthday, here's one of my favorite quotes from him.

We had been visiting my parents when Rob was 9 or 10 and as usual he was teasing his younger sisters and brother. After watching this for awhile my mother said to him, "Rob, why do you torment your sisters so much". To which he replied, "Its my job".

Happy birthday Rob. I can't believe I've been doing this mothering 'job' for 38 years. It's kids like you who made it easy for me.

This picture was taken around the time of his "Its my job" quote. Being the oldest of this bunch of kids, I imagine it was hard not to tease the younger siblings.

And then a few years later, yet another victim was added to his gang. In spite of the teasing, Rob has always been a good big brother to his siblings.

Happy birthday Sonny-bub.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Arizona Rain

We have loved coming down to Arizona to bask in the sun and the heat during the not so sunny and warm Alberta winters. This trip we're seeing a different side of Arizona winter. They've had record amounts of rain this winter. It's still warmer than Alberta though so we're enjoying it.

The sky was amazing. There were rolling dark thunderclouds interspersed with blue and grey and white sky. There was no doubt that the rain was going to start.

As long as we've been coming down here we've never seen water in New River, or any of the other dry riverbeds in this area. The riverbeds were just dry washes with shrubs and grasses growing in them. Yesterday as we crossed one of the bridges across New River, we actually saw a real river - water! Cool.

This is a picture from the same bridge as above, only the other side, taken as we were returning home from watching the most exciting Gold Medal hockey game ever! Go Canada!

We were in a store during the worse of the rain storm yesterday. The sound of the rain beating on the roof was incredible. I heard a girl ask her mother, "Is that rain??" We went out before the rain stopped and it felt different from AB rain - it was warm and soft and fell in great big plops. The intersections had a hard time handling the deluge so we had to go carefully through huge puddles.

Everything looked clean and fresh as we made our way home. It hadn't rained so much in Surprise though. It's amazing how localized the rain was.

We topped our wet day off by having a moonlight swim in the pool. The air temperature was around 67F but the water temp was 85. It was beautiful - there was a mist rising off the water and the moon was full, with rainbow colors reflecting in the clouds around it. I could have stayed out there for peaceful and calm after the excitement of the day.