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Monday, May 31, 2010


Back in April, when we had a week of temperatures in the mid and even high 20's, I began to think that we could put our garden in earlier than usual. The rule of thumb is to wait until the Victoria Day long weekend before planting, so as to avoid the chance of a late frost. So I figured we might be able to plant the weekend of the May 15th and 16th. Then we had 4 inches of snow on May 4!  But the weekend of May 16-16 was pretty nice, and on Monday it was +26 and on Tuesday we hit +31!  Looking good! I had wanted Dave to be up here that weekend, roto-till the garden and we could get it planted. But he had some puttering/jobs to do and wasn't here. Then it started to rain, we dropped to +2 by Friday and the long weekend was lousy and wet. Except for Monday afternoon, when most of us on this block mowed our lawns! Looked nice too! By Wednesday, the garden was dry enough, Dave got here in the morning with the cultivator, worked in 6 bags of sheep maure, and voila the garden was ready to plant. We did that on Thursday.

Tomatoes will be going on the right side of the section closest to the camera and also to the west of the raspberries. The lilacs are in full bloom, but the cherry tree is almost done.

The day got cloudier and cooler and then it rained that night. Rain is good--helps those little seeds to germinate.  It rained hard Saturday afternoon. Then at 6 in the evening it started to snow!

By 7 it looked this and it only got worse! Yuck! We got about an inch by Sunday morning, but they got more down south--4 inches in Olds. And the temperature was +2 again. But nothing froze! Yay!

Do you think we have finally seen the last of the snow?  Will the garden grow with these below normal temperatures? Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Mother c. 1943 Normal School Teacher Training. Mother was a real looker--like Hollywood actresses of the day.

This is the first Mother's Day without my mother. I know it's a created occassion and has been commercialized over the years, but still it represents an idea of honoring one's mother. I kept wanting to go to the card sections of stores and have been feeling that I'm forgetting to do something. I suppose that as time passes, I will get used to not doing all the things that I have done every year--bake a cake, get flowers, and since 2005 spend a portion of the day with Mother at the EG. This year, Dave and I are going to the cemetery.

I have scanned some pictures--they are old and they don't always scan well, so bear with me!

Mother on the left with some of her students at Bruyere School 1946--preparing for the school concert

Mother and her best friend, Elsie Powley--1947. Elsie got married that year and Mother was her Maid of Honor. Elsie was Mother's Matron of Honor when my parents married 2 years later.

My mother was not always an easy person to know or live with--she was the boss, things had to be her way, and she had very definite ideas about how things should be and what people should be doing--including me of course. Mother was a teacher by profession and I always thought she was a great teacher, but not the warm, fuzzy mother-type, She was ahead of her time in many ways. She went back to work after I was born ( and this was in the 1950's), she designed a house without any training and then proceeded to build that house. She went back to university to finish her B.Ed. in 1970, the same year I started university. We graduated at the same time in 1975.


c.1957 I love this picture--Mother is looking gorgeous and I'm squinting from the sun and wearing a pink organza dress that Mother made. I still have it. Don't look at the ugly oxfords I had to wear!

Although I struggled throughout most of my life with feeling that I was somewhat of a disappointment to Mother, in the last few years of her life, while she could still talk, she did tell me, on more than one occassion, that she thought I was great and that I did everything so well. Kind of a bittersweet situation. But I owe my mother so much--she showed me by example that a woman could and should be tough and strong, and be able to do things and not need to lean on a man. Everything that I do have a talent for, she taught me those skills and was top-notch in them herself--sewing, cooking, baking, gardening. She encouraged my education and my love of reading. She always did want the best for me.

Grandma, Mother and I--c. 1973. Peasant blouses were in!

Pinning on Mother's corsage at my parents' 60th Anniversary party.

I miss you Mother. Love you forever.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Big Day!

Thursday May 6 was a big day! One reason was a our Second Wind Dreams (SWD) Art Sale and Pyramid Auction Fundraiser. This program has been at the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre for 5 years and is volunteer run--chiefly by about 8 of us! It is a sad comment on this world that in a facility of 500 residents, so few family members volunteer for our Family Council, the Welcoming Committee, and SWD. In fact it's the same 8 people who do all of this. And when it comes to the Welcoming Committe, it's about 4 of us who take turns every month delivering our welcoming package of a card and either a stuffed teddy bear or puppy.

With SWD we have had varying degrees of support from staff and admin over the years and that can make it difficult to get the wishes from the residents and to fulfill them. Nevertheless in the 5 years of operation we are at wish 105--so I think we have done pretty well! We are so fortunate to have Diane Berge, who was the one who heard about this program from a lady in Calgary and thought we should have it at the EG. Diane has worked in a variety of  jobs over the years and has some amazing contacts, especially in the art field as she ran an art gallery. She's a natural schmoozer, so that helps a lot! I'm not--I leave that to Duffy! lol!

We have had a wide array of dreams over the years--from a trip to the dollar store or a dinner out to a 3-day pass to the Edmonton Indy where the resident was even taken into the pit, tickets to an Edmonton Oilers hockey game, luaus on units, and helping a group of younger residents go to a dinner theatre. In my own case, my mother, who had never been in an airplane in her life, was able to take a plane ride and fly over the farm she grew up on just north of Edmonton. In addition when my parents were going to be celebrating their 60th anniversary last September the SWD team helped me out. As I am alone, it would have been a daunting task to do it all myself, but they decorated the unit, Diane baked a cake and they helped out at the event.

We have become a close-knit group and are good friends. When my mother died in January, I was sent a dozen white roses and they also sent a beautiful wreath for the funeral. Doreen, Kay, Edwin, and Diane attended the funeral and Diane even came out to the cemetary--which is out of town. These ladies and 2 gentleman are some of the best people I have ever met and I feel so honored to know them and work with them.  They have all gone through the loss of loved ones, had put their best efforts into looking after their loved ones, and feel that volunteering at the EG is an important thing to do. And they continue do this even though some of them no longer have loved ones in care. They are an inspiration and I admire, respect, and love them.

Kay, Doreen, and Diane at the ticket selling table. Diane's daughter Therese is in the background in black, and David, one of the EG chaplains is by the table

Diane explaining the pyramid auction.

So our fundraiser--we started planning it last year and I think it went well. We partnered with the Epilepsy Association as both long-term care and epilipsy suffer from being hidden in the shadows and having such a negative connotation. One of the big reasons for our SWD program is to show people that just because someone is in long-term care, it doesn't mean their life is immediately over or that they still don't have dreams to fulfill and that they can't have fun.We learned some things from our first venture with a fundraiser this size--like don't bother with a lunch! Coffee and cookies are enough! I don't think we made as much as we hoped, but we got good exposure, local artists were able to show their work, and as usual we had fun too!
Doreen and Kay

Edwin, who is 90 and still volunteers and Louis, who had a book signing for his The Dragon and the Cross

Edith (standing), Kay, and yours truly who is still suffering from a sinus cold and cough!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Duffy's 2nd Birthday!

Duffy is already 2 years old today! We've gone through a lot in the last 2 years with this difficult, stubborn, willful, rambunctious, tough, strong, loving, schmoozing, protective, and intelligent boy. He's been a challenge and I have had to constantly look for new ways to train and deal with him--no easy dog this one.  But, he has settled down and matured some more in the last few months and I'm pretty sure that by the time Duffy is 3, he's going to be the most fabulous dog. But meanwhile, we are going to enjoy every minute of his 2nd year! Happy Birthday my Duffy Boy!
Jolene is holding up Duffy on May 24, 2008. We had been out when the puppies were 2 weeks old, eyes not opened yet, but we didn't take any pictures. Thanks to Jolene for taking some at 3 weeks!
And there's the tail--right from the start! A couple of days before we brought him home from Davenloch.
Always inquisitive! June 29, 2008.
Duffy at 1 year old--May 4, 2009
May 2010
He's so handsome!
What a day for a birthday! May 4, 2010

Duffy out in the storm. Happy Birthday anyway!