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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Duffy Came Home!

Two years ago today (which also happens to be Dave's mom's birthday) we brought little Duffy home from Davenloch. He's brought lots of changes--good ones-- he fills my days, makes me laugh, is a hit wherever he goes, and he's my best buddy.  Here are some pictures from that hot June 29, 2008.

                                                    On that first day he examined flowers
 Schmoozed with Dave
                                                                                  Took a giant step!
Found the coolest spot in the poppies and by the water barrel
And sacked out--whew what a day!

Friday, June 25, 2010

A new addition

To the yard that is! Nope, not a new puppy...yet!LOL! Anyway, when I was a kid we had a bird bath--one of those plastic ones that you put rocks in the stand so it doesn't tip over when a bird lands on it. That was fine, until we came home one day and the whole thing was tipped over and a poor baby robin was lying half dead by the garage. If cats are going to stalk and attack a bird, then kill it--don't leave it to linger in misery.  The robin died and that was the end of the bird bath.  I think Mother did put a pan of water under the spruce trees from time to time.  Well last week when we had some warm days and I saw the robins sitting with the their beaks open and wings outstretched, trying to cool off, I decided it was time to get a bird bath.  With Duffy in the back yard, there hasn't been a cat near the property! Yay for Duffy! It's not that he dislikes cats--he's intrigued with them in fact--but they don't like/trust him.  I think his size has something to do with it!!

With Dave here for a few days we went to Canadian Tire and I dragged him to the bird baths.  They still have those plastic ones--now it's $20 for the stand and another $20 for the basin. $40 for plastic? I don't think so! So for an additional $20 we got this iron bird bath complete with birdie! So far no birds have been at it--I think.  Maybe the iron birdie scares them! Or maybe it needs to be in a different place.  We are supposed to get some upper 20's temps in a few days so maybe the birds will discover it then.  For me, +25, with a 70% humidity and 17 hours of sunshine have been quite hot enough, thanks! Even broke out the air conditioner on Monday. But I hope I get to see birdies frolicking in the bath soon!

                                           We did have a hare in the front yard though!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Yay! My rings are back!

I'm so pleased!  I picked up my rings yesterday--I thought it would be at least a week or more before they would be ready.  I think the jeweler did a fine job of matching the sapphires and the diamonds are so bright  and shiny again! Mind you the cost was $718, but the rings look as good as new.  When I put them on, it felt like I was getting married all over again! lol

What a difference!

Friday, June 18, 2010


The irises are in full bloom and all their glory.  I would love to have the purple ones and the pale mauve ones too. I have darker yellow irises hiding among the delphiniums out in the garden, but they aren't open yet.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ack! Can you see what's missing?

On Saturday I mowed the lawn, and worked until 10 planting the rest of my flowers. I had noticed that my garden gloves kept catching on my engagement ring, but just thought it was because I wear those black rubber on one side, cloth on the the top side gloves and they fit, well, like a glove! Haha! Later after I showered and was watching TV, I could feel the clasps scratching all the time, so I actually looked at my ring and to my horror the middle sapphire was missing! Ack!

I knew I had the jeweler's insurance appraisal filed in Olds, so I asked Dave to look for it--I knew which file cabinet and which drawer it was in! I wanted the exact description of the stones so I could tell the jeweler.  Well after 3 days with 2 phone calls a day mind you, Dave finally remembered to look for it and  and he still had to phone back with the info because he had forgotten again! Anyway, I'm off to the jeweler's today to get the stone replaced. Considering I have been wearing the ring for 21 1/2 years, since December 1988, I guess loosing a stone after all this time isn't too bad. Oh, and if you noticed that maybe a stone was missing from the wedding ring--you'd be right!  That happened a few years ago so I'm going to get that replaced too. The wedding ring was custom made to fit the engagement ring. I'm not a diamonds kind of gal--I like colored stones and diamonds as accents, so that's why my rings are not the traditional wedding ring set.

Because I feel naked without a ring on my left hand, I'm wearing this ring in the meantime. A number of years ago, Dave gave me this ring with a matching necklace.  But I will be very, very happy to get my rings back!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

SWD 5th Annual BBQ

On Friday (June 11) SWD put on our 5th "Where's the Beef?" BBQ at the Edmonton General.  The 1st BBQ launched SWD and the idea was to give residents a meal they don't receive often--hamburgers--along with several salads, ice cream and pop. I think this was the best one yet! We had residents from Units 11Y and 4AB attending this year as well as some staff from those units and some guests.  Although we would like to have everyone at the BBQ, there's only room for 2 units in the auditorium, so they are chosen by draw.

"Mr. Melody" entertained for the first half and he was pretty good.  We also had a Grade 5 class from Grandin School here in Edmonton in attendance.  They helped out by getting plates of food for the residents,  sat and ate with the residents, and then provided the entertainment for the 2nd half of the BBQ. They have a string section in the band and they performed 2 songs, including Ode to Joy, which is pretty ambitious for students only in their 2nd year with the instruments.  Two girls sang acapella, and then the whole group put on a terrific little skit.  They took well-known fairy tales--Cinderella, The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, etc.--mixed them together, and put a modern spin on them.  So the heroines all had cell phones and chorused "WHAT EVERRR"" at opportune moments. LOL!  They were pretty funny and they clearly had fun too. 
Mr. Melody doing his Elvis impersonation. "I wanna be your teddy bear"!
The song birds
The skit
We also honored Edwin Collins, who has now retired from volunteering with Family Council, SWD, and the Welcoming Committe.  He's almost 91 and has decided to 'slow down' a bit and concentrate on his square dancing. I sure hope I can be that active at that age and live that long too!  Edwin is a real gentleman and it's been a delight to work with him on all the committees and Family Council.  His wife had been a resident at the EG and although she passed away 5 years ago, he continued to volunteer.  He loves to hug everyone and we love to hug him back! We will miss you Edwin, but enjoy your 'retirement'

Al Pierog, VP Caritas Continuing Care honoring Edwin. Bill Williams is sitting and looking over his notes--he's next to speak! And that other gentleman? That's my daddy! He gets to come to these events because I'm on the committee!

Bill and Lorraine Williams with Edwin Collins. They were all in Family Council right from its inception.

Edwin saying a few words.
The SWD gals-Diane, Doreen, and Kay who just had knee replacement surgery 3 weeks ago. You can't keep a Greek down for long!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Second Wind Dreams Wins an Award!

This is where I and my fellow Second Wind Dreamers were Wednesday evening. It's Government House and was once the residence of the Lt.-Governors of Alberta--well the first 6 anyway. Building started in 1912 and it was officially opened in 1913.  It was closed as a residence in 1938 after Lt.-Governor Bowen refused to give Royal Assent to 3 bills William Aberhart's Social Credit government wanted passed. Although the economic times of the Depression were cited as the reason, Aberhart had the electricity and heat shut off, and after a few days of trying to tough it out, Bowen and his family moved out. Aberhart also removed Bowen's support staff and official car. From that point on, no Lt.-Governor ever lived at Government House again. In 1966 a residence was purchased in the Glenora district for the Lt.-Governors. That residence was torn down in 2005 and at present there is no official residence for the Lt.-Governors in Alberta. Aberhart's government sold off all the wonderful Edwardian furniture and fixtures--thanks for that! In the 1940's the place was used as a boarding house for American pilots ferrying supplies for the Alaska Highway; then it was a federal military hospital; and then a convalescent home for vets after the war. In fact, Diane's dad, who was in the Royal Canadian Navy, spent sometime there after he was injured when his ship was torpedoed.  She had never known about this until she told him this week that we would be dining at Government House. His 2 brothers were serving on the same ship and were killed in that torpedo attack.

The property was returned to the province in 1964: a Provincial Museum was built on part of the grounds and Government House was restored and re-opened as a conference centre. Some further renovations were done in the 1970's and in 1985 Government House was declared to be a Provincial Historical Resource. It's a beautiful building--I had never been in it before.  We were given a tour, dined on the 1st floor, the reception was on the 2nd floor, and the official pictures were taken on the 3rd floor where there is a fabulous 100+ seats conference room in the round.

Second Wind Dreams was one of the 3 recipients of the group Minster's Senior Service Award.  These awards have been given out for 13 years and there were a total of 80 nominations for group and individual awards this year. We had known for about a month that we had won, but the official statement was issued on Wednesday. Not all the members of the committee were able to attend, but we were allowed to have 5 people and we also invited Averil Suriyakumaran  from the Edmonton General to join us. Claire, a resident at the EG, is on the SWD committee and she was thrilled to be able to attend such a function--it was probably the most exciting thing that has happened in her life.  She is in her 50's and has been a resident at the EG in a wheelchair for over 10 years now.  Imagine what it must be like for the younger people who are consigned to a life in a long-term care facility either because of diseases like MS, or because of injuries. And the majority of the other residents are over 75. Something to think about if we get to feeling sorry for ourselves.

Anyway, we were introduced to the new Lt.-Governor, His Honour Col. Retired Donald Ethell, who has only been in the job for a month. He's quite informal and was new to the whole protocol thing.  His Aide-de-Camp, a lovely young gal in the military shepherded him around. We met the Minister of Seniors, Mary Anne Jablonski and other government types.  The MLA for Edmonton Centre (where the EG is located), Laurie Blakeman was there and  sat with us at our table and gave the introduction for SWD. She was the only Liberal MLA there and has been quite supportive of the EG and our issues. Diane and I were interviewed by Omni TV (although I have yet to see the interview on their newscasts),  we all admired the wonderful paintings, all by Alberta artists of course, that have been purchased for Government House,  had a fancy dinner, and then received our award. We didn't know this before but the government only wanted 2 reps of the group to be in the pictures and receive the award and that ended up being Diane and I. We weren't happy about that because we had thought that everyone would be up there. But Doreen, Claire, and Kay were mentioned and acknowledged.

Our award

I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we had a most lovely evening and felt pretty special. It was so gratifying to be acknowledged for the work we do at the EG--especially since we often struggle to get support from some sectors of the EG. The SWD committee is composed of 6-8 people, gets all our money from private donations, not government funding, and has managed to fulfill 105+ plus wishes in the largest long-term care facility in Alberta and I think, Canada--504 residents. Mind you, the work that the other award recipients was pretty impressive and we felt humbled in their presence.

Doreen took some pictures, but she doesn't download them, just prints them off at Wal-Mart or wherever, so I have no photos other than this one of the award.  But we are supposed to get a CD of the photos and  some printed for us too. So I will post another blog when we get pictures.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Gardening cont.

We had a lovely weekend with the temperatures getting better everyday.  We hit 23 yesterday! Whoo Hoo! But today we are back to the gray skies and light rain. Not to be outdone by Jolene (hee hee!) I've got the latest pix of my yard that I took yesterday. I think everybody had a busy day yesterday by the sounds of it.  I walked Duffy, then gave him a good brushing outside, showered, went to the EG, took my dad to the Rooftop Garden for the 1st time this year, went to Planet Organic for my faves like spanokopita and margarita pizza, then to Safeway and home. I watered flowers and tomatoes and then sat outside and started reading The Shaman Laughs by James D. Doss. I picked it up for 99 cents at Save-On and now I want to read all the books in his Ute tribal policeman Charlie Moon series! Doss writes in a similar vein to Tony Hillerman, who wrote the wonderful series about Navajo policemen Jim Chee and Lt. Leaphorn. But I digress...I still have a bunch of geraniums and a few other plants to re-pot and then I will be done planting! Next comes the weeding! Yippee!

The peas, beets, lettuce, and some corn are up, although you can't see them in this photo.
42 tomato plants in all! I've run out of tomato cages again!

And here's the lord and master of all he surveys!