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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Guess what came in the mail??

How come people can't spell my name correctly, especially when they only have to copy it from a form????Sheesh!!
What's in the box you ask? Well it's the aerial photograph of my grandpa's farm that I ordered at Farm Fair.  I wasn't expecting it so soon--I thought maybe in December. It's my birthday and Christmas present to myself!!!!! They had a booth there with tons and tons of photos taken from just after WWII up to the 1990's and this company called Homestead Aerial Photos of Alberta will take the small photo and do a framed picture with a choice of 3 sizes, frames, and close-up views if that's what is wanted. This photo is from 1958, 2 years after Grandpa died. I wish I could see who the people are beside that building--I suspect 2 of them are my uncles!! Good guess there!! They took over the farm after Grandpa died.  That's Highway 28 running through the photo and it separates the 3 quarters on the west side of the highway from the one on the east where the people are standing. You can't see the NW quarter though. You can see one of the 2 oil wells that were on the home quarter.  Some years ago, the oil company took off the pump jack etc. and shut them down.  But I bet there's still oil down there.

There was a lot more bush on the south side back then--over the years Uncle Mike would get out his trusty 1950 Caterpillar tractor and work on knocking the bush down. That was the first vehicle I ever drove--I was 9 and he showed me the forward and backward leavers and left me to it in the middle of the pasture area. He taught me how to drive a tractor too and way before I ever got my license he would let me drive his new cars around the farm.  When I got my first car, my beloved Blue Belle in 1978, he got to drive it. In 1979 he bought an Olds Delta 88, and I got to drive it.  That was the last car he purchased and I was supposed to be given that car.  Somehow I doubt that Nick will honor his promise though.

Anyway, this photo brings back so many memories--I love that place, it's the heart and soul of me.  Even though it is unlikely that I will ever be able to have that farm, even though it should come to me, as I am the last of the line and my uncles never married or had any children, it will always be a special place to me.  It's where my mother grew up and she related so many stories to me of life on that farm in the 1930's and 1940's. She loved that farm so very much and therefore it was not a surprise to me when on the day of her funeral, as we drove by the farm on the way to Bon Accord cemetery which is about 3 miles from the farm, that the sun came out from behind the clouds and continued to shine until after the interment was completed.  Mother was happy, she was home. And I feel happy too, having this photo.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A trip to Lethbridge in the cold and a nasty cold!!

Don't Jolene and Kort look like they having fun??
 Last Thursday I embarked on my mini-adventure to Lethbridge via the Greyhound bus. We left Edmonton at 8:30 AM and arrived in Lethbridge at 6:45 PM (we should have arrived at 5:55).  That was a loong day! The snowy roads in and around Calgary accounted for the delay. I also had a 2 hour lay-over in Calgary which was very boring except for watching an officious little female security twit order the next north bound bus passengers around. Greyhound now has a policy--sort of, depends where you are--of checking your carry on luggage and even wanding passengers. The excuse for this was the beheading of a passenger on an Edmonton to Winnipeg route in 2008. While an extremely gruesome and horrible event, done by someone who appeared to act like a robot and possibly had been programmed in some kind of way, nothing remotely like this had ever happened before on Greyhound buses. In Edmonton, the security guy just felt around in the bags, in Lethbridge they didn't check anything, but in Calgary it was a big production.  Apparently they got their training from the USA's Homeland Security!!  They wear bullet proof vests and little Miss Power Has Gone to My Head really struts and yells orders.  Last Thursday there were too many passengers for one bus, so they asked for volunteers to wait for another one and apparently they couldn't let the one bus load go until they had sorted out changing the tickets of the ones staying.  So those poor passengers stood for over 1/2 an hour before they could load.  I was prepared for my return trip though!! We had to wait 1/2 an hour too as there was no bus!!

Jolene picked me up and took me to the Sandman to get checked in. We then went out for supper to a place called Treats--which was excellent!! I must say that I ate well in Lethbridge!!! I spent Friday with my other friend who lives in Lethbridge--Lin.  She's the person who introduced Dave and I to each other!!! I got to see her mom, her brother, my goddaughter Dani who is 20 now (where has the time gone???), and finally meet her husband Karl.  They have been together for 15 years and this was the first time I met him!! Sheesh eh? Dave had met him before though. Lin told Dave that the Sandman was where the prostitutes and the drug dealers hang out!  He said, "Well Dianne will be used to that from the places she lived in Saskatoon."!! But later Dani set the record straight--they hang around in Denny's which is attached to the Sandman, but they can't afford the room rates!! Hahahahaha!!! Good point!! That's my goddaughter!!!

Saturday and Sunday were spent at the dog show with Jolene and Kort and I got to meet Jolene's friends--now I can put a face to their blogs and to Jolene's blog posts!!  I watched the highs and lows of obedience and rally and learned a lot. The 2 judges were really super and want to see the dogs qualify.  I got to see Kort get 2 legs of his Novice A!!! Yeah for Kort and Jolene!! I got to see Tate too and Jolene's house.  She was soooo worried that it was soooo dirty and there was nothing wrong with it at all!! Lin was the same way!! Can you tell they are both Virgos???? I had a little bit of an opportunity to see what 2 collies in a house looked like--space wise.  I can handle it!! At one point I was scratching Tate's butt with one hand and Kort's with the other!!! Heaven!!

The weather was cold and snowy for the whole time--much colder than normal for this time of year.  But I had a great time--Jolene is a wonderful hostess!!! At the dog show I bought 2 packages of dehydrated lamb lung and a toy for Duffy--like he needs more--and a bait pouch. Gas prices are higher in Lethbridge compare to Edmonton--like 6 cents higher, and so were prices in the stores from the little bit of shopping I did. This was the first time I had been in Lethbridge in the 'winter'.  But every place looks the same in winter up here in Canada!!!

I don't have much in the way of pictures-- I wish there were some of Lin and family and Jolene and I.  As for all my videos? Where did they go?  I soooo suck at this camera stuff. I had all kinds of videos including Jolene and Kort getting their 2nd leg prize. Jolene will never speak to me again!!!! Good thing Amanda has a real video camera and taped everything!! Guess I better read that instructional manual!!
Here comes Kort!!
Amanda and Pixel

Kort doing Figure 8's

 I had a wonderful time though--it was just what I needed--to get away from the grind that I am in here in Edmonton and have been for the past 6 years.  I picked up a cold though, somewhere on my travels, so I am feeling kind of yucky. But better now, than at Christmas.

Many thanks to Lin and Jolene!! My 2 Lethbridge friends!! Maybe you 2 will meet one day!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

At the Rodeo!!

Dave and I went to the opening night of the Canadian National Finals Rodeo Wednesday evening, held in Rexall Place. We sat in the nosebleeds seats--that's the catch for the reduced in price tickets for Northlands volunteers!! But there is a section that is even higher up--there you have to fight off the pigeons!! Hahaha!! We had a good time--I looove rodeos!!! And even though they have added more kitchy elements to this rodeo to make it more like the National Finals in Las Vegas, once the actual events began, it was a darn good rodeo.  Mind you, outdoor rodeos are still the best!!

While most of the cowboys were from Alberta, of course, there was a smattering from B.C. and Saskatchewan and even one from Ontario.  There were a number of American cowboys there too with the biggest group in Tie-Down Roping. Highlights for me included seeing Scandia, Alberta's Alwin Bouchard take the Tie-Down Roping event so quickly and quietly, that a lot of people didn't even catch it! With a score of 8.1 he beat out Decatur, Texas' Tuf Cooper and Spanish Fork, Utah's Clint Robinson. Alwin wears glasses too!!  I also whooped and hollered and clapped for Sierra Stoney as she  took first place in Ladies Barrel Racing with a 14.53.  I always cheer for Native cowboys and cowgirls--it's a lot harder for them to make it in the big circuits. And the best event was a demonstration of speed riding and shooting. A gal from Australia and 2 brothers from the USA put on the demonstration and it was fantastic.  They are all world class, top winners in the event.  I love target shooting ( my fave firearm is a good old 22) and if I may blow my own horn a little--am really good at it. But on a galloping horse firing a rifle with one hand!! Wow!! So exciting and pretty impressive.

Sitting so high up, it was hard to get good pictures and by the time I wised up and started taking videos, my camera was running out of juice. But here are some pictures and video from the evening.

For the first time in the history of the Canadian Finals, the contestants were handed their back numbers in a special ceremony.

Coming off a bull!!

I just had to take a picture of the blond with several bird's nests and mops in her hair!!!  What was she thinking? And has no one told her what her hair looks like? Eeeeee!!

The Miss Rodeo Canada 2011 Contestants

The 2 brothers in a contest of riding and shooting.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Duffy Graduated!!!!!

Yesterday was the last class for Basic Manners at Dogspaw. We arrived at the usual time and I gave Duffy his usual walk of a couple of blocks near the  place just to give him a chance to pee and get some of his energy out of his system. Turned out the instructor had locked herself out of her house and was running late.  She phoned so that the staff  could set things up the way she wanted for the testing. The chairs were supposed to be along the far wall and the test area in the main part where we usually sit. Well, instead the chairs were put in the main area and all the test stuff was right in front of us.  Crowded much? All the dogs were hyped up--like they knew it was the last class and test day??? And the different set up told them something was up!!! Duffy peed twice--well the first one I know was his and the 2nd might have been Artie's as Artie was walking past Duffy--but I cleaned that one up anyway!  Artie peed (again?) later. Duffy hasn't peed in class since the 2nd class, so that tells you how hyper he was!! The goof dog belonging to the older goof guy, had a major poop ( or I guess it seems major because this was out of a kibble fed dog--yikes, imagine cleaning that amount of poop up all the time!!!) in the other area, so it was a fun time!!!!!

We got down to the testing and started with how many sits the dog could do in 30 seconds, then how many downs, how fast the dog could do a "Front", walking over 6 poles layed out on the floor, weaving around cones with distracting toys along side, weaving around the cones holding a glass of water, weaving with our hands behind our back and the dog behind us, and "Go to Your Mat/Bed" with a 5 second count of staying there. About half way through the dogs settled down and even the Goof twosome were able to accomplish a couple of the tests. We all had fun and there was lots of clapping for each other and "Good Job"!!! Took some pictures, but it was hard to do under the circumstances and they aren't great.  The husband of the lab puppy family, came along to take pictures--they had the right idea!!

Oscar and his owner
Artie and his owner

Duffy did really well (awesome was the word used by the instructor!!) He did 7 sits and I think 6 downs--but he gets to the point with that kind of stuff where he thinks it's boring--which is why all the books tell us not to do too much repetitive stuff with a Collie and to keep the training sessions short. It's like, "Why am I doing all these sits? I've shown you I can do them! Let's move onnnnn. Sheesh!!!" We had a touch on the poles--I think it was my clumsy foot!! So we got to do it again. No problems that time.  Funny comment from the lab puppy owner about Oscar the dachshund doing the poles--would be like hurdles for him!! LOL! Duffy did the "Go to your bed" well but I made a mistake and forgot to say stay, so he got up at 4 seconds!! My bad!! The weaving was excellent--didn't even have to say "Leave it" for the toys, didn't drop any water, and even got a comment from the instructor pointing out how well Duffy was watching me as we did the cone weaving!! And the piece de resistance was Duffy's "Front"--took him just 3 seconds to get to me and sit!!! Yay for Duffy!! We have been doing the "Front" with me having my back turned, at home, and he comes a running and comes around the front and sits!! We didn't have to do that in class though.

My Duffy!!!♥♥♥♥ I had to tell Goof Owner to get his Goof Dog out of the way, as we were trying to take a picture.  He was letting her come over to Duffy. I wish now, that I had take a pic of the Goof Twosome!

Elaine the instructor, with Duffy. Now that's focus!!

I am really pleased with how well Duffy has done--even though last night, the best dogs at times looked like they were just starting the classes, not finishing them!! That would be Duffy and Artie!! The lab puppy, Jenny, did well for her age, the Bouvier, which is already the size of a pony, seems to be a difficult dog to train and has a tendency to be growly at times, Oscar the mini-dachshund, did some things okay, but has never been into the class, Goof Dog (she has some kind of odd name I could never quite catch and the instructor could never remember--like Veezla or something) occupied a lot of the time as the instructor tried, yet again, to coach the Goof Owner and dog, and Artie did very well.  After class, when everyone else was gone, we let Artie and Duffy play together for awhile.

What's next for my star dog? Hahaha! Well the next set of classes start next Tuesday--"Polishing Class" with an optional 7th week for testing with a Canadian Kennel Club Canine Good Neighbor Evaluator, to assess the dog's progress and the possible awarding of a CGN certificate. I'm really interested, but I have a couple of problems.  It's dark now--both for going to class and coming home and I am partially night blind and shouldn't really be driving at night.  As well, I don't have the truck and if the weather turns wintry, I wouldn't be driving that beautiful mint condition 1986 Olds!! The truck has 4 wheel drive, so I feel safer for winter roads.So...I'll have to decide by next Tuesday! Meanwhile, it's off to the Canadian National Finals Rodeo tonight!! Yee Haw!!!! I promise to take better pictures!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November 9

Today would have been my mother's 88th birthday.

Happy Birthday Mother. I miss you more every day. ♥

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Duffy showing off his blue eye!!
Duffy and I had our 5th class last night and it went well although all the dogs seemed distracted and Duffy wasn't as focused as he has been--maybe it's the phase of the moon? Anyway, the instructor gave us extra things to do because Duffy is so smart--thank goodness one of us is!! Hahahahaha!! So while everyone practised a stay and front, she had us try it with me turning my back to Duffy and saying 'Front'. At first he didn't want to break that stay but with me waggling a treat behind my back he did come and I enticed him around to the front.  We will keep working on that. Next week is the last class, the 'exam' and graduation. We will get timed for the exercises, get points for how many sits, for instance, that we can do in 30 seconds, and there will be other fun suprises, apparently. Most other dogs and owners are doing okay: the golden lab puppy was with the wife last night and it's clear she does a lot more work with the dog than her husband does; the younger girl and her rescue brindle colored Boxer-German shepherd mix from Saskatchewan are doing really well with her dog a lot more focused and learning the commands well; the mini dachshund learns what he wants and if he wants to; the Bouvier is a big wooly mammoth puppy and isn't learning too much and I think the owners are not too happy; the little black curly haired dog of some type doesn't come to every class, and consequently they are behind; and the older man and his brindle colored mixed boxer, maybe shepherd, and who knows what else are learning nothing! The instructor worked with them quite a lot last night but later, the owner was back to his usual ways of trying to control his dog.  The dog is on the aggressive side and very dominating, the other dogs don't like her very much, and the owner should have just gone down to the casino and spent his $149 there for all the good the class is doing for either of them. Oh well!! His money!!

I think there must be some sort of cosmic upset going on right now, like sunspots or something, as things seem to be so out of whack.  I am very upset and depressed about the truck and the other driver being a liar.  And I'm afraid that he's going to get away with it. It was recommended to me by an aquaintance that I should get a lawyer and maybe I should. If there's a possibility of criminal charges against my husband, that would be advisable and apparently there's a 2 year  period in which a person can press charges. I just can't believe that a person would deliberately lie, when he went through that red light and caused an accident.  Some example he's setting for his granddaughter.  Soon it will be a month since the accident and we don't appear to be any closer to some resolution.

I've noticed that I am entering another phase in the grieving process--I'm a lot more emotional now than I was earlier in the year.  I think this is compounded by the fact that Mother's birthday is next week and then Christmas is coming up quickly. I always did special things for Mother's birthday, and not just in that last years while she was in the EG and of course my mother made Christmas through all the years of my youth and beyond.  Without her here, it will be so much harder to make an effort.  My dad was never a part of holidays very much--he was always having an attack of neurosis when it was Mother's birthday and was usually a real jerk and the same thing would happen at Christmas. So it was Mother and I. I guess the first year without someone is the hardest.

If we are in a cosmic disruption, I sure hope it passes by quickly!! If I have offended people or not done as I should, I apologize and I will try to do better. If others are going through difficult times too, I wish them well and send good thoughts. And I will think positive thoughts for myself too!!