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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Family Time in Penticton

The main reason for our trip to Penticton was to celebrate Dave's mom's 90th birthday on June 29.  Dave's dad died in 1994 and his mom carried on quite well on her own for a number of years until the mid-2000's.  She started to suffer from short-term memory loss and would occasionally have some sort of 'spells' where she would black-out but not lose consciousness. It was decided that Dave's sister and brother-in-law would move into Mom's house, so that she could stay in her home as long as possible.  This was a good idea, but the way they went about things has caused a lot of friction between Dave and his sister.  Some of you know the story.  I won't go into details.  But one thing that illustrates the problems is that Joan and Bob decided the house needed renovating and adding on to. That would have been okay, but they decided that Mom would have the added on part that is a bedroom and bathroom and they would take over her bedroom and have the rest of the house.  I always thought that was kind of tacky, to make her move out of the room she slept in for 50 years....In essence she has the mother-in-law suite, although it is her home!!

Anyway, Dave's mom was a nurse for many years and when she retired she was Head Surgical Nurse at Penticton Hospital.  She took great pride in her job and did it well and was highly respected by her colleagues. She used to garden, cook, bake, and make jams and preserves.  She loves word games like Boggle, Scrabble, etc. Above all she loves her family and is very forgiving of their foibles and faults. I am afraid I am not such a forgiving sort!!! She is the best mother-in-law that I could have hoped for and we have always got along wonderfully well. She is one of the 3 surviving offspring of her mother's 2 marriages which produced a total of 6 children.  One of her twin sisters, Gwen is still alive, as is Jack, her half-brother.  She is now the eldest, as Uncle Bill passed away almost 2 years ago.

One of the highlights of being able to take Duffy with us, was that Mom was at last going to be able to meet Duffy.  She has seen lots of pictures and heard all about him, but never met him.  I was excited about it too! Well, Dave had taken along his laptop. but we couldn't get a connection in Blue River, so it was Sunday before he could check his emails.  And there was one from his sister.  She said that because the 2 Spaniels that her and Bob have, are not well socialized with other dogs, that it would be better if we did not bring Duffy over to the house, and she hoped this wouldn't be a problem!! HA!! Dave and I were both incensed and I fumed for hours about how to handle this. The nerve!!  Just because she hasn't bothered to train her dogs, Duffy is supposed to pay the price and be exiled while her bratty dogs raise havoc?? Dave had met them before and said one was friendly and the other not, and that they were not well behaved. And how was Mom supposed to meet Duffy--at the motel room?? Right! We decided the next day, when we went over, that we would just ignore the email--like we hadn't got it!! Joan was out, but Boob, er I mean Bob had to keep the dogs in the house, as we were sitting outside.  Now was that so hard to figure out? Duffy was good as gold, wandered around, knew there were dogs there and peered in the screen door, trying to see where they were.  Aww, poor Duffy--no fun for him after all!! Duffy and Mom got along fine and he really liked her. He ignored Bob---hahahahahah!! Do I have a smart dog or what???!!! And he ignored Joan too, until we were leaving for home, then she patted him and thumped him on the side--kinda hard I thought. He wasn't too keen on her. We also brought him over to the open house that was the celebration for Mom's birthday. There was a thunderstorm and downpour, so everyone had to be in the house for awhile. He wandered around, but then they wanted to take their brats out, so I was told round him up.  I took him back outside.  While in the house he kept looking for the dogs--he wanted to play. The 2 spaniels were not very nice dogs.  One jumped up all the time--by the way, they are 2 years old, not puppies-- and they barked incessantly.  You could think that you were making friends with them and pat and scratch them, and then all of a sudden, one would turn and be growling at you, while the other jumped up and barked all the time. Joan's "excuse" for them was that there are no off-leash parks in Penticton, or ones easy to get to, or something.  Yeah, well, off-leash parks are highly over-rated and are not the place to 'socialize' dogs. If the dogs are not already well behaved, all you get is a bunch of wild running around, badly behaved dogs and there are the risks of fights and biting.  As well, these kind of parks are breeding grounds for diseases, as many owners don't bother to pick up after their dogs.  Duffy has never been to an off-leash park in his life.  We have had doggy play dates with neighbor dogs, I walk him with a dachshund, he plays with some of the dogs we meet up with on walks, like Ranger the Bernier and that's sufficient. I'm sure Joan and Bob complained bitterly to their golfing friends about how rude we were to bring our lovely, friendly collie over to THEIR house!! Who cares!! The rest of Dave's family loved Duffy, and Uncle Jack said that it's been years since he has seen such a well-behaved dog.  Oh, and he said that Joan's dogs aren't socialized with people, never mind other dogs!! Hahahahahaha!!
Mom and Duffy getting acquainted

Off to see the garden
Duffy making himself at home on the upper patio.

At the birthday open house.  Left to right: Dave, Al Larsen, Mom, a friend of Joan's and Bob's behind the flowers,  Val Larsen--she one of Dave's cousins, Auntie Gwen is her mom, and Uncle Jack.

Uncle Jack, emphasizing his point!! Haha!  He loves to talk and tell stories. Another of Dave's cousins, Lorraine, sits to his right.She's one of Auntie Gwen's daughters.

The Aunties!! From the left, Aunt Brenda, Uncle Jack's wife, Aunt Reeta, Uncle Bill's widow, a neighbor from across the street, and Auntie Gwen. Aunt Reeta was the only one paying attention to the fact I was taking a picture!! There were no photo ops for family pictures to commemorate the occasion--sadly. So by the time I realized that, and started to take some pictures, the event was over. There was no cake either:(

After the open house was over and we all had to leave(!), we went to Jack and Brenda's and kept celebrating Mom's birthday! Meanwhile Joan and Bob took her out for dinner at the Golf Club and then they, along with a bunch of their golfing friends went to see the Cirque du Soleil performance. The rest of us were concerned that this might be too much for Mom to do all in one day, but they carried on with the plans. And we weren't invited. Quelle surprize!! But no cake or pictures of Mom and her family--that's kind of poor.  In fact the familiy was marginalized for the whole event. It was all about Joan and Bob, as usual.  Dave and I did take Mom out for supper the night before her birthday to Theo's, the Greek restaurant in town, which we all enjoyed.

Aunt Gwen and Dave

Lorraine and Dave--and Duffy! And yes his ear has popped up again!! It was staying down and I thought we had it licked, but no.  So it's back to the glue!

The "boys"!! We had a good time, ordered in pizza, had a lot of laughs.Too bad Mom wasn't there. 
Happy Birthday Mom!! May you have many more!! We love you!! ♥♥♥♥

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I have just have to post about this--or rather vent--if for no other reason than to get it off my chest and this is my blog, so I can do so!!  I was reading a blog that a friend has on her blog roll.  I won't name names.  The writer was commenting about finding a lump on her dog and she thought it was at the site of the rabies shot that the dog had a week ago.  But she wasn't sure.  So she took the dog to the vet to confirm and yes it was the site of the shot.  But nothing to worry about.  Nothing to worry about?????????? REALLY??????????? Does the vet have a clue???Is this what he was taught in vet med school, to ignore lumps at vaccine injection sites??? Wow--get another vet. Now!!! And then, if this wasn't bad enough, reading the comments really incensed and appalled me. One prattled that they were glad the dog was okay--yeah, well it isn't, obviously. As if lumps are normal you know!!! Another related that she had to give her dog Metacam before any shots because the dog cried with pain. OMG!!!! Are these people idiots or what?? You would actually continue to give your dog vaccinations when the dog cries in pain??????? I know there are those asinine rabies laws in the USA, but come on. You certainly don't have to give them yearly 'booster' shots of distemper, parvo, and gawd knows what else. I swear, people get more stupid by the day and are so easily brainwashed by doctors and vets into believing that these vaccinations are for the good of their children/dogs/pets when clearly they aren't.

For anyone interested in some reading about the issue of sarcomas at vaccine injections sites, here are some items to start with. " Science of Vaccine Damage" by Catherine O'Driscoll.  She gives an overview of the Perdue study of the changes that vaccines can cause in dogs' immune systems. The Perdue study itself: The Perdue study found that the vaccinated dogs developed autoantibodies to many of their own biochemicals: fibronectin, laminin, DNA, albumin, cystochrome C, cardiolipin, and collagen.  The consequences of these adverse reactions are far-reaching, including reducing the body's ability to fight cancers. Also "Fibrosarcomas at Presumed Sites of Injection in Dogs:Characteristics and Comparisons with Non-Vaccinated Site Sarcomas and Feline Post-vaccinal Fibrosarcomas". Journal of Veterinary Medicine. Series A. August 2003, vol. 50, no.6, pp.286-291. From DVM360, online, "Vaccinations: An Overview" by Dr. Melissa Kennedy. In her discussion of adverse reactions to vaccines, she notes about delayed responses which require days or longer to develop, "The vaccine, seen as foreign, elicits a significant inflammation response and is especially true of     adjuvanated vaccine.  The response can manifest as a granuloma or more seriously a fibrosarcoma.". She goes on to say that in dogs the likelihood of adverse reactions correlates with the size of the dog and number of innoculations given--there is a higher risk with small sized dogs and with multiple shots.

It's high time that people began to question the so-called 'conventional' thinking about vaccines.

Monday, July 18, 2011

In and Around Penticton

Pictures from the next installment about our trip!!

The Penticton River--downstream,  This river is never usually so wide!! We stayed at the Ramada right beside the river and golf course and so we could take Duffy for walks along the paths that line both sides of the river.

Upstream on the river, towards Okanagan Lake

Duffy and I posing while rafters go down the river on a warm day.

We went up to Rattlesnake Springs on the Penticton Band Reserve to get water.  It's wonderful water, Duffy lapped away, and watercress grow around the spring all year round!!

Dave and Duffy on the beach.  I was so looking forward to taking Duffy for walks along the beach, but the signs said no dogs allowed from May until September--phooey!! But we snuck on, for this photo!!

Duffy and I in front the of old paddle wheeler, the HMS Sicamous.  They have been trying to float that ship for decades.

The memorial rose garden at the end of the lake. The roses were in bloom everywhere--it was so beautiful!! We can't grow roses too well here--even with wrapping them up, they die from the winter cold. So I enjoyed all the roses and took lots of pictures--you have been seeing some of them in the blog header photo.

My 2 roses!! ♥♥

A walnut tree, for goodness sake!! Never grow in Edmonton!!

Ducks on the river, hoping for food!

On the way to Okanagan Falls, south of Penticton, to visit Dave's Uncle Jack and Aunt Brenda.

The little hamlet of Okanagan Falls.

Diana will really like this picture!!Back on the reservation on our way up to the ranch.  Their livestock roam free and it's kind of nice--like the old days

The old ranch house--Dave's grandparents lived here while Dave and his family lived in a log house near where the pictures of Duffy and the horses were taken. The log house is gone now.

The A-frame that the 2 American brothers built when they bought the ranch from Dave's step-grandfather.  It's huge and there's a tennis court if you can believe it!! Like a tennis court is a necessity on a ranch!! Well one of the wives thought so.  There's a guest house, and another house also on the place. Some rich guy out of Calgary owns the ranch now and it's going downhill even more.  He's grazing fewer and fewer cattle and therefore he is losing the grazing leases that Dave's grandfather had worked so hard to acquire.  He let go the guy that was looking after the place and rehired some dipstick female who knows crap about cattle.  She had quit several years ago, but she wants her job back now and she gets it. And apparently the owner is planning to turn the ranch into a guest ranch.  Idiot.  I know it hurts Dave to see how the place has gone.

A stately Ponderosa Pine standing guard on the ranch.
We are really disappointed that our plans to buy some of the ranch land and live there is probably out of the question now that the owner is going to do the guest ranch thing.  Back to the drawing board!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Attack of the Mutant Mosquitoes

Well, okay, maybe not mutant--but there sure are a heck of a lot of them!!After a cool and wet Spring, guess what kind of a Summer we have been having?? If you guessed cool and wet, you'd be right!! Add in humid and over run by mosquitoes and you have the whole ugly picture.  And Edmonton now has the dubious distinction of being the mosquito capital of Canada.  We elbowed Winnipeg aside for that honor!! Haha!! The report out today told us the good news that this week there were 569 mosquitoes (exactly???) per trap throughout the city, compared with 30 per trap last week.  And apparently we haven't peaked yet!! ACCKKK! That's expected next week. Yesterday I braved the outdoors to cut the lawn, because if I waited any longer I either would have to hire some sheep (Baaaa) or start baling the grass!  I think I swatted, slapped, smacked, and smeared 569 mosquitoes!!!

The worst attack occurred when I had to pick out all the mushrooms from the lawn before I mowed.  We have tons of mushrooms too.  I was picking them the other day and the mailman asked me if I was going to make a salad?  Haahaha!! I replied, "If I wanted a shortened life." Some of the mushrooms might be edible, but who knows and I'm not taking any chances.  My Polish grandfather knew about mushrooms, but that knowledge has been lost.  I do have puff balls popping up in a couple of places and I know those are edible.

On the brighter side I picked the first basket of raspberries of the season--yay!! They are one of the few things doing really well.  They have adapted to any kind of weather this country can throw at them--all they need is a little water, and they had no shortage of that!! The cherries hardly seem to be ripening or growing at all, the zucchini  and cucumbers are stuck in a no-growth zone, and everything else is later than usual.  My poor corn that was battered down in all the rain and wind last week, is righting itself and sending out their stalks, and the peas and beans have blossoms, so we will get some veggies.

Poor corn!!
Back to the mosquitoes--did you know that the oldest known mosquito with a similar anatomy to modern mosquito species was found in 79 million year old Canadian amber from the Cretaceous period?? Just think, the ones biting us now are the 5000 trillionth generation from that one!!! 
No more of this please!!
Let's hope we get some dry weather, so we can go back to sitting outside in our backyards and enjoying what's left of Summer!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Heading to Penticton

We left Edmonton Saturday morning, June 25, heading west on the Yellowhead Highway, aka Highway 16. This was our first trip with Duffy and I was excited to be travelling with him!! He's been to BC before--just a day trip though from Olds to Golden and back, with Dave.  But this was his first time to spend a night away from one of his 2 homes!!

First view of the Rocky Mountains at Edson--I'm always thrilled to see them!!

Pit stop for Duffy

Pit stop for us at Hinton--gassed up as this would be the cheapest gas until we were back in Alberta.  There's about a 20 cent difference in gas prices between the 2 provinces.
Our fearless driver!!! ♥♥

Beautiful scenery everywhere.  I took a bazilliion photos, but I won't post them all, as I'm sure most folks would be bored out of their minds!!

Mt. Edith Cavell. Named for the English nurse executed by the Germans in WWI for helping allied soldiers escape from Belgium to the Netherlands. It's 11,033 feet in altitude and has Angel Glacier.  Lots of snow still on most of the mountain peaks for this time of year--due to the cool and wet Spring, and now Summer!

Canadian National Railway's mainline.

Impressive Mt. Robson.  Highest point in the Canadian Rockies at 12, 989 feet. Apparently only 10% of the attempts to climb this mountain over the years, have been successful.  Steep faces and bad weather are the reasons given.

At Mt. Robson Park's interpretative centre looking across the meadow to the mountain.  It's very rare to see the top of the mountain because of the weather, and we weren't lucky that day either. There's still 1/3 of the mountain obscured by clouds.

I love seeing how the flora changes through the climate zones.  In the foothills and mountains in Alberta, it was a lodgepole pine, larch (tamarack) and poplar forest. In BC, this photo shows fir and poplar, and it won't be long before we start to see cedars.  So neat!!

We stayed overnight at the Blue Mountain Motel in--you guessed it--Blue Mountain.  Very clean and quiet--I would highly recommend it!!  We stayed there again on the way back, although we didn't have a reservation this time and had to stay in a one roomer.  There's a great restaurant in town called the Saddleback--named for one of the mountains in the Cariboo Range east of the valley which has a number of ski slopes on it.  They serve cordon bleu style food, local produce, even organic!! Dave and I both liked the town.  It's so quiet there, there's not even an RCMP detachment!! The only problem is the 10 feet of snow in the winter!! We'll spend summers there though!! And no allergies for me!!! Yippee!!

Heading south through the Thompson River Valley on Highway 97.

Destruction from the Barriere fire of 2003. It was one of the 2 worst fires that year, 3000 people were evacuated, homes, and the saw mill were destroyed.  The fire jumped the river too, which is highly unusual and really scary!!

I love this picture.

Stuck in a construction zone north of Kamloops.

But at least there were some sheep and goats to look at!!
Kamloops--we are definitely out of the lush terrain!! This is Ponderosa Pine and sage brush country and it's really hot there because you just bake between the hills.  There was a gas war going on and we got gas at 10 cents cheaper!!

We are now in the Okanagan Valley, coming down towards Vernon.

Crossing Lake Okanagan at Kelowna on the William R. Bennett Bridge, opened in 2008. This 5-lane bridge replaced the old 3 lane bridge.  I wonder why they couldn't make it a 6-lane? Anyway, this is the most congested portion of Highway 97 through the valley, so it was a much needed improvement.  Imagine what this looks like on a long weekend???
Penticton at last!!!