Thursday, December 10, 2009

Well, I would say that today was one of my hardest, though not the hardest , days of my life. I was really dreading taking my mother to the local personal care home - it breaks my heart not to have her living a wonderful, independent life. She worked so hard all her life and truly deserved a good, healthy, happy retirement.

How many of you understand how overwhelming it can be to take the person you love and has raised you to be cared for by others? This is the third time I've had this role and it is one that gets harder with each time because I think I understand the implications of the destination so much more than I did the first time...It is not to say that a personal care home is a bad thing, just that it is so hard for everyone involved.

I wonder how I will be when I get to that age or infirmity? Will I go willingly or try to resist? I have already told my girls that when the time comes, I will go willingly because I understand how much it can affect a family in a negative way and burn-out the caregivers. I do hope I am of sound enough mind to follow through...I love my freedom and independence to the extreme but I love my family more...

What would you do if you had to go to a personal care home? Would you go willingly? Or not?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Alberta Clippers

I swear I take the prize for being the absolute worst blogger in history - I give my sincere apologies to all for being so remiss.

I went to bed last night and closed my eyes to the dreary brown of late fall and woke up to a magical white wonderland. Hurray for Alberta Clippers! We had about 3 or 4 inches fall overnight and everything - trees, streets, driveways, everything was coated in a fluffy jacket. God, I just love when it snows - there is nothing more refreshing or beautiful in the whole world.

I have been home with the flu for a couple days and had the privilege of enjoying the view of my backyard - and it was definitely something to enjoy. My husband is away to Grey Cup and was lucky enough to enjoy the snow before it headed our way. He is back tomorrow and I am truly looking forward to it. Sort of. Lol

My youngest is taking an Auto cad course at the local college in the afternoons and goes to the college in the evenings to complete her course assignments. I have been accompanying her and taking small UFOs with me to complete. I have finished two table runners and almost finished a Poinsettia Star table topper. I will post pictures asap as we are hopefully headed out to the college this evening, which means I will complete the topper. Yesss! Only two more toppers, and three more quilts to finish before Christmas! Can I do it? The race is on...

Take care - I will post pictures in a couple days.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Finally, we have had a ripe tomato from the garden. I cannot recall a summer where our first ripe tomato was picked on the 4th of September - sad but true. We usually start eating tomatoes in July and continue until November. This starting in September is just not right - why, it hardly felt like summer at all with all the truly miserable weather we had this year.

We actually thought we had a nice big ripe one last week but when I turned it over - it was rotten!! I am not sure who was more disappointed, Bruno or I.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Happy Anniversary Hubby!!

I realized that it was our 26th wedding anniversary yesterday when I signed into the medical unit to visit my mother. I was a little embarrassed when I realized that I had not even wished my Hubby a Happy Anniversary before sending him off to work in the morning. Then, I realized that he had not done the same and all was good. lol

We did our usual anniversary celebration: Ate supper, had a glass of wine and toasted each other...doesn't get better than that. We are definitely surprised at how quickly 26 years passes - it still feels like we are just getting to know each other. So much to learn yet! How lucky we are to have each other and be on the same wavelength most of the time. (You didn't think we were on the same wavelength all the time, did you? Close though...)

Would I marry him again if I had to do my life again? You bet, in a heartbeat! Guys like him are one in a lifetime, literally. I have been so blessed in my lifetime that I can hardly believe it sometimes.

For all of you out there with an anniversary coming up - enjoy each other - life is truly too short not too - otherwise - why did you marry the guy in the first place?

So - Happy Anniversary Hubby - I hope we have at least another 26...or more.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wonderful Wedding Happenings

We have survived the onslaught of relatives of near and far - it was truly wonderful to have everyone stop in or stay here. I just wish I had more one-on-one time with everyone to catch up on what is going on in their lives.

Hubby's niece, Beth, got married to Tim at the Western Manitoba Centennial Hall and it was a beautiful wedding. When they made all the arrangements for the wedding they included a lot family to help do things - it made it so nice and so very personal. My sister-in-law, Barb, officiated and did a wonderful job; Beth's mother, Berni, did beautiful lily flower arrangements for the tables, Beth's two sisters and (now) sister-in-law stood up for her and I had the honour of making and displaying 200 cupcakes! (I have to add a huge thank you to my very generous friends for allowing me the use of their freezers- without them I am not sure what I would have done with the 200 cupcakes - they take up a huge amount of room!) Lots of fun was had by all and everything (thankfully) turned out!

I had a bit of an incident at the wedding. As the ceremony was taking place, a camera was handed down to me to take pictures. I thought it was my brother-in-law Gerry's camera and that he wanted me to take pictures of his wife, Barb, while she officiated the ceremony. I also thought the camera was a digital one -it certainly looked like one anyway - but it was not and to my horror it suddenly shut down and began to rewind! I handed it back to Gerry and apologized only to see him hand it further down the line to a lady I have no idea who she was. So, this unknown woman has many (about 10) wonderful pictures of my sister-in-law officiating, and lovely (half a dozen) headshots of my other sister-in-law Berni. I had a hard time not bursting out in embarrassed laughter when the camera made it into the rightful owners hands. OOps!

The next day there was a very nice brunch put on the by the groom's parents and later a barbeque at our house for family. Always fun and nice to just visit and enjoy everyone in a relaxed setting.

That was my weekend - what did you do on yours?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Purging the Past

Purging has taken on a whole new meaning in my house. Bruno is gone and I am literally burning, selling, and giving away a ton of stuff. I am a few years behind in doing this. When sorting gets overwhelming I come downstairs and check my emails or check what is in the fridge to recharge my flagging spirits and energy. It absolutely astounds me how much paper a household can generate and accumulate despite our efforts to keep it at bay. We are all pack rats in this house and it has finally come back to bite us (me, specifically) in the proverbial ass.

My goal this summer is to clean out, clean up and restore order to my house. Paper, as well as, clothes, trinkets and other items have taken over our lives -many of these objects whose use and origin is a complete mystery. I plan to have it complete by the end of August, including washing walls and cupboards, painting some and recovering some furniture. The square footage of my house is increasing with each trip to the recycle bin and secondhand shop. Yay!

I am enjoying how freeing it is - I had forgotten over the past few years. (literally!) It feels good already and I have barely started. Good thing Bruno is away though - he would freak out at the total disarray on the main level. I also don't have to worry about feeding him - that in itself is quite a change.

I have a wonderful kindergarten teacher that is the happy recipient of all the beads, and children's craft stuff that my daughters have outgrown eons ago. She is as pleased about getting all of it as I am about giving it to her.

Life is so good.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Glorious Summer Gardens

Today I decided that I am the luckiest person in the world. I was standing in the middle of the garden, barefoot (the only way to navigate in a garden), in shorts and t-shirt, with my new Tilley hat on and realized that life is pretty good when I looked at it from the middle of garden. I was surrounded by my favourite plants - eggplants,tomatoes and basil, and couldn't think of any place that I would rather have been on the day before the summer solstice. It was 31 degrees out at the peak of the day, it smelled of fresh earth, tomato plants and basil, and Friday was my last day of work for the summer - life doesn't get any better than that.

We have an absolutely beautiful back yard. It is this way mainly because my husband, Bruno, is a wonderful landscaper/maintainer. He waters, cuts the grass, moves flowerbeds and picks weeds constantly - the result is how gorgeous it is. I am the planter and alternate water girl/weeder. He has threatened many times to put my flower beds on casters so he doesn't have to redo them or enlarge the garden every year. lol

My eggplants are flowering! The bleeding hearts(not shown), chives and Iris' are in full bloom and being sassy about it. I'll post more pictures later as the plants fill out and add more colour. My garden is way behind where it should be because I planted so late this year - too much frost.

I had to laugh when I looked at the picture (above) of my garden because it looks like I am growing red beer cups this year. I normally use cut off 2 litre milk cartons but had none this year for the first time in 25 years. It offends my resolve to reuse things when I have to use something new with the intent of throwing it away at the end of season. However, if it is choice between the cutworms getting my plants and having to use new beer cups, the beer cups win hands down.

Happy Solstice!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Off to Clear Lake for May Long Weekend

Well, the mattress fit - hallelujah! And we had three wonderful sleeps on it. Almost hated to leave it

I had heard that it had snowed at the lake (Clear Lake aka Wasagaming - pictures right - gorgeous isn't it?) but had not expected more than a skiff of snow around the bushes and stuff. It was everywhere! And deep! And...Bruno made it up there before we did - thankfully - and had to use the rake to "shovel" off the patio to get into the cabin. He is such a trooper! I was sure glad I brought my rubber boots... there was almost a foot of snow up there! What a beautiful sight - it was almost like stepping into a magical fairy postcard. There were icicles dripping in the sun, snowmen with solar light arms and sandals, trees laden with snow, a decorated Christmas tree with led lights - it was truly the most remarkable May long weekend I have ever seen.

Talking to various other brave souls and some of the older cabin owners who have been coming up since they were kids (at least 30 plus years) said they had never, ever seen this much snow on a May long before. The temperatures were great - I was out with just a turtleneck and quilted vest and was more than comfortable, until Monday that is - then we had a nasty, brutal wind that made being out quite unpleasant.

Got a lot of hand-quilting done this weekend. We even burned out (literally) one of our heaters. The smoke in the corner wasn't something that was supposed to happen - what a smell! Yuk. Glad it happened when we were in the cabin not down the street taking a shower - I wouldn't want to be the one responsible for a fire up there.

Bruno even took the kayak for a quick trip along the shore and checked out the ice floes on the lake. He asked if I wanted to join him but I am not that brave or (my usual excuse) experienced enough to brave the frigid waters yet - he said it was pretty exciting. lol

The cookhouse stoves were all stoked to the max this weekend. We have communal cookhouses (below right) in the "Old Campground" at Clear Lake. Although we have cabins and stoves or hotplates in them, the old camping cookhouses are still available for our use. It is such a unique setup here at the lake - our cookhouses, showers and bathrooms are all communal. Although it can be quite an adventure to head up the street to the washroom at the wee hours of the morning - it sure makes for more neighbourly type of co-existence - most of the time. I think there are a couple bonuses to having the communal facilities - among them - I never have to clean a bathroom up there, heat up the cabin when it gets brutally hot and you can't beat watching the northern lights and all those wonderful stars on your way down the street and back when you need to take that midnight call. Besides - how often have you had to run to the washroom at midnight, through the snow? Definitely a first for me this year! lol

Well, not much else new. Take care - hopefully the rest of May will be wonderful for all of us.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I woke up this morning and just felt happy -nothing else just happy. With all the changes in my life, the happy part of me has been more than subdued lately. I tell you, it felt wonderful! I even caught myself laughing a lot today - what a great feeling it was to have that back! I somehow think it is connected to the May long weekend and the fact that we are going to the cabin at Clear Lake for a couple days. This has always been my happy spot and when times get rotten I think about how wonderful it is up there and all the bad stuff just disappears. We even splurged and bought a new mattress for the lake! It is going to be pure bliss pretty soon if we make any more improvements. I don't know how I will ever get Bruno out of bed though - the only place he ever sleeps in is at the lake - the new mattress will never let him go. Now, all we have to do is figure out how to get it up there... If it doesn't fit in the back of the van, well, I guess it is definitely going to be a lo-o-ong weekend especially since Bruno already threw out our old mattress and the floor is going to be hard and more than a little cold.

I have been trying to figure out how to blend the remnants of two quilts and the large star block I made from my Dad's shirts into a special memory quilt for one of my uncles. I had an aha! moment when my daughter, Heather, came along and said "Why not just applique this cabin picture on top of the middle of the star? That'll tie it in." and voila it worked! I have all the pieces cut and ready to go - it is just a matter of sewing it together now. This quilt is for my Uncle Jim because he helped my parents so much while they were in The Pas and I really wanted to thank him and this is going to be a big cozy hug for him. I had taken some of my Dad's shirts and made a really nice Poinsettia Star from them - in blues, white and greens - not Christmas colours at all - it turned out really nice but I was finding it hard to incorporate the remnants from my Dad's quilt and his twin brother Frank's quilt into it as they had off-white/brown backgrounds and the shirt block was in the white/blue spectrum. I'll post pictures as I work on it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quilting buddies

I have been busy as usual trying to get too many things done in too little time. I swear that the days are getting shorter as I get older - somehow it just isn't fair - I have far too may quilts and stuff to do in this lifetime - I can't afford my days to get any shorter. lol

For the past about 20 years a group of us have gotten together to craft, quilt and just visit. It started with my friend Peggy and I going to an interior design class at Brandon University. We enjoyed our weekly night out so much we hated to quit after the class was finished so we decided to do something else - she wanted to learn calligraphy and I could teach her. Then our friend Louise joined us, and then Pam and then Joan and then Sharon and finally Judy - oh and sometimes Kinseley. It is a night out that I enjoy immensely and resent the same amount when anything interferes with it. We have made an abundance of wonderful, beautiful objects and some less than inspired ones as well. We all love to quilt and this passion has enveloped us all, even the one who shall remain unnamed and is our wonderfully reluctant but determined quilter. I think we especially enjoy our recent need to travel to the quilt shops nearby (within and hour and a half anyway) - close! We no longer have a quilt shop in Brandon so getting quality fabrics is a bit harder - so a road trip takes almost no

The following pictures show Sharon's, Pam's, and Peggy's cuddly cobblestones rag quilts - they all turned out wonderful! It always amazes me how we can all start out with the same pattern and each looks so different when completed!

Judy is working on a raggedy jean quilt (above) that she is lining with red and white flannel - it is going to be wonderful when it is done - it will be worth all the time she put into it.

I think I have to work on picture placement - they just don't want to co-operate with where I want to put them. - the nerve!

I have put on two batches of wine for coolers this summer. They are a pink lemonade/rhubarb and a pink lemonade/lemon wine - should be interesting - they both were stuck initially but have finally taken off - I will move them to secondaries this weekend after I bottle some of the other wines in the other 4 secondaries. lol I think I will be bottling for a few hours. The rhubarb is great and ready to go. I swear that the stuff evaporates in the summer! Well - enjoy!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Well, it has been a while since I last posted - sorry about that. Much has happened since. My mother remains in the hospital despite the assessment being complete and for reasons beyond both our control.

My oldest daughter came home for a visit 3 weeks ago and is still here - much to my joy - she is a pretty wonderful, caring young woman. My husband has been out of town for several days but returned tonight - exhausted, and sick - poor guy - miserable not to be at home when you don't feel well.

On the bright side - I completed the top for my good friend's daughter and her future husband. Their wedding is next weekend - it should be a blast - I sure am looking forward to something positive in our life - it has been a tough winter... The top is wonderful - it is just a simple split rail fence but it is one of the nicer ones I've pieced. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough fabric for the borders and binding and just had to take a trip to Moosamin, Saskatchewan, which is just over the western border of Manitoba, to check out the quilt shop there. It is called Shirley's Sewing Room. My good friend and fellow quilting addict, Peggy, joined me in immersing ourselves wholeheartedly in purchasing much more than we needed - of course!! What a wonderful shop - they have numerous quilts lining all the walls and free-hanging as well. Samples of numerous projects abounded. The women helping us with the borders I so desperately needed were good and we will definitely go back - besides,it is only and hour and a half away - can't get better than that!! Although... they are offering a class in a quilt I was hoping to find the pattern for - a garden twist - it is like a lattice with the background fabric being flowers - wonders of wonders when we walked in the door of the shop what was the first quilt hanging there but this one and they are offering a workshop for it in April - how lucky for me!!!! :) As for Jen's wedding quilt - hopefully I hope to have it complete by next weekend - good thing I'm quick and have the entire weekend to quilt! lol

As you can tell - I figured out how to upload pictures - not that it was difficult. lol Enjoy the photo - I think the colours of Jen's quilt went together very nicely - don't you?

Take care - until next time...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Louis Riel Day! (In Manitoba, anyway lol)

Well, I have been going through all my books and the internet for patterns - my best friend's daughter is getting married in the end of March - I am going to have to hustle to get a quilt done before then. Her colours are taupe and dark brown - I am sure that I will find something that will be wonderful for her. I've known her since she was just a couple years old. With all that has happened in the past month or so I got derailed pretty badly on my quilts and am totally behind. I might just take and make her a spit-rail fence quilt - they are quick but always turn out nice without being too busy and browns always look so nice done in that pattern. I was hoping for something a bit nicer but life has a way of giving you a reality check on details that aren't necessary.

Well, Bruno wasn't sure at first about his quilt pieces but I think he warmed up to it after I began explaining what I was going to do. (good thing I bought a belt as well - lol) I asked him if he wanted flannel back or cotton and her wants the flannel for the cozy factor - so flannel it is!

My Mom is doing so well in the assessment center - she is not so stressed out and is beginning to look less emancipated. We will know soon what is happening...

I found the nicest flying geese pattern on the internet! I would love to make it for myself but will probably make it for someone, sometime. Now all I have to do is track down the pattern...if any of you know who puts it out I would appreciate it.

The link is:

I'm not sure how to set up links yet but will figure that out in time - but if you copy and paste it you will get there no problem.

Well, enjoy!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I would like to dedicate this posting to my father, Courtney (Corky) Keith Parker, who passed away on Jan.12th at the age of 72.

Looks like 2009 has come in like a lion for us. We had a good Christmas and New Year's was quiet but nice. My mother was admitted to the hospital. Then my father became quite ill the same day and was admitted as well. Unfortunately, he was unable to fight the pneumonia that he had because of all the numerous other conditions that he also had and passed away with my immediate family and my mother at his side. He had a hard go of it the last year and was just tired out. I miss him terribly but am relieved he is no longer suffering - it was just so hard on him- he truly didn't deserve how tough it was this past year. I hope he is finding some great fishing holes up there and having many games of crib with my grandmother and grandfather as well.

My father was always good to me. We had our moments but as we both aged we learned to respect each other and enjoy just being. As his abilities diminished, so did his joy in life. He was always so pleased when my mother or I went to visit and was especially thrilled when one of his brothers would come. Right until the end, he would blow me a kiss and tell me how much he loved me. I miss our "breakfast dates", as we called them, and watching monster truck shows (eventhough I still don't like them). I still continue to watch fishing shows early in the morning as I kind of got hooked (bad pun) on them. I am so glad I had all the time I did with my dad and will never regret any of it. I hope he forgives me for singing to him in my wonderfully tuneless voice and all the inane stories I told him that he would patiently listen to.

I have to admit I was pretty overwhelmed by it all but am now understanding and accepting all the changes that have taken place in my life. I know it is more difficult for my siblings who are not in close proximity because they don't see the everyday little things that happen so changes such as these are probably even more overwhelming for them. For them these things happen in chunks of time rather as a continuum of life.

So life continues...

I haven't had any time to quilt, so Hubby's birthday quilt looks like it is not going to be a birthday quilt. I might just give him the pieces and see what he would like on it. Sometimes input is nice and it would become a collaborative piece instead - not such a bad idea the more I think about it.

So on to another day...take care and stitch well.