Weathering Saskatchewan

Day twelve of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ celebrates the diversity of our Saskatchewan weather.

We seldom have dangerous weather but we do get damaging hails, occasional tornadoes, and our roads get treacherous during a winter storm.

In the past 14 days we have had +31c days, snow, more +31c, fog, thunder, lightening and rain, flash flooding, and wind! Now it is calm and sunny. 🌞

Wind gusts of 84km yesterday afternoon
After the rain yesterday morning. Our walkway beside the channel. We walk BETWEEN the two metal posts.
Rain yesterday morning. β˜”. We needed the moisture. We also need to mow the lawn!
This snow was actually in mid April (this landing is about three feet off the ground). We did also have snow at the end of May but I did not take a picture of it. Snow is snow. 😬
Fog alert! This photo was taken about one short block to busy train tracks.
Sun shining down on the birdbath. It is usually a busy place on hot sunny days. 🌞
With the weather passed, our squirrel dropped by for a few peanuts. πŸ€—

Twelve days down, eighteen to go!

Wishing you a wonderful day, regardless of the weather and I hope to see you tomorrow. πŸ’ž

Stay A While

I am not much of a traveller, but when we do go anywhere I try to book usΒ  nice accommodations.Β  For the eleventh day of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge, I decided to share a few photos of our hotel stays.Β 

Typically we stay at chain hotels that offer a pool, breakfast buffet, parking, and reasonably priced suites with a fireplace, hot tub, and cosy sitting area. Once in a while we stay at a higher end boutique hotel. They are nice when we are looking for something quieter. Occasionally, I manage to book something off the mark but we make up for it with a nice supper. πŸ€—

D3H Hotel in Saskatoon – I love their suites, their hotels, and their people!
Mariaggi Hotel in Winnipeg, Mb.   All of their rooms are theme suites with hot tubs, fireplace, and steam shower.  Their penthouse is massive with a pool table, grand piano, and a waterfall in the hot tub.
With grandkids Genie & Rory in the Under the Sea theme room at the Travelodge in Saskatoon.   Cool place for kids to stay!
View from our room at the Sheraton on the Falls at Niagara Falls.
Hotel where we spent our anniversary at Sherwood Park, Edmonton a couple of years ago. It was very nice. The sitting area was purposefully retro. πŸ™‚
Convention Centre we stayed at. I don’t think the prison vibe was purposeful. It was nice and clean, though! 😊
Their amenities were ….. and they had a very nice dining room where we enjoyed a good breakfast before heading out in the morning.

Eleven days down and nineteen to go!

Have a nice day and I hope to see you tomorrow!

My Time Within….

I am ten days into my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge and it is time to go a bit deeper. Today’s post is a peek into my soul, spirit, inner-being exercise routine. Meditation my way. πŸ’ž

Through the years, I have made several attempts to start meditating. I was too busy running in circles to slow down long enough to get far with my efforts, so they inevitably petered out.

Last year, after I retired, I took a lot of long walks with Kat. What started as a means to strengthen my respiratory system and take a few pounds off my pooch became so much more. I reached a place of peace and tranquility that I had never experienced before. It was a place where meditation came easily.

At some point I discovered a world of meditation on YouTube. For me, it was meditation made simple! There are videos available for guided meditations, chants from indigenous and religious persuasions, music to meditate by, and more.

The following are a few of the meditations that I have found particularly helpful and effective for me. If you have never meditated before , I suggest you note the following:

1. Never listen to these videos, or any meditation videos or audios, when driving or in an any situation where you need to be awake, alert, or cognisant.

2. I recommend using headphones or earbuds for maximum effect of any of these meditations.

3. These videos are ones that I would recommend trying because they work for me. They may not work for you, but I hope that does not discourage you from searching for something that does. I believe that our spiritual, inner-being, or soul well-being is as important as our physical and our mental health.

4. Meditation does not replace professional medical, psychiatric, or psychological care. Consult your professionals if you are at all concerned that meditating could affect any condition affecting you or any treatment that you are undergoing.

5. These videos may occasionally make you uncomfortable, especially if have very strong religious or anti-religious beliefs. Personally, I find I can easily ignore any momentary discomfort caused and in some cases I have come to realize that I have unconscious beliefs that I am quite happy to rid myself of.

This last meditation, is the one that I found the most challenging for me. As I was listening, I had a flash of memory from my childhood. I grew up in the Catholic Church and attended mass frequently – Sundays, holidays, funerals, weddings and on random weekdays. Like myself, the church has changed along the way. Back sixty-some years ago, there was a place in the Mass when everyone struck their chest three times and each time professed “I’m not worthy…I’m not worthy…I’m not worthy”. That was harsh! It bothered me then and now I find it totally bizarre. Who and why would anyone ever think this was reasonable or rational? Why would any creator place us in a world of trees, flowers, mountains, oceans, skies, and sunshine if we were supposed to feel unworthy? What is more, why would I keep anything so wierd tucked into a dusty corner of my mind? I am glad I dug it out and seriously questioned it. I am glad that this meditation made me feel uncomfortable. For me, it worked. I feel worthy and I wholeheartedly believe we all should! If there was no hope, why would we even strive to be better?

That is it for today. One third of my challenge down, two thirds to go. 😊

Have a nice day and I hope to see you tomorrow! πŸ’ž

Nothin’ Says Lovin’ Like something From The Oven

It has taken me nine days but here it is! The focus of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge for today is everyone’s favourite – FOOD. πŸ₯˜

The title of this post was my son Dan’s motto growing up. (Ok it is the Pillsbury motto but Dan used it a lot). He loved to eat and now he loves to cook (and he still loves to eat).

Makin’ Bacon! Five pounds of bacon! We eat a lot of bacon – especially on salad, since bacon has no calories if you put it on salad. πŸ˜‰
Spiced pork salad with homemade croutons.
Elegant chef salad with wine. (It’s the wine that makes it elegant).
Dan fired up the barbecue. His steaks are good but his seafood is phenomenal.
Christmas supper – my favourite part of Christmas! (Or any holiday when I can have turkey). I love the dark meat! 🀢
Ham supper – we eat so much asparagus! It is very good for a body and so delicious.
Gnocchi stew. It’s like regular beef stew but I don’t have to peel the potatoes. πŸ™ƒ
Loaded nachos – what’s not to love about nachos? Son Dan puts bacon on his nachos and we use spicy hamburger on ours. Both versions are delicious!
Last night’s supper (served at 2:30 PM) – chicken fajitas. I am thinking that if I do another challenge, it might be quick, easy, hearty meals to serve at off-times for SHIFTWORKERS. That is a challenge!
Butter tarts – coconut on the left and walnut with raisin on the right
Turtle cheesecake – so sweet 😳
Of course we have to make dedicated meals for Kat πŸ•β€πŸ¦Ί. We make a big pan full and freeze it in weekly portion for her.

Nine days down and twenty-one days to go! I think I might crush this challenge. πŸ€”

Have a great day and I hope to see you tomorrow. πŸ‘‹

Day 8 – Flower Power

Our yard is not bursting with color yet, but we do have perfect little blossoms popping up here and there. For day eight of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge, I have chosen to share a few of my favourite little buds.

Violet and pink verbena
Dan’s favourite – multi-colour portulaca
Petunias by the pond.
More Petunias by the pond.
I love these wild marigolds! πŸ’ž
And more Petunias by the pond!
Nameless gnome guarding our new marigolds.
This is a perennial that we have had for years. The cutest puff of color when it is fully in bloom.
Not blooming yet, but these Coral Bells add color to our front yard. 😊
My sister and I used to help my great uncle pick the blossoms off of his chives. I always thought it was such a pity. They are so pretty!

Spring is such a great time of year! Everytime we go outside there is a new treasure to be found. πŸ€—

Eight days down, twenty two to go. Have a lovely day and I hope to see you tomorrow! 🌞

Day 7 – Go With The Flow

Day seven of my “Accentuate the Positive” June challenge.Β  It seems like a good day to share a few photos of Canadian waterscapes that Dan and IΒ  have visited and enjoyed.Β Β  The beauty and tranquility never gets old. πŸ’ž

Paddle boats on Wascana Lake, Regina SK.
Heading to Granville Island from Vancouver, B.C. 
The view from our hotel room at Niagara Falls, Ontario
Dan kayaking at Burleigh Falls, Ontario with his sister’s chihuahua Luna.
I am not positive but I think this photo was taken at Souris, Manitoba. I love the sunlight on the river. 🌞
Burleigh Falls, Ontario
Saskatchewan Legislature Building across a corner of  Wascana Lake
Condie Nature Reserve  north of Regina, SK.

One week of my June challenge completed! I hope to see you tomorrow.

Have a nice day. πŸ’ž

Day 6 Into the Wilderness

Being such a nature loving sort, many would think that I would be the regular camper type. They would be wrong. My camping trips have been few and far between. Regardless, I did enjoy the camping trips I have been on, so I decided that they would make a good subject for Day 6 of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive‘ challenge.

The first time I can remember camping was when my kids were quite young – early elementary school age. We were living up north and we joined my sister Lorraine and her family at a cabin by a lake. I really do not remember much about that occasion except being darn cold. I am sure we had a good time, but it was a darn cold good time!

My next camping trip involved taking my Mother and my three teenagers to the Four Season Resort at Cypress Hills for a full week. I had been on my own with the kids for a year. I had scrimped, scraped, and saved every cent that I could to ensure we had the best vacation ever! It was STELLAR. And it was camping! Even if some people think that renting a condo by a lake with indoor plumbing, a television, and a microwave (plus all the other conveniences of home) isn’t real camping. We did have a wood fireplace and one of those manual barbecues that burns charcoal. Since none of us were experienced fire starters, we used up every scrap of paper we had and a gallon jug of fire starter – but we had fires – BIG ONES once they got going!

I rented a canoe for the boys and got Mom, Jen, and I a little paddle boat to pedal around the lake on. Son Dan, Jen and I went horseback riding. Dan & Jen went back but, since I was black and blue, from my waist to me knees from our first day out, I took a hard pass. We all went mini-golfing and son Dan and I played a round at the real golf course early one morning. The golf cart ended up in a gully. I was not driving. There was even a sign that said “Do Not Drive Golf Cart Into the Gully”!

We all passed a lot of time hiking around the area. Mom and I lounged on the condo deck overlooking the lake, while the kids spent time off on their own. We barbecued most of the time – although we did have a couple of meals at the restaurant in the resort hotel. In the evenings we would light a fire in the fireplace and hang out in the livingroom of our condo. One night there was a huge thunder storm with heavy rains and strong winds. Our power went out, so we built up the fire to provide light since nobody thought to bring candles. (although Mom did have an extra roll of aluminum foil in her purse πŸ˜‚ ) We had a very big fire that night. The condo was still lit up the next morning. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

Although we had a great time and I was so proud of taking my family camping, life got busy and we did not have the opportunity for another such family adventure. However, when Dan and I got together and started planning our wedding, he decided to take me wilderness camping for our honeymoon – to show me how it is supposed to be done.

We went to a secluded, lakefront area on Lake Diefenbaker. When we got there, the mosquitos were so big and thick and angry at our intrusion that they were rocking Dan’s little Jeep. He left me cowering in the vehicle while he set out mosquito repellant torches and set up our sleeping tent, a net dining tent, and rustic wilderness washroom facilities. The next day, he put his little motor boat in the lake. We were comfortable, we were alone, and the scenery was breathtaking. We had an amazing time. Dan took me out fishing. I didn’t catch anything except Dan’s hat and his fishing line. The week flew by. On the way home, we stopped at a small motel in Moose Jaw for a bath and a good air conditioned sleep in a real bed. It was heavenly! Especially the bathroom. It was pure white, bright, cool and sparkling clean. I could have slept in there.

Since our honeymoon, the only times we have been out camping have been to Loon Lake, to meet up with sister Lorraine and her husband Jerry at their camper. Their camper had all of the conveniences of home – except with a generator to run them. Theoretically, you could make toast and flush the toilet – but not simultaneously or you blew the generator. The area was gorgeous. Jerry brought up their four quads one weekend so they could take us for a full tour. I had never been quadding before. I hit a tree. Actually, I hit a rock on the trail, bounced into the ditch, and hit a tree. Fortunately, there was no damage done – except to my dignity. πŸ™„ We always have a great time visiting with Lorraine and Jerry so it was all good!

We haven’t been camping for a few years now, but I would not count it out in the future. Maybe when Dan retires. Maybe we could buy one of those luxury camper vans that you plug in. I could really enjoy that!

Six down, twenty-four days to go! Have a nice Sunday and I hope to see you tomorrow. 😎

Day 5 – Rock Stars

I am not artistic and, to be honest, I do not understand or appreciate most of the art work that others consider to be brilliant, timeless, or innovative masterpieces. However, I do love Winnipeg, Manitoba, I love the Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg and I love the Leo Mol sculpture garden in the Assiniboine Park. For the fifth day of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge, I decided to share a few photos of some of my favorite Leo Mol sculptures. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoy visiting them!

I would like to say which one is my favourite, but they are all my favourite!

Down five, twenty-five to go! Have a great day and I hope to be back tomorrow with something brilliant for the sixth day of my June challenge. πŸ˜‰

Day 4 – Moving Mountains

For the forth day of my June ‘Accent The Positive’ challenge, I decided to tackle one of the most fascinating and powerful universal truths.

As far back as I can remember, I heard that ‘faith could move mountains’. I was obviously skeptical. It was just something people said, right?

Over the years, I took note of people who accomplished amazing feats in their lives. I always thought – WOW some people are so amazing! How can anyone be so brilliant, so physically powerful, so talented?

I did not begin to understand until I was in my mid-thirties, when my father was diagnosed with advanced cancer of the sinuses. He was given days to live. My family gathered at his bedside. My father did not die that week. In fact he survived for a grueling four YEARS.

During this time, I had a husband and three elementary school aged children. I worked outside the home. My parents needed my support and I grieved for them and worried about them constantly . A few months in and I was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. One day, I sat down in my living room, looked up to God, the universe, or whoever may have been listening and I said “I can’t do this anymore”. I said “I will do everything I can, but please make sure that if Mom and Dad ever really need help that they will have someone with them”. From that moment, I knew everything would be okay. Through everything that happened after that, Mom and Dad were never alone when they needed support. I would be there, or my siblings who all lived further away would be there, or Aunt Lil, or Dad’s nephews, or neighbours, or friends were there for every crisis. After spending his final four months in their local hospital, Dad passed away with his favourite nurse by his side. She called Mom. Mom called Aunt Lil and she was there for her until we arrived.

A few months later, I took my kids and my dog and left my marriage. It had been dysfunctional throughout but had gotten substantially worse in the last five years. I had to get my kids out. My family and friends were appalled. They told me that I could not possibly provide a home for myself and three teenagers going forward. I said “I don’t have a choice” and once again, I looked up and said “Heaven help us”. For three and a half years, I was alone with my little family. I worked way too many hours. I shopped and cooked. I did dishes and laundry and taught my sons to drive at midnight. I made time to spend with my family. I didn’t get much sleep and I ate way too many Cheezies and Smarties. But, I kept a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and food on our table. I was happier than I had ever been in my life. 😊

Skin and bones – thriving on faith.

Years passed. I met and married Dan – a good man with a huge heart. Eventually life calmed down. My teens became adults and in turn became parents. (which presented us with new challenges and pleas to the heavens.)

Dan and our ray of sunshine, Maddy.

In 2015, son Mark and his girlfriend Erin became parents. Although Mark had been adamant about never having a family of his own, he was above and beyond with the arrival of his little Dominic. Unfortunately, a few months in, little Dom started to suffer health issues. He would struggle to breathe and start to choke, gasping for air. Ultimately he ended up in the emergency room with Erin. Because Mark was out of the city for work, Dan and I rushed to the hospital to be there for Erin, should she need us. Things went from bad to worse and a code blue was called. The room filled with doctors, nurses and medical equipment. Mark arrived, followed by Erin’s parents. Erin was caught up in the midst of things with Dom. Mark came to stand with Dan and I at the far edges of the room. Dom flailed his arms and gasped for air. I made a quiet remark to Mark. He replied that he had been watching the heart monitor and was terrified little Dom’s heart would explode. At the sound of Mark’s voice, Dom became momentarily still and his heart rate dropped. As he started to move again, I turned to Mark and told him to keep talking. The head nurse moved and motioned for Mark to step up to Dom’s side. Mark stepped forward and said “Hey Buddy, Dad’s here.” As he reached out his hand, Dom grasped his finger and held on for dear life. This simple act of faith in his father (by a tiny infant too young to understand) changed everything. The medicines that had been administered had a chance to take effect and Dom’s vital signs stabilized. Dom was sent by air ambulance to Saskatoon for a week of observation and evaluation. When they returned to Regina, Erin took him in for follow up appointments. Fortunately, things have gone relatively smoothly since then. Dom is a happy and healthy six year old, excited at the prospect of a new sibling later this year.

Dom resting peacefully in hospital.

Today, Dan is starting another set of shifts at his temporary position at the Evraz steel plant. Today, tomorrow and Sunday he will head to work at 3:30 am and he won’t be home until 5pm. On Monday and Tuesday he will switch to the night shift. For sixty plus hours, he will work in unbelievable heat, noise, dust and rank smoke filled air. The work he is doing is manual and brutal. The work includes constantly moving from one end of the plant to the other. He is constantly climbing high, steep stairways and using catwalks to cross massive and dangerous equipment. Dan is not a young man. He has health and joint issues caused by a life of hard work. His regular position at the pipe plant is challenging, but nothing like this. A younger me would be terrified for him. But I know! And once you know the power of faith, you just know. Dan will do what he has to do and will be home – sore and exhausted – but prepared to keep doing it as long as he needs to.

Stay safe Dear! We love you. πŸ’ž

Four down, twenty six to go! This one got a bit long but I hope to see you back tomorrow. For sure, I will make it short and sweet. πŸ™ƒ

Day 3 – The Wanderer

Some days, I just have to walk off the negative before I can find the positive. 🀷 For the third day of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge, I decided to share some of the paths I have wandered and enjoyed over the years.

Following the meandering paths at the University of Alberta Botanic Gardens just outside of Edmonton, Alberta
A couple of granddaughters heading off the beaten path in Wascana Park.
Our garden path – I love this path – started by me, helped along by my daughter, and finished by Dan! It seemed like a simple project going in. πŸ™„
Following the path through a golf course in southern Saskatchewan
Dan and Kat wandering the Wascana Trails north of Regina (we carry a little leather bag for Kat’s essentials – water, snacks, extra poo bags).
A shaded path though Wascana Park.
Paths converging in Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, Mb. – I love WinnipegπŸ’–
My favourite path – a secluded, winding path through Patricia Park πŸ€—

Three days down, twenty seven to go! Have a beautiful day and I hope to see you tomorrow! πŸ’ž