October 11th – Happy Thanksgiving!

Today it is officially Thanksgiving in Canada. (In our house we are celebrating with our Thanksgiving supper tomorrow night – at 7 pm, to be specific 😁).

I did not source out an actual news story about Thanksgiving in Canada but I have put together a few bits and pieces that I would consider newsworthy. Some were news to me. 😏

Matin Frobisher and his crew celebrated the first Thanksgiving in Canada in 1578 in honor of their safe return from a dangerous exploration of the Northwest Passage.

Thanksgiving was formally recognized as a holiday in Canada in 1879. It is celebrated on the second Monday of October, in recognition of the successful end of our annual harvest season. Since our harvest ends a month sooner than that of our neighbours to the south, our Thanksgiving is celebrated a month earlier than their November celebration. That makes sense!

One of our neighbourhood Bluejays, harvesting peanuts.

Thanksgiving in Canada is not the huge holiday that it is in the States. Families gather. Some watch a bit of sports. Most eat a lot of turkey, ham, cabbage rolls, mashed potatoes, stuffing and all the other foods fit for a traditional feast – up to, and including, pumpkin or apple pie. Many Canadians rally to serve a hot meal to the less fortunate. There are small local events put on across Canada, but nothing national or over the top. It is typically a relatively quiet family centred holiday.

Unlike our American neighbours, we do not round off our Thanksgiving weekend with a pre-Christmas shopping spree. Our retail outlets hold their biggest sales of the year on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) as a customer appreciation event. This is a throwback to a European tradition started by Lords and Ladies of great estates. On Boxing Day they would present gifts to their household staff to show appreciation for the extra services that they had provided over the Christmas season.

Let our lives be full of thanks & giving💞

Take care and have a great day! For all of those who are celebrating in Canada this weekend – Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃

September 5th – Religion

It is Sunday so it seems like a good day to delve into that ‘Piece of My Mind’ that holds my beliefs on religion.

I was raised in the Catholic Church.  Organized religion was a huge part of my life when I was growing up.   Over the years, I have stepped away from the church.   It was not a sudden decision but more of a gradual process that came to a head when I left my first, and extremely dysfunctional marriage.   The church’s stand on divorce pushed me over the edge, as it has for many faithful Catholics caught up in such situations.

Even now,  I do feel a certain sense of loss regarding the church.   It did play a large part in my formative years.    The church provided a sense of community, Christian  values, and  traditions that were passed down through generations.  It provided the inspiration of those who dedicated their entire lives to serving the sick, the elderly, and the community in general.     

That is not to say that I did not have issues with the Catholic Church, even in my early years.    I have never trusted ultimate or unconditional authority.   If there is not oversight, there is always abuse.   That has certainly been an issue in the Catholic Church and to this day it has not been properly addressed.   I did not understand why in the Catholic Church – that claims to be the heart of Christianity, there is so much emphasis on the fire and brimstone, eye for an eye, judgemental Old Testament.     Catholic holidays (Christmas and Easter) were based on the life and times of Jesus Christ, but for the rest of the year his teachings were rather lost or ignored.    And finally, I have always questioned why  the Catholic rules and regulations were  unilaterally determined by a hierarchy that has always been totally out of touch with the real human experience (And to this day, they deliberately choose to remain so).

Overall, I am comfortable with my decision to walk away from the Catholic Church.   But I have doggedly questioned what the younger and upcoming generations would have to replace the traditional religions that we, our parents,  grandparents and ancestors were raised in.   

Where would they learn the values that we were taught through our religious teachings – values like faith,  compassion, honesty, forgiveness, gratitude, and respect?    The values that contribute to the quality of our lives and the lives of those with whom we interact during the course of our lifetime.    Where would they find that sense of community and  tradition?  Where would they find true inspiration?    While I am no longer part of organized religion, I do truly believe that we are  Body, Mind and Soul,  that we are here by the grace of a higher power, and  that we need to honor that higher power.

Lately, I have had the time and opportunity to observe several young families.  Maybe it is part of our global pandemic, or maybe it is because people are just settling in to a new reality, but for the most part they seem to be doing fine.

Families are spending more time  together out in nature.  Families are living  ‘family‘ lifestyles – cooking, building, growing and working together.  Fathers are far more involved  in this family lifestyle than they have ever been.  Families are living in smaller communities,  growing closer  to a core group of  neighbours and friends.   Parents (and grandparents, aunts, unclesolder siblings) are teaching children the  important  values in life – more often by example than our religion ever did.    Families  are building a new sense of community, tradition, and inspiration. 

I think this may be evolution at work.  Originally,  people needed the teachings of the Old Testament, the fire and brimstone way of life, to help them  survive and establish mankind on earth.  We needed Christianity, to establish a civilized constructive base for mankind to build on.    And now – maybe this is what is needed for mankind to thrive and evolve. 💞 

Siblings – sharing & caring

That is my ‘Piece of Mind’ for the day.  As always, please feel welcome to comment and share your own beliefs or opinions on the subject at hand. 

Take care, have a great day and see you tomorrow. 💞

August 26th – On a Roll!

There are weeks when nothing seems to work out regardless of how hard I try.  🥺 Then the are weeks that work out fairly well, but there are just enough snafus to be rather annoying. 🤨 And then, there are weeks like this week! 😁

Yesterday, I sent a quick message to my  niece Teenie (Jeanne Christine) I had not spoken to her for few months.  She messaged back and we had a nice chat.  This morning, my sister Lorraine sent a message, and we chatted for a bit.  My family is scattered across western Canada and the US.  We don’t connect often, so when we do it is always special. 💞

After my chat with Lorraine, I went outside to feed the squirrels and birds. I stopped to check the garden and found a few more cucumbers ready for picking. We already have more cucumbers than we can use so I decided to make relish. Since I haven’t done any canning or pickling for a couple of decades, I needed to make a run to Walmart to pick up some canning jars and a few other things.

That is when I really started to roll! I don’t care to drive at the best of times but today things went better than usual. The drive itself was fine. 🙂

The parking went better! I love that backup camera. 👏
I got everything I needed – and it fit into the top basket of the cart, where I could reach it at the checkout. 👍
I got home and again the parking went darn near perfect. 🤩
And… The canning rack I bought fit into my canning pot – perfectly. 🥳

Finally, my surgeon’s office called to book my hernia surgery! It turned out we couldn’t book it yet because the lab hasn’t set up my catscan and bloodwork but the woman I talked to is going to call them to get me in there ASAP!! So, it is progress. 😊

There are special days when great things happen. Those days are amazing. But the regular days when special things happen, or regular things just work great – those days are just GOLD! 🤗

I hope your day is going well. Take care and see you tomorrow! 💞

August 22nd – All’s Well

We just returned home from Dan & Amanda’s wedding reception weekend. I am so grateful that everything went amazingly well! A good time was enjoyed by all!

We were too busy having fun to take many photos, but I am sure we will get plenty via the official photographer who was there on Saturday afternoon.

Son Dan made sure there was enough room for guests by building a massive extension to their deck. (He still has the top of the gazebo to go and Amanda is enlisting help for next spring in filling all of the built in flower planters.)
Dan’s friend Greg, (on the middle deck with me) was Dan’s co-builder, as well as Amanda of course! Gabby and her friend were on the lower deck, where all of the tables were set up for supper.
The many younger guests had a bouncy castle, pool, hot tub, trampoline, playhouse, six dogs, and at least twenty pounds of candy to keep them amused.
Cason chose to entertain himself with a blue marker, grape soda, and by something on his foot. Possibly lingering marker ink. 🙂
Dan made a replica of their original ‘pandemic’ wedding cake. Omg delicious!
Amanda and Dan

The highlight of the day was a video presentation by granddaughter Gabby. She recorded moments of their courtship, proposal, wedding preparations, and their official wedding ceremony. We laughed, we cried, it was truly fantastic! She has a gift. 📽️

All in all, it was another great day to celebrate their love, and their love for their yours, mine, and ours family – Gabby, Lucas, and Cason💞

Wedding Day – December 2020

I hope everyone had a good weekend! Take care, keep dry, & I will see you tomorrow! 💞

August 11 – Growing Up & Growing Old

Brook & Genie

I had a number of reasons to feel grateful yesterday.  One of my favourites was a short visit from two of our granddaughters – Brook and Genie.  Brook was  in town and she dropped by  to tell me that by Christmas I would be a great-grandmother!    I love babies, tots, kids, tweens, teens and as high as our grands take it.  But seriously – I am going to be a 😳😳😳 great-grandmother! 

Genie as newborn – now 17

Becoming a grandmother seventeen years ago was a bit of a wake up call but I could work with it.  Genie called her mother ‘Mommy’ and I was ‘Mom’ (That is what everybody else called me in those days 🤷).

Rory at 3 yrs old – now 16

Rory followed soon after, but due to medical issues – specifically muscle and joint issue – he barely spoke for quite some time.  Dan was ‘HaHa’.  I was more of an ‘AhAh’.

Gabby at 3 yrs old – now 16

Gabby was next. We seldom saw her so she was a bit too shy around us to throw the ‘Grandma’ word around willy nilly.

Brook at 6 – Genie at 4     Now 20 &  17

Brook was five when she was brought into the family and she already had a Grandma.  I have always been ‘Anne’ to her.

Maddy at 2 yrs old – now 11

Then Maddy came along and there was no denying.  I was ‘GRANDMA’.  Grandma, grandma, grandma…. Maddy started speaking fluently when she was about five minutes old and ‘Grandma’ was her magic word.  After the seventeenth ‘Grandma’ in a row, Maddy scored whatever she ‘needed’ – panties, sneakers, McDonalds, boots,  Playdoh, coloring books and one balloon on a stick! 😂

           Prim at 6, Lucas at 4, Cason at 4 mos.  Now 9, 6, & 2          

Since Maddy, four more grands have joined the family.   Prim, Lucas, and Cason joined ranks with Maddy.  ‘Grandma’ became official and I officially got older.

Dom at 2 yrs – now 6

Except for Dominic.  He insists on calling me ‘Nana’.  In turn, I call him ‘Fred’.  He does not like it but he has yet to figure a work-around. 😁

With one more grand on the way in November, now I have to face reality at a new level. Great-Grandmother!

Regardless, it will all be worth it to have another little one in the family. We are beginning a new generation and I am sure each and every one of these babes will be unique, amazing, and someone in our lives to be infinitely grateful for.

The trick is to age honestly and gracefully and make it look so great that everyone looks forward to it.”

– Emma Thompson

(What a lovely legacy to leave one’s growing family!)

Wishing all a great day! See you tomorrow 💞

July 28th – Magical Coincidences

Last night, Dan and I were invited to join my cousin Kathy and her husband Scott for supper.

As we pulled up in front of their house, Dan recognized their next door neighbour. He and Dan have worked together for ages and kept in touch regularly when they were both off of work a few months ago. Of course, Dan had to pop over to say hi and check out Roy’s amazing yard.

It is so funny, Dan and I can go anywhere at any time, in or out of Regina, and we will run into someone he either grew up with or has worked with. I always find it so wierd because we very seldom run across anyone that I specifically know.

I am so used to running into people that Dan knows that I don’t always pay too much attention to these meet and greets. Often they are discussing work, times, places, or people that I am not familiar with. One night, we were out and I had my back to Dan. I heard him exchange friendly greetings with someone. I half ignored them until I realized the other voice sounded vaguely familiar. I turned around and Dan was chatting with my one and only brother. 🤦

Anyway, when Dan and Roy were done with their short visit, we joined Kathy and Scott in their gorgeous backyard. We had a glass of wine and a pleasant visit, before proceeding to their deck for a delicious barbecue supper and more enjoyable visiting. It was so comforting to catch up on all the extended family news and share memories of those who are long gone.

After a lovely evening, we returned home and called it a night.

This morning, Dan was packing his golf bag into the Jeep when he found an unfamiliar critter in our yard. I am not sure if he followed us home last night or how he came to be here, but I hope his friends don’t come looking for him. 😳

Sphynx Moth Caterpillar ?

Dan is now off golfing and I am ready to settle down in my little corner to relax and meditate for a bit. I hope you are enjoying a likewise beautiful summer day.

Take care and see you tomorrow. 💞

Day 20 –  Happy Father’s Day

It is the twentieth day of my  June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge and today we are celebrating Father’s Day.

I wanted to do something a bit different this year so I have put together a little tribute to my father-in-law, Nick.  It has been eighteen years since Dan’s father passed away but I was fortunate enough to share many special days with him while he was still with us.

Nick and Dan’s Mom Elizabeth (Elizabeth passed away before I had the opportunity to meet her.)
Nick & Elizabeth at Dan’s graduation.
One of the first days that Nick celebrated a special occasion with us. Nick and my Mother were both with us to celebrate my sons’ graduation.
I have no idea what Nick and I were doing but I am not too surprised that we were the ones goofing off on this obviously solemn occasion.
Later that day….
Celebrating Christmas with Nick.
Over the years we  entertained Nick and his family. (Nick with his niece Kelly and brother-in-law Alex).
And Nick spent time with my family.  (Nick with my sister Elaine and her husband John).
On this day, Nick was honored for having volunteered over 10,000 hours with the St. John’s Ambulance.
Always a dog lover, Nick seldom went anywhere without his precious Buffy
Even when Nick’s health was failing, he made a point of being with us when we brought our Casey pup home.
Nick at his home – sitting beside one of the amazing macrame hangers he had created.

I hope you enjoyed meeting Nick and sharing a few of our special moments together. He was a good man who lived a life of dedication to his family and his community.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers out there today – Especially to my Dad who unfortunately did not live to meet Dan, to Dan who opened his life and his heart to my sons and my daughter and to each and every one of our grandchildren, and to my sons and son-in-law. Thank you!

Twenty days down and ten to go! I cannot believe I am already two third of the way through this challenge that I have set for myself. 👍

Wishing everyone a nice Sunday and I will see you tomorrow. 💞

Day 13 – Siblings

It is the thirteenth day of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge. Being a Sunday, I thought this would be a good day to spotlight my siblings.

Lorraine, Elaine, Peter, Jeanne and Denise
Denise

Denise was firstborn. She brought stubborn determination to the family, a serious talent for organization, and deep love and compassion for all things innocent or vulnerable – especially dogs, birds, and butterflies. 🤗

Jeanne

Jeanne came second. She brought beauty, elegance, and charm. To me, she has always been a cross between Jackie Onassis and a Disney princess. Over the years she has raised a family, bees, sheep, and a wayward duck. She has lost a husband, remarried, and survived cancer. She has done it all with genuine graciousness and without EVER having a bad hair day. 😐

Peter

Pete is my one and only brother. He has always been calm and quiet with a droll sense of humor thrown in. Being ten years older than me, we did not associate much as kids but I do have one memory of the two of us. I was in Grade one so Pete would have been in Grade 11. We had a huge blizzard. The next morning there was tons of snow around so my mother told Pete to walk me to school. He dragged me over or around every mountain of snow between our home and the town school only to find out that all classes had been cancelled for the day. Being brotherly, Pete dragged me all the way back home. I have a feeling Janice walked their daughters to school. 🤣

Elaine

After Pete, my parents reverted to yet more girls. Elaine brought creative genius and talent to the family. She has done it all and she does it all incredibly well – cooking, baking, crocheting, needlepoint, crafting, plus extensive home renovations. To this day, Elaine tracks every family birthday, anniversary, and the like and sends us all beautiful handcrafted cards. 💝

Lorraine

Lorraine and I grew up more as twins than sisters. (I wasn’t the evil one 😇). Lorraine was, and remains, the firecracker of the family. I have never kept up with her physically or mentally – few if anyone could – but we have always made any time better together. 🥳 🍸

Teenie (Jeanne Christine) – Honorary Sister

Teenie is my sister Denise’s eldest child and only daughter. Since Teenie is only a couple of years younger than me, we have always had a sisterly relationship. When she was young, she would come for extended visits. I got to experience having a younger sibling and she got my favourite dress with the pink pinafore and my Campbell soup doll. She was the sweetest thing and unfortunately I was a bit too young to appreciate her at the time. We are good now!

Teenie and the Campbell doll she bought me a few years ago to replace the one that I always teased her about.

So that is it! Thirteen days down with seventeen to go!

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

Happy Easter!

Easter has always been my favourite holiday.  I grew up in the Catholic faith and I loved the Easter services filled with joyful, spiritual music in a church decorated with beautiful spring flowers.   Outside of Easter Mass, the holiday marked the arrival of spring – warm sunny days, pretty summer dresses (with hats and purses and shoes to match),  gathering for a feast of ham and turkey with all of the trimmings, brightly painted eggs decorating a  basket of chocolate eggs and bunnies.  Easter was always a happy family holiday – far from the stress and commercialization of any other holiday.

This year, Dan and I are alone for Easter.  Churches of every denomination are closed here due to the pandemic. Likewise, family gatherings are prohibited. Easter dinner is an ongoing affair that started with baked ham on Friday, appetizers and turtle cheesecake last night and turkey supper tonight.  (Our house smells so good!)

My pan was a bit big for the recipe but it tastes like chocolate turtles and cheesecake.

It is a little windy and cool today but when the sun comes out it is nice enough. I put my little plants out for some fresh air – in baskets that would protect them from the worst of the wind.

Other than that, we have been having a quiet day. We enjoyed seeing pictures and videos of Dan and Amanda’s boys gathering Easter eggs. Son Mark sent a pic of Dom dressed as the Easter dinosaur. 😂 I guess as long as he was an egg laying dinosaur. 🤔. Genie sent a photo of herself and her siblings. They are all growing up so fast!

Happy Easter and all the best to you and yours on this beautiful spring Sunday. 💐

Keeping Busy

January has been a bit busy so far.   Dan has been home so we spend quite some time being together. 😊

I have started cleaning our basement.  Basement is probably an overstatement at this point, but it is coming together.  I have replaced a dozen cardboard boxes with a few Rubbermaid totes, sorted through Christmas decorations and downsized considerably, vacuumed up a year’s accumulation of dust and spider webs and found a few winter sweaters I forgot that I owned.    A few good day’s work for sure.

While going through the basement, I found boxes of old family favourite recipes – and a few that could become so,  now that I have time to cook.   I have tried a few already – peppersteak, breakfast pizza, breakfast wraps, and lemon butter tarts.

We had a brutal storm this week.  Sustained winds of 126mph 😳 and snow.  We were extremely fortunate that we had no damage to our place and that all of our family stayed safe.  Our power was off for a couple of hours and Dan had some shoveling to do the next day.   

There was a lot of property damage across the province and many travellers were stranded away from home.  Dan and Amanda spent an extra night in Edmonton after taking Cason in for a bit of day surgery.

Recovering and milking the family for a little extra TLC. 💗

I have spent time morning and evening practicing my meditation.   I have been enjoying Buddhist chants lately and continue to spend time sending healing energy to friends and family near and far.     I cannot imagine why it took me so long to appreciate meditating, but everything in its own time and this is my time to meditate. 🧘

Saskatchewan has the dubious honor of highest per capita Covid numbers since Christmas.    Dan has been doing our shopping and running our errands while I hunker down and await my turn to receive the vaccine.   In the meantime, I am happy to see those on the frontlines and our most vulnerable seniors getting the first doses that are available here.  🎉🎉🎉

Keep safe, keep busy! Only 4 more months or so until spring 🌻