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K - Kids, Kellogg, and K-Mart
Posted On 09/12/2017 12:00:52

I wasn’t looking forward to arriving at ‘K’ in this alphabet challenge until last night… in the middle of the night! What do you do when you can’t sleep? I get out of bed so I don’t wake up my hubby, go to my computer (in another room so that I can turn on a light), make myself a cup of coffee and start to read. I do most of my reading on my computer now, books or articles, because the printing is bigger and the page is brighter. Reading tends to make me sleepy, and I often sleep the rest of the night in my recliner.

When our children were young and we lived in the city, they would always make sure that there was some “Snap, Crackle and Pop” and marshmallows in the pantry, so that I could make their favorite cake, rice crispy squares. Rice Krispies by Kellogg was also the breakfast cereal of choice, and their favorite cartoon gnomes. Now, if we still like them, Kellogg has them packaged and for sale near the chocolate bars in any convenience store.

Our two children were born just 13 months apart, and both were still in grade school when we moved to the country.  Their growing years took us on two different paths. Our daughter was a “groupie”, same select friends, same hair styles, same preferences in clothes, same expensive tastes. Our son worked hard at being different. He had a ton of friends, didn’t enjoy team sports, preferred motor bikes instead of horses, and had no use for the “in” labels in clothes. If the trend was T-shirts, he preferred plaid button shirts, if the hair style for guys was long hair, braids, or unkempt, he kept his hair short and well trimmed, and whatever was the ‘best’ label of the month in jeans, he preferred to shop at K-Mart. As for us, the parents, it seemed that there were far too many differences between them, and our job was to try to keep the peace.

This year, both of our children are celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary, and they now are the best of friends. Even though they live almost 800 miles apart, they keep in touch and get together as often as possible. Both have been great parents; our son and his wife are now “empty nesters”, and our daughter has three wonderful girls in their teens. They love clothes, have a constant parade of friends in their home, play team sports, and there is no K-Mart so they shop at consignment stores and Goodwill.

By the way, never once did we have a four-legged kid or the parents on our acreage. We preferred cow’s milk.

Tags: Teens Shopping Friends


J - I'm a Jazz Junkie!
Posted On 09/09/2017 01:08:57

I am a lover of music. If you have read my profile page, you already know that, and I haven’t change since I posted it.

I was brought up with music in my veins. My grandfather gave me a used Heintzman upright grand piano when I was four years old, and I started piano lessons shortly after. We lived on a farm so it was quite an effort for my parents to get me to my teacher’s dairy farm some miles away. My lessons continued with the same teacher until our family moved to the city when I was eight years old. When I earned my certificate for grade 10 music, focusing on classical music, I switched to organ lessons. I was asked to play in the worship services at our church. My parents made arrangements with a church across the street from my high school so that I could practice in the mornings before school started. Most school days, I was at the church around 7 a.m., giving me about an hour and a half of practice time before school started.

I had little opportunity to play the piano when I went into nursing training, but whenever I was able to go home on days off, my mother always enjoyed the time I took to play my piano for her. The piano stayed in their home until we had room in our home. When we downsized our home, the piano moved to our son’s home, thinking that our grandkids may be interested in learning to play it. No luck… they were into sports and other things, and music was supplied on CDs and DVDs.

It was the gift of an electronic keyboard that helped to change my focus on music. I loved the “jazz” setting and learned to improvise music in my memory to a jazz beat. I was hooked. Our home is rarely silent, especially when I am home alone. Music fills the air, sometime with volume cranked up for Gaither Homecoming Southern Gospel Concerts, and other times with soft and soothing instrumental music. When I’m home alone, out comes the jazz music, I am a junky! Oscar Peterson and Diana Krall, both well known Canadian jazz piano players, are at the top of my list, but I also enjoy many other well-known jazz musicians… Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, to name a few. When you have some time, visit my page for some smooth and soft jazz.

What kind of music do you enjoy?

Tags: Music Jazz Gospel Classical


I - Inverness Included In Our Itinerary
Posted On 09/05/2017 22:33:32

Several years ago, our dear friend who works for a major airlines, surprised us with two buddy passes, and we could fly anywhere that her company had schedules. The surprise came shortly after I completed a year of therapy in an effort to get my injured foot working again. When we asked her for suggestions that she thought I would be able to handle, she told us about the train pass that she thought we would enjoy. If we purchased the pass before we left home, we would be able to take the train as many times and any distance in Great Britain.

It was a timely suggestion, because by the time we got our act together, school had started and several of Ed’s relatives were school teachers. That meant that they wouldn’t be able to be our tour guides, as had happened when we visited in the summer, so we would be on our own during the week. Not wanting to sit around their home, and watching TV all day, a train ride sounded great.

Once we got to England, we were given direction in how to travel to various towns to visit with other relatives, and then gave us suggestions on what may be interesting for us to see. Out number one choice was to visit Scotland. Neither of us had been to Scotland, and it was a great opportunity. It was suggesting that we visit Edinburgh, the capitol of Scotland, and were warned that if we decide to include Glasgow, we may have trouble understanding their dialect, being that we were still struggling with the English dialect in parts of England. After studying the map, we decided to head north of Edinburgh, to see if we could spot the Loch Ness Monster, near Inverness. Just kidding… !

The train travelled within sight of the North Sea, and it was a beautiful trip. On our arrival, we asked a taxi driver to take us to a B & B near downtown. He took us to the most quaint lodging operated by a very hospitable couple. We got a “birds-eye” view of the city and surrounding country side on a city double-decker bus. The weather was perfect for sitting on the open upper deck, and my camera was kept busy the whole time.

Tags: Travel Trains Friends


H - Howdy, Horses, and Hats
Posted On 08/31/2017 04:53:03

A hearty ‘Howdy’ and a firm handshake is a familiar greeting in our area.. it’s cowboy country! But it is not limited to the rural area, but in the city as well. The western flavor of the city of Calgary is beginning to fade, being replaced by huge skyscrapers and big business. That is, until the annual first week in July. For 10 days, the world famous Calgary Exhibition and Stampede has a grip on the city.

The kick-off to the event is the Stampede Parade through downtown. The streets are line with locals and visitors from many parts of the world. Marching bands, commercial and ethnic floats, and dignitaries do not disappoint the visitors. This year, there were 700 horses in the parade. The riders are members of riding clubs, competitors in the rodeo, members of several First Nations in Alberta, and even some recognizable people in the entertainment world. People everywhere are dressed in western wear; jeans, kerchiefs, cowboy boots and Stetson hats. Those who can’t afford a Stetson, can purchase replica hats at any department store.

After the parade, the Stampede grounds are open and the rodeo begins. Competitors from many parts of the U.S. and Canada compete in events involving horses, topped off each day with the Chuckwagon Races and an evening stage show. This year, it was reported that 1.2 million people went through the turnstiles to attend the myriad of events.

If you are interested is seeing more about this event, including photos, visit the Calgary Stampede website.

Tags: Horses Hats Howdy


G – Grace: a Gift from God.
Posted On 08/25/2017 22:59:17

I’ve been mulling over words for my ‘G’ blog, and these three words, Grace, God, and Gift kept coming back to mind, even during several sleepless nights. What can I write about something that is very dear to me, but may not be the same for others here on The Hill.

I am not a gospel preacher, I don’t call myself a Christian (that word has been spoiled by and for too many people), but I am an avid follower of Jesus, God’s Son. I know that God loves me even more than I will ever understand, and that love was shown by God's grace... the undeserved gift of His Son who willing gave his life as a payment for our sins (we are ALL guilty).

If you have read the “About Me” on my page, you will have already learned that about me. The following quote is from the modern translation of the Holy Bible, called ‘The Voice”. If you are not familiar with that, come to my page and follow the link to more more about it.

 8-9 For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s giftpure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazingEphesians 2:8, 9 (from “The Voice”)

Tags: Gospel Personal


F – Finding Funny and Fascinating Facts
Posted On 08/16/2017 10:27:12

When we purchased our first computer in 1983, it was considered a business tool. If I learned how to use it, I would be able to help my husband in his business by creating ad files and financial records. I read the tutorials, learned the meaning of a bunch of new words, and have never lost my fascination with the technology.

Now, in my retirement, I still use my computer every day to communicate with friends (all over the world), create new friendships with people I probably will never meet in person (NOTH and FB), read books (the print is bigger), listen to music (YouTube), and do some shopping (Ebay and Varage). I still enjoy and prefer emails from many friends who tell me about their family and the ups and downs in their life, as well as interesting sites that they have found on the Internet. Funny animal videos (we no longer have pets), happy and funny videos of weddings and other family events (some are also very sad) from people around the world, household tricks to save me time and money (some don’t work), and recipes (they look good, but I’m sticking to my favorite recipe collection) are all fun and entertaining.

I’m fascinated by the convenience of my tablet when we travel, and my “smart phone”, (used for talking, taking pictures and texting, even though I’m still a one-fingered instead of a two-thumb typist). I wanted to learn how to use these “tools” to keep in touch with family, especially grandkids who are now young adults.

One more ‘f’ word that we hear far too often these days… fake! It’s used all over the place; in advertising, religion, manufacturing, health, politics, and relationships. It could be fascinating at times, but rarely funny. We need to be aware that even though the stuff we read may be fascinating and funny, it is not always the facts.

Tags: Opinions News Technology


E - Ed’s Enjoyable Evenings
Posted On 08/09/2017 21:52:58

We’ve had a great summer… at home. The health challenges that both my husband and I experienced this spring seem to have “given up”, and we’re doing well. We’ve experienced a late spring, a few weeks of very hot summer days with no rain, and massive forest fires in the Rocky Mountains that send us lots of smoke. We’ve enjoyed house guests, short weekend trips to the town where Ed and I met 55 years ago, to visit very dear friends, and some city guys who often come to visit with Ed in his shop. The shop is still his favorite daytime place, where he can work on something that needs fixing, or thinking of one more thing that he can to do on the old Ferguson tractor that he restored last winter, and … have an occasional nap. 

He’s ready to come to the house when I announce to him over our intercom that dinner will be served in 10 minutes. Dinner is often enjoyed while watching the 6 p.m. news, and then the search is on for a sports game that is about to start. He loves just about any team sport; hockey, baseball, footfall; and if he can’t find any team sport, he will watch curling, wrestling, boxing, soccer. Personally, I’m not much of a sports enthusiast, but we have that solved. We both use bluetooth headsets (because our ears are old and not working very well), and the TV is on mute. He can listen to his sports as loud as he wishes, and I read and listen to music on the Internet through my headset. I would give up TV any day to give me more time on my computer. Our evening is concluded with a small snack for him and a cup of coffee for me.

It’s not only Ed’s Excellent Evening but mine too. A quiet evening of just being together, old buddies that we are, who often just have short conversation during commercials, is an excellent evening. 

Tags: Shop Hobbies Sports


D – Delores and her Reborn Dolls
Posted On 08/03/2017 21:46:53

Last year, I had the opportunity to reconnect with a former neighbor. She had introduced herself when we moved into our new house, next to her home, and we connected immediately. However, both of our families moved several times, and we lost touch.

Delores was a talented seamstress, a group leader for Weight Watchers for many years, and after surviving cancer herself, spent many hours as a volunteer at a Hospice. After our  surprise meeting and exchange of loving and enthusiastic hugs, we went to a Tim Hortons for a coffee and a chat. It’s hard to catch up on what has happened in our lives for the past 25 years, but she did tell me that she is now a recognized expert in the making of reborn dolls. I had never heard of such a thing, so she invited me to come to their home for tea some afternoon, and she will introduce me to some of her dolls. I was able to visit her a couple of months later, and when she gave me her address, I discovered that I drive past her trailer park on the way to the city. Pleasant surprise, number two!

When she introduced me to some of her dolls, I was overwhelmed with her creative talent. She told me that she has made over 800 dolls in the last 10 years, and her expertise is in creating life-like dolls from photos that are given to her by customers. Many of them are parents or grandparents, giving her photos of the latest arrival to the family (child or grandchild).

Here are two of her dolls… (L to R) Delores with "Happy Babe", the larger doll in the center photo was made from photos of Baby Prince George; and mutual friend with a newborn baby.


RebornDolls.jpg

Tags: Reborn Dolls Friend


C – Chocolate, Caramel, and Cookies
Posted On 07/30/2017 22:24:03

I have been hit with a bit of nostalgia this evening. We’ve had so much hot weather in our area this month, and we’re not used to it. I can cope much better when it is cold. I heard this  statement a long time ago… “When it is cold, we can always put on another layer of clothes; when it is hot, we are limited to how much we can take off before we could be arrested.” I have a feeling that doesn’t always apply these days. Even on moderate days, we can see far more that we need or want to, thanks to the fashion styles. Sorry, I digress!

We were in the city for a short time this afternoon, and were tempted to stop for an ice cream cone. After considering the high price, we decided that we could wait until we got home because there was ice cream in our freezer. That sparked a conversation about enjoying ice cream when we were growing up on the farm.

To have an ice cream treat was quite an ordeal. We didn’t have electricity so Dad would make sure that he would have ice in our “ice house”, where blocks of ice were covered with lots of straw, in an underground cellar. Dad would chop the ice in small pieces, pack it around the metal container that Mom had filled with a custard mixture that would become vanilla ice cream. We took turns at the crank that kept the container moving so there would be no lumps, while Dad kept adding salt to the ice. I realize that if someone would ask me why he would add the salt, I would not be able to answer because I didn’t know. I went to Google, and surprise… I found the answer. Click on this link because the answer includes the kind of ice cream maker we used. Wow… another ‘c’ word… computer!

In season, Mom and I would walk to pick some wild saskatoon berries by the creek, or pick strawberries from her garden, and if there was no fruit available, we loved to pour some Rogers Golden Syrup on our ice cream. It was better than caramel (in my opinion), but we do have some in our pantry today.

The one thing that is missing is a freshly baked cookie, like my Mom made. I stopped baking cookies a long time ago. We rarely include desserts in our meals, and if we do hanker for something baked, we go to Costco. It works for us!!!!!

Tags: Memories Treats




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