Thursday, December 17, 2009

A joyful noise

"...With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. Psalms 98:4-6 "

Those of you know know me would say I'm more spiritual than religious, but I just happen to think this particular quote applies.
Christmas concerts seem to be the embodiment of all that is sweet and pure and excited and carefully practiced for the season. They are slightly tacky-glue-with-glitter, but they are also a goal for kids to work towards (complete with performance anxiety), and truly, since even I was a kid, have marked the beginning of Christmas.

Sure, to the cynics, they're a jostling, sweaty, noisy, neck-craning cheek-to-jowl with strangers assault-on-the-ears experience when time could be better spent shopping for that last present, drinking Christmas cheer with colleagues or just listening to some orchestrated Bach on the Boes speakers.

But I went to hear my baby. (Okay, she's ten, but she's still my baby.)

She played her shiny brand-new trumpet, joyfully making noise that sounded suspiciously like music, for all her six weeks of learning an instrument she'd never tried before November. (There she is, second from left in that horn section, beside Annaliese in the Santa hat.)

And there was a gym full of other parents and siblings and grandparents doing the same thing, listening to their sweet babies who had, amongst all the other challenges of school and homework and chores and family commitments and roomcleaning and everything else kids do these days to become "balanced", somehow managed to miraculously learn a whole new skill well enough to honour us with their effort.

Merry Christmas. I wish you.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Shuswap memories

We spent, arguably, the best week of summer in the Shuswap, specifically in the hidden gem known as Scotch Creek. Used to camping, we were in pure luxury in an outfitted log cabin with running water, stoves, beds, electric light and a bath. A few moments stroll away from the warm and clean lake. Pure heaven.
While we were there, Aurora emerged from the water only long enough to sleep.

I nosed out the best of the local fruit...and promptly made 5 kinds of jam with it to bring home and enjoy all year. (Thanks to everyone tolerating the kitchen heat) Maybe to share, with my patient cabinmates, especially!
And...we found the BEST-ever cinnamon bread, perfect for French toast, served with lots of maple syrup, fresh fruit and, of course, bacon.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Love is...

...not necessarily not having to say you're sorry - although we all know it surely helps when needed.

For us, it's a whole bunch of things. There was a little post on Ravelry boards recently about what this is, and I was going through a bunch of recent pictures, and I found a few that for me, truly showed what love means in our family.

An unexpected bouquet of strawberries & chocolate at the end of a long, difficult few weeks says volumes. I was even able to share the love with my friends!
Aurora loves her cat, Hattie - who (by the way of her ears) does not always love being held, but who does it anyway, because she loves Aurora right back.
My sister must love us a lot - she manages, every year, to take our annual picture, with her lovely long arms held out with the camera, when she does a whirlwind tour in our direction, or when we're visiting her in Cold Lake or Edmonton. This is often taken after many hours of missed sleep from us catching up on life.

I love my garden - this year in pots only, due to selling and moving - and it just feels like love right back when I wake up in the morning and go out on the porch to greet the day...and these blooms are there to say good morning. Love, for me, is when Jason waters them for me when I can't.
Speaking of Jason, his gift of Artigano lattes to me, often when I need one most but don't ask for it (he just disappears in the morning & shows up with it - in time to drink on the porch with my flowers) is just awesome.
As is his willingness to get "dressed" by Miss A, never mind getting photographed in the outfit when she begs him to. Yes, that is a ShamWow (which Aurora loves), that he is brandishing. No parent ever felt prouder (and humiliation never enters the scene.)
And for Jason, Pizza=Love. So, why not get the best we can, when we can? We love Nick's Pizza. Crispy on the bottom, gooey on the top, deliciousness. Mmm.
Jason also discovered a new love this summer: He taught at a creative writing camp for teenaged kids in July put on by the Young Alberta Book Society - and what a bunch of kids. These kids truly love the written word, and were just the most amazing bunch of young people I've seen in action. The group dynamic was unimaginably supportive, and Jason fell in love with teaching...and the energy from these incredibly talented kids. The gesture they're making is a "standing O(vation)", in homage to Gail Sidonie Sobat, the woman behind the event.
My friend Anne showed some pretty awesome love to me during the heat wave (sadly, we long for one now) this July. When she heard of my longing for a lime slurpee - and discovery of one up the street, but knew I was cooped at the yarn store (never a bad thing really), she marched right over there and came back with a pair of the biggest lime slurpees I've ever seen. I love her for that.
The yarn store has been the centre of a lot of love for me. I love it there - I find my peace there. I find things I love (mmm, fibre...), I plan to make things for the people I love, and we knitters sure do talk about the people we love, when we're there - and God knows those women have helped me deal with so much of the loves in my life!
Aurora has found love there, the form of Correna's puppies. She first met Honey & Juno about two years ago, and pined for one of her own. And Juno had puppies recently...and Aurora has utterly fallen in love with one of those, too. Which might just become one of her own...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It ain't summer till you have a lime slurpee.

That's what I think.

Hot day = need for lime and ice. Only place in town I know to get 'em is 7-11 in Bridgeland, but they run out fast. The guy who works there only on Saturdays is the only guy (he says) to order it in.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Memories of Stampede

Being a true-born Calgarian, Stampede is sort of a season for me. Kind of like Christmas. You prepare for it, you survive it, you move on, knowing it's coming next year. Hard to get whipped into the frenzy - I don't even go to the Parade (shocked gasps from the audience, I know). It gets in my way of going downtown. Tourists slow me down.

And yet, this year, I found myself more drawn in than usual. I entered some knitting in the "exhibition" portion of the Calgary Exhibition & Stampede (and got a 3rd-place rosette for my entrelac hat!). I volunteered to show people how to spin sheep fleece to yarn in the Barns with the Rare Breeds association, and in the Cabin near the Exhibition section, with my guild, the Sheep Creek Weavers. Riel was in town, doing her fighter-pilot thing with a static display of an F-18 jet (well, part of it, anyway) along with the other parts of our military. (She was in the parade, too! I even caught that bit on streaming real-time online coverage from the air-conditioned spacious comfort of my office but don't tell anyone). And Aurora had managed to fanagle a delay for her annual Montreal trek to be in town long enough to partake of the festivities.

Me, I went for the mini-donuts (gotta watch those suckers go down the river of oil). But then Riel got me in to the Chuckwagon races - for the first time ever, I got close enough to them to get mud on my hat...something you can't understand until you've felt the wind from a horse & rider barrelling by and the thunk! of a chunk of mud smacking your head. And because she's who she is, I got to go to the Chuck barns and see horses and muckety-mucks and drink Calgary Stampede-emblazoned Budweiser beer. Cool.

But I did get to take the kid, too. I brought her with me late on the last Saturday, and we did a kid's ride, and she finally got her greatest wish: to see the ShamWOW! presentation up close & personal, and own a set of her very own. Plus we ate things on a stick (a Tornado Potato). And she did a kid's ride that looked pretty cool - some kind of controlled reverse bungee jump. And then we watched the Grandstand Show...I have to admit, it was some good entertainment. Lucky kid, the next day, her Uncle Mik, AND Auntie Riel took her on the mean rides and behind-the-scenes experiences few Calgarians - and tourists - get at the Greatest Show on Earth. Great initiation.

But, me, my feet got really tired. Perhaps it's because wasn't wearing cowboy boots. Good thing two bits'll get you a short but sweet massage.

Picnic at Grampa's

It's just not a meal at the Kendall's without awesome food, home-grown beef, and some kind of kerfuffle involving an animal. Sometimes it's a cow, or a coyote (getting shot during dinner whilst prowling the cattle for an unattended calf), or a mule, or a dog.
Given that the cattle are gone, our choices were limited.
The Southern Kendalls - that is, Uncle David & Auntie Marion (Arizona) plus Cousin Rebecca (California) were in town, and most of us locals showed up. Auntie Olwyn & Uncle Monte brought a cooler full of yumminess, and my newly pregnant cousin Lindsay (and Juan) made munchies (and tasted them while at it - after all, they are eating for two) to tide us over. Auntie Laura was buzzing the kitchen with David & Marion shucking corn, when Grampa came busting in, badly needing a bucket of water for Chester.
This was new. Nobody worries about Chester. In fact, we all are often very busy getting him to go away. Chester is the Chesapeake Chocolate Lab Grampa adopted a few years ago, and he's a bundle of energy and is more than a little OCD about his "stick". A stick to Chester is anything he can coerce someone to toss for him more than once - so he can go get it, again & again. Today it was a partially rotted log. Last time I visited, it was a huge rubber shingle Grampa had dropped from his roofing project. Another time it was a broken bicycle tire.

Suddenly everyone was on the porch, bent over....Chester. The silly pooch had convinced the two visiting kids - second cousins, I guess, being progeny of Donnamom's Cousin Paul - to throw and throw and throw his "stick" for him for probably more than an hour. In summer. Nobody was keeping track because, well, the kids were busy and Chester wasn't bugging anyone. So, Chester stopped, finally, when he passed out, collapsing near the porch.

Poor Grampa. He was worried. And everyone worries when Grampa worries.
So we got cold packs and buckets of water and more water, and poured them on Chester, and coaxed him back to the land of the living.

And when that dratted dog could barely prop himself up again, on his two very wobbly front legs (ignoring the fact that his back end was not moving from the "passed out" position), the first thing he did was lean over to wrap his mouth around his stick...and promptly fell on his face.

Ever practical, Rebecca finally had the sense to hide his stick.
And then Shaun & Kristy showed up...with a puppy. Who proceeded to find Chester's stick, steal it, and make Chester follow him around.

So we decided to eat dinner.