Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fire, Fur, and Fifth in the World

Figure this: It's Sept 1 and we had a real fire in the fireplace at John and Anna's. T'was not just for show either. We needed it - it was 3 degrees this morning!

Just up the road, campers out for the Labour Day weekend had snow on their tents. Yee-ikes!

But look who showed up for dinner too. Mr. Bean! Poor Beanies failed the How-to-be-a Successful-Border Collie program on the sheep farm where he was born, so Anna's mom rescued him as a 2 year old. Beanie is 13 now and can't see anymore, but right away he recognized someone who would spend the whole evening petting him and he sat right by her. I got a giant pile of dog hair as a souvenir - can you sell that on e-bay? It was worth it.. he's such a sweet old guy. Made me really miss Shugy - she also was not the most "successful' Border Collie...never seemed to want to do a job like the 'true' ones do. Yet, she's content now out in her Cut-n-Shoot retirement home to just watch all the other young pups dash about and pretend as if she could still chase the horses.

Oh! So what about Fifth in the World? Well, Sports Director and good friend, Anna, aka Attackin' Anna (left), and her partner Rockin' Riva "beat the skirts off" their Chilean opponents clinching 5th place in the World for Team Canada in Paddle Tennis. No incriminating photos from the rest of the night when there was much celebration of the end of the games. The Argentinians, Chileans, Mexicans, Spaniards, definitely know how to party, fiesta, baila, forever .. all night long!

I got an Award!

Looky looky what I got from our daughter, Denise at ! I used to call my niece the "uptown overachiever" but does SHE have a I heart award? I think NO!

Who could've known that a virtual award would be so fun?!

Yet...there is a catch: Here's the rules:

1) I get to put the award on my blog to brag.
2) Then I Pay it Forward by passing it on to 3 other blogs I like..
3) Once I've put their links on my blog, I tell them I've given them the Big Heart award so they can collect it.. and ..then they repeat and so on.. Spreading the Love for sure! So here's my other "I love your blog" winners.

a) Backroads country girl
b) Spring Woodlands country girl and
c) Out of the Country girl my neighbor's AIDS- researching daughter, Laura's, blog - it hasn't been updated since June cause she's back in Canada for a stink but still it's saddening, fascinating, and enlightening.
and an honorary award to
c) Downsouth Cover Girl Country Girl cause I'm addicted to her funny "nouveau Erma Bombeck everyday happenings but methinks CG surely must have more big fuzzy pink hearts than she can handle.
and I'll add a little non-blog too . Is that in the rules? National Public Radio site. It has free music you can listen to - reviews of books, movies and more info than one head can hold. Enjoy!



Tyler Sandel - Wildlife Painter

Galerie Sandel: This stunning painting of a killer whale aka orca or cetacean was painted freehand by our very own, Tyler Cole..age 5. Since birth, Tyler has been asking anyone and i mean ANYONE who will listen to "draw whale." But now, he has stepped into his own as an artist and is painting acrylics. I'm gonna commission one cause Tyler originals will only get more and more valuable. He might just get the talent from his mom... isn't that a cute? (and for those of you who visit both blogs..YES i stole these from Denise's..but seriously..who could resist?)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Milkshakes and Manwiches

10 days since my last post?? Whuuuutttt's up with that? Here's a week's worth of excuses...

On Saturday, we made a big pitcher of FRESH peach mojitos to enjoy on our upstairs neighbor's balcony...... someone has to, eh?

On Sunday we had Milkshakes and Manwiches at Dairy Lane with HRH HPH aka Hillary, her world-traveling sister, Holly, and the Right Rev. Dr. Gov. John, but photos...which means we'll have to have a rematch on the milkshakes. (stay tuned also for photos of Lee and Don's beautiful horses... no camera with us that day either. I need to be more like Country Girl)

On Monday, my niece, Kristine, came for a visit from Den Haag, The Netherlands. We had lots of time to catch up while waiting for our dinner which took 1 1/2 hours to land on our table. I could've caught that fish and fried it up in a pan myself!

And then Tuesday and every other day of the week we were glued to the 2008 Summer Olympics Games - yes, we even love beach volleyball. But our loudest cheers were for our friend's grandson, Ricky Berens, who swam the 3rd leg of the 4x200 Freestyle Relay Final winning a gold medal for himself and helping Michael Phelps win his 5th gold.

And then Wed and Friday we cheered on our friend Anna @ the Int'l Paddle Tennis Tournament hosted here in Calgary. Paddle tennis is a cross betw. squash and tennis played on a glassed-in court 1/2 the size of a tennis court w/ a tennis ball, tennis net, and a solid paddle. Fast-paced and fun! We even met the Captain of the USA Team who lives in the Houston Heights! Here's Attackin' Anna playing Chile. And today, they beat Chile again to rank 5th in the whole World. Now, Sean Connery and I are gonna have to take up the game!

I'm gonna steal a photo from our daughter, Denise's, blog so you can see 5-year old grandson, Tyler's amazing artwork. or go to
Feels like fall already. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

3D Dinos

Work called so we made a quick trip to Houston to get our dose of heat and humidity. We were thrilled that Denise drove down on a rainy Saturday with the boys and we headed off to the Houston Museum of Natural Science with Kelsey to see the IMAX Dinosaurs in 3D.

Here's Tyler prepping for the trip to town by affixing his new fish tattoos. He's also sporting a lipstick kiss on his forehead, and a chocolate milk mouth.

Then Kelsey bought T and Cody some strawberry rock candy so you can see THAT on there with his 3D glasses.

Cody gave us his best pose with his mom.

Tyler alternated between taking off his 3D glasses so the dinosaurs wouldn't get him and trying to grab them on the screen. He had a running commentary through the entire film. "Are they gonna show more fish?" "Where are the T-Rexes?", "There's a pterodactyl," and "Is that a whale skeleton?" etc.

The biggest hit of the afternoon was the sand pit where C &T "discovered" dinosaur bones.

and then ...Opa! Geopalooza!

And some cool fossilized shells!
Kels and I really liked the gorgeous petrified wood...but Tyler was on a quest for sea life. FINALLY! Shell heaven!

And Tyler telling Kels all the types of fish in the mural...

and after a whirlwind tour of the museum..back to the house...
and one or two little glasses of vino ..and time to relax...
Here's one of my favorite photos of the day...

but it's tied with this one...

and these...

...oh geesh... what a fun day... if only I could put all of them into my suitcase!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Stop to Shop at the "Soul of Seattle"

Pike Place Market is filled with fish-slingers, flowers, fresh herbs, exquisite wines, and piles of pasta...all too tempting to pass. Two Buck Chuck came back from his business trip to Vancouver, WA (not to be confused with answer to test question posted earlier...) in time to take in the sights of the street performers, the sounds of the hawking vendors, and the smells of fresh everything! We've visited several times before, but this time our native Seattle-ite friend, Maureen, aka "Bob the Builder" Caruso, treated us to a personal tour of the 101-year old farmer's market aptly dubbed, the "Soul of Seattle."

So leaving oyster-eating heaven of Seattle, we took the San Juan Ferry BACK into Canada .. over to quaint Victoria, BC. Never know WHO might spot sunning naked. Kids avert your eyes.

We saw this stuff all along the ride... what is it? Looked like old fishing net or discarded rope. But nope.. they harvest it and use it in a bunch of products we eat everyday. like a cellulose gum... maybe you don't want to know...

Now what have we here?

Oh, if only Tyler were here....

Beetles, Bikes and the U.S. Border

On the road again - just can't wait to get on the road again. Gas nearly $5.50/gallon... the price on the pump is in liters. Good thing this road trip is Work.

The rust-colored trees are evergreens killed by those nasty pine-bark beetles. Stay tuned for some horrid forest fires, incomplete combustion, and unbreathable air. It's gonna be bad, folks!

If only the horny toads would munch on the pine-bark beetles!

Next stop: Downtown Vancouver, BC
Our friends the Goodricks took us on a long ride along the Vancouver seawall. Notice that one of us has donned the proper safety attire.

Test: As we cycled along we saw this. The skyline of which Canadian city? If you need a hint, read blog more slowwwwly.

Hooray! Back in the U.S.S.R! not!

The ol' Stars and Stripes lookin' good!

Back to U.S. prices! Ahhhh... Retail therapy! My wallet is glad that I didn't actually make it inside all these stores, but there they were waiting open arms I mean doors.. just in case....

Road Trip!

To paraphrase John Belushi: "When the going gets tough, the tough.. go on a ROAD TRIP!" Technically, it was work for Sean Connery but someone has to schlep along to navigate, right? First stop: Peachland, British Columbia. "Someone" had the idea to water ski on Lake Okanagan. 'Twasn't me I can tell you, but I was determined that even wonky skis wouldn't beat me. And 'twasn't yours truly who ended up getting the nastiest bruise ever! (photo of THAT only by request...and who would request that??) ok..judy E. would.

NEXT STOP: Hillside Estates Winery - Narramatta Bench, BC - WAFT Team: Wine and Food Tasting Team. Official Charge: To find the best Okanagan Valley wine for the communion chalice. Day One: Research team begins data-gathering: Leading the team, Chief Sommelier, The Rev. Dr. Gov. John P (also temporarily Official Paparazzi); Governess and Chief Swisher, Anna P; Wedding Singer and Taster for the Proletariat, Paul "Bring it On" Lung; Two buck Chuck, CKWinter, and that girl they let tag along.

No time to take in the view from the vineyard restaurant as the gathered Expert Research team is single-minded in critical data-gathering work.

After a few glasses of wine, the temporary Official Photographer started seeing beauty everywhere.

And a hard day's work comes to an end.