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Pictures from my niece's wedding are up over on my LJ.
http://midnightsjane.livejournal.com/
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I got back home last evening safe and sound. Not a bad flight. I bought a book in the airport in Ottawa, and had time to finish it by the time the plane landed in Vancouver. (It was a Stephanie Plum mystery by Janet Evanovich) I haven't read many of the series, but there was a very limited selection in the store. I found it quite enjoyable, good airplane reading.
The cats were happy to see me, and I was happy to see my own bed.

It was a good visit, the wedding went off with only minor hitches, no catastrophes or hissy fits, all good stuff. My sister Mary Anne is an organizing genius, really. She basically dedicated the last year to getting this wedding done (Allie is her only daughter, and they are very close, so it was very important to her to get it done right). I worked as directed, helping with prep work and set up; my other sister Sandy and her daughter Kim came on Friday for lunch, and we all spent the afternoon folding napkins and inserting sets of fork, knife, spoon, in all the napkins. Mary Anne made Sabayon sauce for the fruit salad dessert, and we all made up the plates of appetizers..we had quite the assembly line in place!

Wedding day was iffy weatherwise. Cloudy, occasional spits of rain..very worrisome. They waited until the last minute to decide whether the ceremony would be outside as planned, or in the big tent. Luckily the rain held off, the bride and groom stood under the arbor, and the ceremony finished with everyone staying dry. It was a lovely wedding, and I think my little sister shed a few tears.

It was great to have the chance to visit with my brothers and their wives, my Uncle Jack (who is 88, and doing well), and my various nieces and nephews.

After all the speeches and the dinner, the young crowd started the serious partying, so we left them to it. Sandy, Kim and I drove back to Kim's place outside of Smith Falls, a little town about an hour away from Mary Anne's. It was nice to be in a quiet place...I don't think I would have been able to sleep much with all the celebrating going on back there.

Sunday the three of us worked on Kim's gardens. She and her husband built a new house on two acres of woodland, basically just cut a small open area in the forest, so there's a lot of work to do on the landscaping. We were building a rock garden along the roadside edge of the property, so we hauled a lot of soil and rocks and worked really hard. Looked good when we finished. In the evening we drove in to Perth and had dinner at the Pub where Kim's son works. He's the chef there, and made us a nice meal. When we got back home, we had wine and cheese and a relaxing spell in the hot tub. I slept like a baby that night!

Yesterday Nick came and made us lunch (shrimp-mango pasta salad, yummy), before they drove me to the airport in Ottawa. Then it was back home again.

Like all trips, it seemed to go by at warp speed, while at the same time feeling like I'd been away for ages and ages. I am happy to be home, although I would have preferred not to bring all the bug bites with me. I'd forgotten how bad the black flies and mosquitoes are back there!

Back to the real world...have to work tomorrow.

ETA: I have pictures..to be posted when my phone is charged again.
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My Aunt Ruth died today. She was almost 91, so she lived a long and happy life. She and her husband were married for over 50 years, and she told me the last time I saw them that he was the best husband she could have ever hoped for. I hope he'll be okay; I think he will, because he has a very wide circle of friends in their community who are supportive, and of course he has us. Ruth was my mother's youngest sister, and now they are all gone. Guess that makes my siblings and me the old ones now. Weird.

I'm going to postpone my December talk topic for today until tomorrow. Just can't get my thoughts organized at the moment.

Progress

Nov. 19th, 2013 10:45 pm
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There is a big hole in the ground where the old house used to be out at the farm. They tore the house down yesterday, and when I came up the driveway today I was amazed to see how little remained of it. The guy who did the demolition is a real artist with that excavating machine; Sue said that after he knocked down the house he spent hours sifting through the rubble sorting it into piles: metal in one pile, cement in another, wood in a third. Everything that can be recycled will be, which is nice. He dug up the big rhododendron and carefully placed it out of harm's way, too. Now there's just the digging out of the hole to finish and the crew can start framing in the foundation. Progress!

Sue said it was really noisy yesterday, and the neighbours were all coming up to the gate to see what was going on. It was raining, which helped keep the dust down and made Wes's job easier for him. The horses all had to stay in, so this morning when Buddy and Teddy went out to their paddock they were a bit surprised to see the hole where the house used to be, right beside the paddock. But they were really good, and by the end of the day they were standing by the fence watching the big machine at work. Building the house will be a lot less of a problem for us with the horses than building the barn was, because it's on the other side of the fence and we won't have all the mess right under our feet.

It's very exciting. I was bitching to Sue about the fact that my idiot landlord is taking forever to get the work on the patio finished (it started in August, and the patio is still covered with tarps, haven't seen a worker in weeks, and I'm still stepping in puddles when it rains because they haven't finished fixing the drains) and she said something really nice to remember. She said, "well, it's not your forever home. This is going to be our forever home, and it will make all the work and stress worthwhile."

It was really cold today. The wind was quite bitter, so we got into winter mode; drained all the pipes in the sprinkler system in the arena, put all the horses' winter blankets on, and got the hose out ready to run into the field so the pipes don't freeze. It is getting to that time of year.

In other news, my Aunt Ruth is doing poorly again. My uncle is getting quite exhausted; he's in his late 80's, and this is tough on him. My sister and her husband are flying up from Florida to spend some time with him. My brothers are in the area too, so they're going to do whatever they can. It's at times like this I wish I was closer to them, because it's a long way to go for me, and I feel bad that I can't do more to help out. I hope Ruth improves, but I'm not terribly optimistic. She's very frail. Fingers crossed.
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My Aunt Ruth is out of ICU and has improved considerably over the last 24 hours. Aunt Ruth is 90 years old, and is my one remaining Aunt, my mother's last sibling left. She's the one person keeping my brothers and sisters and I from being "the old ones"..LOL. She became ill last week and it was touch and go for awhile; my Uncle Jack told us she was delirious and not responding for a few days, and he was very worried about her. I'm so glad she seems to be getting better. I hope she'll make it through the winter and be able to come to my niece's wedding in June. It is quite special when you have a family gathering with 5 generations! Anyhow, I've always been very fond of my Aunt Ruth; she's a lovely woman, and very much the family historian. When we all visited her last spring for her 90th birthday celebration she told me several times that we need to remember that family is important, and made me promise that if she died, we would make sure Uncle Jack was okay. "He's been the most wonderful husband" she said, and it made me very happy to see how the two of them cared for each other after almost 50 years of marriage. Very inspiring.

It seems strange to me to think that but for Aunt Ruth, my sisters and brothers and I are now the oldest generation, and that to my nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, we are what my aunts and uncles were to us: the connection between the family past and their futures. I just never figured on being the old(er) Aunt who had all these stories of family past to tell..and truthfully, I certainly don't feel like I'm all that much older than my oldest niece, who is almost 45. I guess it's all in the perspective you take.

For the record, I plan to be that aunt who is a bit on the eccentric side, who is the "cool" aunt...the one who is a kick-ass 90 year old! God willing and the creeks don't rise, LOL.
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My younger sister just won a very nice chunk of change from Lotto 649. Lucky her! I'm delighted for her, she totally deserves it, but I am just the teensiest bit jealous. It's not the jackpot, but it's enough for her to pay off some bills, pay for her daughter's upcoming wedding, and take a nice holiday in Europe with her husband.

Nice that it's happened to one of the family. Just wish it was me, of course. Maybe I should just go buy a lotto ticket. :P
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I've been thinking about doing some research into my family history ever since I first heard about the online site for tracing family trees, so last night I finally joined ancestry.ca. I spent about two hours there tracing my family lines; on my mother's side of the family I already knew quite a lot, especially about my grandfather. In fact, a couple of years ago my sister and I visited the village in England where he was born, and saw the family gravestones in the local churchyard. But I don't know much about my father's family past my grandparents, and I knew almost nothing about my father's mother. She never spoke about her family, at least that I knew of. I didn't even know what her maiden name was. So imagine my surprise when I found my grandparents' marriage license, and then her parents' names and then discovered that she was the youngest of 10 children! There's a whole side of the family I never knew about. I also found links to my mother's family tree that some other person had researched, which followed my grandfather's ancestors back as far as the 1600s. I've always had a love for history, and to find out things about my own family history is just so intriguing. I think I'm going to be spending quite a bit of time at the site (at least for the next 2 weeks, when the free trial period is up, then I'll see.)
As Mr. Spock would say, fascinating. Now if I could just say that while raising one eyebrow..
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Mother Nature, the jokester..
Rain held off all day. Except for the 20 minutes it took us to bring in the horses, when the heavens opened up and totally drenched us. As soon as the last horse was safely in her stall the rain stopped and the sun came out. LOL, Ma Nature. Very funny.

My brother and his wife are in town, just got an email from him. We're going to get together on Saturday for dinner, if everything works out. A little preview of the family reunion coming up next month. My two sisters and their husbands, my two brothers and their wives, and my aunt and uncle. Should be fun..except for the fact I have to fly to Ottawa in the middle of the night. I really don't like flying all that much, but my transporter just doesn't seem to be working. Damn. :P
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My Mom's apple crisp with her special sauce (a hot butterscotch sauce made with butter, brown sugar, water, cream and thickened with corn starch)liberally spooned over the hot apple crisp. One bite and I'm transported back in time to my Mom's kitchen, watching her as she carefully stirs the bubbling hot sauce, waiting for the moment when the crisp comes out of the oven and is served. It's one of those memories that connect me to my childhood, even after more than fifty years. As I just now realized, my mother died five years ago this week; she was 91. Maybe I was subconciously channeling Mom when I made this apple crisp on impulse this evening. As I grow older, my face in the mirror looks more and more like my mother's face, and even the shape of my hands is like hers, with my slightly swollen ring finger joints and the way my nails grow..of all her children, I look most like her. My other siblings are more like my father, or a combination of the two, but I am definitely my mother's daughter. Even our personalities are similar; somewhat reserved, with a strong practical streak and a "just get on with it" approach to life. If I can approach the next 30 years or whatever I have left of life with the same zest and interest in the world that she had right to the end of her life, I will think that I have honoured her memory. So, thanks for the apple crisp, Mom, and for everything else you gave me... I love you, and I cherish your memory.
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Guess it pays to check my facebook page once in awhile. I just found out my nephew Mike got married today!
Huh.
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My sisters left this morning, and the apartment feels quite empty, and very quiet. We had a great time, with only one minor spat during a game of scrabble, over whether a word was actually a word. Spat was resolved without a major incident, LOL.

We went out to Steveston, the fishing village/tourist attraction where Once Upon a Time is filmed...and we saw Mr. Gold's Pawn Shop! My younger sister watches the show, so we geeked out together over the sign..heee. We had a delicious lunch in a dockside restaurant, out on the patio in the sunshine, watching the fishing boats in the harbour. I had clam chowder and crab cakes, very yummy. My sisters enjoyed themselves.

Yesterday we ended up staying home. We had planned to go out to the farm to take Sue for dinner in Fort Langley, but she couldn't go. The farmer who is taking our huge manure pile away was still working on it. In fact he was still there today; that pile must have been at least 5 tons..5 tons of lovely decomposed manure, now a lovely pile of beautiful dark soil. Enough to make my gardener's heart go pittapat.

Anyway, we stayed here, went for a walk, then played Scrabble out on the patio. Good thing all the neighbours were out, because we were in high cackling mode. :P

This morning I dropped them off at the airport :( and went out to the farm. Cleaned all the stalls etc., and by the time I was back on the road, I was super tired. Had a hard time keeping my eyes open, but I made it home. Feels quite strange to have it so quiet. Sam is happy though; he's out from under the bed for the first time in days!

I'm going to go to bed early...in my own bed! The sofa bed just isn't the same, so I'm a bit sleep deprived.

Anyhow, it was such a fun week; I'm really glad they came. We're planning to do this regularly, having a sisters' get-together. We've decided the next one will be at my older sister's place in Florida. She has a pool!

Sisters

Sep. 18th, 2012 09:22 pm
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My two sisters are here visiting, so I've been busy. Right now they're watching TV, a show I don't care about, so I thought I'd pop in here and catch up.

They arrived on Monday morning and by the time we go home we were already giddy and giggly. I haven't seen my younger sister in five years, so we had a lot of catching up to do. It's fascinating to me that three women who fought like cats and dogs as teenagers can manage to get along as well as we do. It's a bit cramped in my little apartment, and the cats are in a bit of a snit (except for Chloe, who loves to be in the centre of things); Sam is under the bed, and there he stays until we do kitty roundup at bedtime. But we're managing quite well so far; only day two, but so far so good. Yesterday we started out for a walk around the neighbourhood, and it turned into about a three hour hike down to the beach and back up a very steep hill; halfway up the hill we all collapsed and just lay there laughing and catching our breath. Then I cooked fried chicken and new potatoes and local corn for dinner, and we played scrabble until bedtime.

Today we were up at the crack of dawn (they're still on back east time); went down to the Planetarium then had lunch, then drove out to the farm. I introduced the horses to them, and gave them the two bit tour of the place. We had planned to go for dinner in Fort Langley with Sue, but the guy who is hauling our manure pile away showed up, so Sue needed to stay. We decided to reschedule dinner for Thursday. With the afternoon to fill, I took my sisters in to White Rock, where we walked on the beach and in the water (quite warm), ate fish and chips on the boardwalk, and fought off the seagulls who wanted a taste. It was a lovely afternoon.

Now I'm pretty tired, and ready for an early night. Busy day again tomorrow.
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Lunch with my little brother and his wife yesterday was very nice. I met them at their hotel and we walked across the road to a restaurant on the waterfront where we had a delicious lunch (I had a salmon burger, with a salad and fries), and a glass of beer. Unfortunately the view was less than advertised, due to the cloudy weather, but we had a good look at some of the fancy boats moored there. One of the more spectacular views was our server's hair..it was truly a work of art. She had a straight bob, dyed white, with bangs and sides that were dyed bright pink, electric blue, and emerald green..it was eyecatching and totally beautiful. She was young and hip looking, and carried the look off very well. I couldn't stop looking at the hair. We made sure to tell her how gorgeous it was, because art should be appreciated, no matter what the form.

Today was a lovely sunny day for a change, of course, because my brother and sister-in-law were leaving. That's how it works, it seems.

Went out to the farm this morning, and got stuck in a humungus traffic jam. Took me twice as long to get there as usual. Grrrr. I will be so glad when they finally get all that road construction done. Makes me very cranky, it does.

Stripey the barn cat has disappeared again. Sue is very upset, but hopeful that she'll come back like she did before. Stripey is one of those adventurous cats who likes to go hunting all the rabbits and mice we have in the bushes, so I hope she's just off having a good time, and will be back. It's hard not to worry, but we can't keep her locked up all the time, so we just have to hope she's okay. A few good thoughts for her safe return would be appreciated.

Family

Aug. 7th, 2011 10:47 pm
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I just got an email from my sister to tell me that one of my cousins has died. She actually learned of her death from the obituary in the local newspaper; neither of my cousin's two sisters contacted any of us. We only have the three (now two) cousins; my mother was one of seven children, and she was the only one who had children of her own. On my father's side of the family, he had one brother, who had 3 daughters, each born 7 years apart. So one would think we might be a little closer, but not really. I have to say that the youngest daughter, who still lives in my old hometown, is one of the stranger people I've known. In fact, she's downright unpleasant half the time. When her mother died, none of us knew about it for several days. My sister actually had to contact the local cops to go check because we'd heard a rumour that Aunt Margaret had died but we couldn't contact any of the girls. They didn't have a funeral, didn't have any kind of memorial service, and never acknowledged our cards of sympathy. I was saddened by this because Aunt M. was my favourite aunt. Now her oldest daughter has died, and I have no idea from what, or when. Mind you, I haven't seen or spoken with her for over 30 years, so I guess it's not that I'd be the first one to know. At least all my siblings talk to each other (most of the time - my brothers are not the best communicators, but at least they try).

Families can be very strange.

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