Saturday, December 30, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
I don't have a sewing room in our bungalow but Terry has made a sewing closet in my laundry room. It's the niftiest and I quite like it. He had built in my last Bernina which as I have mentioned earlier is 28 years old and is now happily residing in Bea's house. In the above picture you can see Terry is now measuring the difference to my counter top. Luckily this new machine is a pinch bigger for the adjustment.
Ah, the joys of marrying a handyman. Terry is a master Bricoleur. If a college degree could be had in Bachelor of Bricolage, he would certainly already achieved that several times over. You single girls might want to think about that and even ask about your date about his handyman credentials.
So, here it is all installed. Pretty slick, don't you think? Yesterday after the install I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to figure the "sewing computer" out. I laughed when I realized that it threads itself. How perfect is that for my middle aged eyes? My mom used to say that God threaded her machine for her every time. She would point the thread in the right direction and say a prayer. She was always quite amazed that it literally threaded itself.
I practised how to program in special stitches and how to write my name. A little like school. It is definitely a dream machine. I will try very hard not to talk about my new sewing computer in every post.
Tonight we are having friends over for dinner and I'm trying to make a "authentic spaghetti and meatball" sauce that I found on the Internet. It's called Anthony's Spaghetti and Meatballs. I've spent the last three hours making this so I hope it will be worthwhile. The recipe is detailed down to how many minutes to stir the sauce before you add the next ingredient. I've always felt that I have a pinch of Italian blood in my Mennonite veins. I just love Italian food.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Bea's Poinsettia napkins . . . that girl has such patience.
Lunch time snack of spincah and aritchoke dip.
Every year Terry's sister Brenda and her husband Rik have given the boys cash. Every year they begin to plot sometime after Boxing day about how they will make that cash somewhat difficult to get to. The game started quite simply when they were still quite young. They had put a couple of Santa Claus ornaments on the tree with money hidden in them. Since then they've hidden the money in old ties, inside wine bottles with the corks securely in place, money made into lovely japanese fans. folded into tiny little squares and put into those little foil decoration boxes that are used in floral arrangements, inside 2 of the rolls of toilet paper of a 4 roll pack and then taped back into the package and I can't remember what all. This year it was put between 2 blocks of wood which were glued together and then bolted 4 times with long screws. I think that they could put in Monopoly money and the kids would still be happy.
Rik and Brenda plotting their next move, looking none to pleased that those kids got into the money again. How many sleepless nights will they have before next Christmas. Thanks Rik and Brenda for being a great aunt and uncle.
All in all it was a really great day. We sadly overindulged and we suffered a bit for that. I tried a new turkey brine this year which I'm happy to report was quite tasty. I tried a new Yam Puff recipe that was delish. The boys didn't complain about the few dried cranberries that I snuck into the dressing. I didn't overcook the broccoli. My girls cleaned up after the dinner which was so sweet of them. After they all left Terry and I quickly cleaned up the mess and then relaxed, listened to Christmas music and talked about what a wonderful time we had.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
We have had a wonderful year. There has been nothing earth shattering so it's all good. We've worked and played and learned to be a empty nest couple. Terry and I often look at each other and realize how blessed we are to be in love. How is it that a couple of 19 year old kids can date for 4 years of high school, get married and as far as it is humanly possible . . live happily. So now we are finding a new balance in our lives of wanting to enjoy our adult children and at the same time allowing them to have a new center of gravity in their own homes.
Terry has continued to enjoy full time work on our laying hen farm. His highlight this year was building the shop. We had our tractor stolen from behind the barn early this year and realized that we needed to have a secure area for our equipment and also for Terry to have a workspace. I have jokingly said that I need to install one of those big rounded mirrors on my porch so I can see if the lights are still glowing in the shop. He is the handyman of handymans and tends to lose track of time in his new favorite dwelling.
I have enjoyed some time helping Dorothy at her Bed and Breakfast. It has been purely for pleasure and they treat me so well. I've learned much about hospitality in their home.
The highlight of this year was taking our family including our Mom to Maui in May. We left the same day that Bea handed in her last assignment at university. We had such a great time together and will forever enjoy the memories of that uninterrupted family time. Bea had the misfortune of breaking her arm but she is a noncomplaining trooper and continued to smile.
This has been a milestone year for Bea. She graduated from university and has started to teach. She has recently accepted a position and we know that she will be a blessing in her class. Terrence and Bea built a house this summer and have been busy making it a very welcoming home. Terrence continues to work in the Steel Industry and this year he started a side business with a friend, wiring and installing home theatre systems.
Stuart and Karlee continue to work hard in their careers. Stuart is a software developer and Karlee is a Registered Nurse. They have begun a renovation in their basement and have completed the media room. They worked together to redo their entire yard and have done a great job of making their home really cozy.
While our children are grown up, we are still their parents and we still feel joy when they are excited and full of anticipation. We stress when their plates are too full and they are exhausted and we want to carry them and not let anything sad ever happen to them but that would not be realistic. We try to do what our parents did for us. We pray for them and trust that God will bless them and strengthen them and make them a blessing to others.
As for Terry and I . . well on most days if you drive by the bungalow at 7:00 am, you'll find us sitting at the island in our kitchen having breakfast. If you drive by at noon, we'll be sitting there eating our lunch and at 6:00 we'll be enjoying our dinner.
It's a wonderful life.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
When he said that he was going to move over his work bench the boys groaned and really wanted him to splurge and buy a proper work bench. Terry doesn't just discard things so easily. He had inherited his grandfathers workbench who was a cobbler in Yarrow when he first immigrated from Russia. From Yarrow the workbench moved to a small house in Vancouver and somewhere down the line Terry got it. It's still as solid as the day it was made. Terry moved it over from the room under the barn and painted it all up and put a new work top on it. Do you ever wonder if there is something that you have used for years that someone will want to keep forever just because it belonged to you?
So now Terry is making a special plaque that will properly commemorate Ken's faithful years at Chrysler and although I could have shown it to you, we won't unveil it until Friday and then perhaps I'll shoot a photo for your perusal. It is actually quite a hoot and we hope he'll find the humor in it. When Terry retired from Safeway a few years ago, Ken and Linda made a scarecrow effigy using all the old Safeway work attire. We were going to burn it but it was such a thoughtful gift we couldn't quite part with it.
It's actually quite crazy that we are even thinking down the road to retirement. We are having a party for a friend who is retiring. How crazy is that?
Oh, and this is a PS. Terrence is not having a time out. He is perhaps a little zoned out after another short night and early morning to work.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
How can you tell? I didn't want to post something one week before Christmas and not be festive about it so the picture is my take on the "festivus" of this.
I'm somewhat reticent about posting this story because it reveals several character flaws which I'm not obligated to reveal but in light of the fact that I've delighted in telling stories of Terry I suppose I will tell.
Yesterday I made a purchase over the telephone after doing my homework on the Internet. I've done this plenty of times before and did not feel at all apprehensive about the procedure. I was in a bit of a hurry as I had nearly forgotten to do this and I needed some flowers delivered yesterday.
The questions were all quite familiar except that after asking for the expiry date she also asked for the last three numbers on the back of the card which I quickly gave her and finished the call. It wasn't until later when we were with friends and we were discussing it that I began to feel uneasy and actually quite worried. Those of you who know me will understand that once I worry I become fixated on my concern.
When we got home I asked Terry if I should call Visa and he said well if your not going to sleep then yes, but I said "no, it'll be fine after all, I initiated the call. Right"? Wrong. I didn't sleep. Terry did. I finally got up and went and laid on the couch waiting for the morning to come so I could call Visa with my concern. I know that they have a 24 hour call line but our bungalow isn't big enough to do that without waking up Terry and he has a cold and I couldn't do that to him.
To make matters worse in the middle of the night as I was fidgeting around I realized that my necklace was missing and I never take it off as it was a gift from Terry. Oh brother, I couldn't do anything about this either because our bungalow isn't soundproof and the wood floors creak in the middle of the night and so I couldn't run around looking for it.
So first thing in the morning I phoned Visa and . . no there had been no unusual purchases made and yes the card was still fine (but as you can see I asked for a new one). The card I had yesterday had just recently been turned into art work. Then I looked for my necklace and there it was nicely put on my dresser. I don't know, I was obviously in a state last night.
I'm actually really very thankful that there wasn't a problem this morning and even though I prayed like the dickens last night I still worried and I don't like that very much about me. Someday I'll list for you the ridiculous things I've worried about for nothing. My Dad was a wonderful and kind man and the only thing I can think of that could be perceived as a character flaw was that he well . . .worried. I'm not the only one in the family that was blessed with this trait and I probably won't be the last.
So, today I have a headache. This morning by 8:00 we were at Starbucks after I got my life sorted out. Terry bought me a very nice mug with his Visa card. All is well. I'm very thankful that God blessed me with a man who doesn't scorn me. I'm very blessed.
Let the week of Christmas begin.
Friday, December 15, 2006
"Shoppa go-nna" is my own personal neologism and I like it. I coined this phrase some time ago and my girls know it means serious stuff. Yesterday Terry and I went to find the last few trinkets for our beloved and deserving children. We know that Christmas is not about the gifts but we delight in finding them a treasure or two. It is mind befuddling to think that if we feel joy in such trivial and superficial giving, how much joy must God have felt when he sent Jesus as a gift to us.
Although the storm outside was brewing and I felt somewhat compelled to stay at home so as to not miss a speck of it, but we once again put our feelings aside to think of our beloved children. We went to the mall (inside with no windows to see the storm rip) and Terry went upstairs to Sears' tool section to seek stocking stuffers and I headed downstairs to look for goodies there. We always check to make sure our cell phones are turned up so that we can locate each other when we are done. As you may well know, cell phone reception leaves a bit to be desired in the mall. After just a few minutes, I realized that there was nothing to fit the bill downstairs and tried to call Terry for a rendezvous point. Ah, the phone kept cutting out and I wasn't even sure it had rung for him so I figured I may as well head back up the escalator to find him. I was about half way up and I see him coming down the other side. We wave and I point to the bottom as if to say I'll meet you downstairs and he also points down. I then took a short cut through the boys wear and hurried to the down escalator. I'm half way down and I see Terry heading back up the other side. He just smiles. Now, I don't know should I wait down there or should I head back up knowing that I'll see him grinning again coming down. I won't call him any names. Last time I did that, people started calling him a kook on the street. Not nice.
We later ate a hot dog at the mall. We find it strangely enjoyable, sitting there waiting for people we know to come by for a visit. Terribly fun.
Well on the storm note. It was not disappointing. We lay in bed and at one point I almost suggested that we move away from the window. The bungalow took a bit of a shaking and I wondered whether Terry would be going up again to glue down more shingles. At 11:00 the wind gusts were 91km. and it was even more frightful a bit later on. I was hoping the schools would be closed for my dear ones who teach but alas, the storm cleared.
I just love a good storm, its so invigorating.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
Terry and Tim were friends first because they both worked at Safeway and he certainly would have been Terry's best man but he went off to Europe to do a stint of Bible School. Later on when Tim and Flo got married we started to develop a friendship that has lasted more than 26 years. Our kids were a bit older than their kids but nonetheless we went camping together every summer for 14 years. We looked forward to that all year long, saving a little every month so we would have the funds available for 2 weeks in the Okanagan.
We have played more hands of Rook, shared more dinners, discussed the ins and outs of Safeway, and hiked the trails of Manning Park with them more than with any other family. They were there for us when we found out 25 years ago that Terry had cancer and we felt sick with them when 2 of their children were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Friendship really does set in deep when you work through tough times together.
The Tim stories are endless but the one I'll relate today happened during the time that Terry had a broken leg. (sometime I'll tell you about that era in our lives) We decided that even though Terry's leg was broken there was absolutely no reason that all of us should suffer with boredom. It was a beautiful summer day and the kids wanted to go to Stanley Park. We were always looking to borrow some vehicle that could manage the nine of us and at the time the only option was my parents camper van. We borrowed a wheel chair for Terry and off we went. We weren't 10 minutes from home when Tim nearly drove us over a 4 foot embankment which would have surely toppled our camper van. Had it not been for the collective scream to alert Tim we would have been down the other side of that narrow curb. This did not bode well for the rest of the day but we were not to be discouraged.
When we got to Stanley Park Terry obediently presumed the position in the wheelchair and off we headed to the Kids train. This was at a point in Tim's life where his energy was abounding and he set off at a rather brisk pace. The more Terry told him to slow down the faster he went. The warning bells were ringing. Now I don't know if you are familiar with the path leading up to the train but it has a lot of gnarly roots under the scant layer of pavement. We could see the small front wheels begin to quiver and Terry could feel the wheelchair begin to shake. Without any warning at all the wheelchair abruptly stopped, hurling Terry into the air. As fast as he went up he came down skidding to a halt with his plaster cast scraping along for a good 2 feet. When it was all said and done his heel was exposed and had it not looked so funny we would have been more convincing about our concern. Ah yes, these are the memories that will be retold year after year and they just get funnier. I will be sure to tell more Tim tales another time. We have been continually amused at Tim's defiance at the status quo. His hair styles over the years have changed from big Afro when they got married to shaved absolutely bald in more recent years. I really need to invest in a scanner so I can amuse my loyal readers with pictures from the past. This morning he informed us that he is working on a Grampa Munster look. Ah yes, he really is an entertainer at heart.
Tim and Flo have been a blessing in our lives. We don't even bother to get out the rook cards anymore . We would be doing too much talking and not enough playing. Now we are just like I remember my parents being when they would have "old" friends over talking about the good old days. Oh my.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
We have a diverse group of people which makes our conversations intriguing and sometimes down right intellectual. Why just this morning Ray and Becky were saying on the way to meet us that all of us girls end our names with an A and all the guys end with either a Y or and N. At this point I said but if we start to say John . .nY and Ken . . nY, well then all the guys will end with a Y and we'll be good to go. One day we realized that all of us girls but Linda had Peters for our maiden names, but none of us are related. This gives you a bit of an idea of the useful information that goes back and forth. It is quite invigorating.
Together we have shared our daily lives and have tried to be an encouragement to one another. We spend a good deal of time laughing and talking. We have gone on Dinner Cruises to see the Fireworks, we helped at church functions together, we've even helped each other with a bit of renovating, we've enjoyed the benefits of each others expertise but I daresay, what we enjoy most is eating together.
Together, we've come up with some great ideas. One year we even planned a wedding together with Ken and Linda when their daughter Karlee and our son Stuart got married. (Stuart and Karlee actually came up with the idea to date by themselves . . really)
Yes, it is a blessing to have friends who are a constant in our lives. Friends, who are accepting of us but who are also willing to help us in our areas of struggle. What a wonderful thing it is to belong.
Well I must hurry to get brunch ready. The chill'ns are all coming and we have dinner guests coming tonight and I still need to finish the Creme Brulee.
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
I helped Dorothy a bit again today and I'm happy to report that I didn't dump anything on the floor. It was a bit funny though, after we served lunch we were making croissant sandwiches for ourselves. I said to Dorothy . . ."oh shoot, did they eat all the lettuce?" at which she replied "did you put it out?" Oh boy, Dorothy and I had an entire carefully crafted lettuce flower sort of thing (that I had bit a bit proud of) all to ourselves.
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Sunday, December 3, 2006
We also hosted a dinner party in our bungalow for 10 guests. I love to make the house look festive and inviting for Christmas but without the laughter and sounds of people filling our home it would mean nothing. Somewhere between Terry's claustrophobia of having too many people squeezed in and my love of filling the house to the rafters, we have learned to compromise. It wasn't until this particular party where I said, "you really do feel claustrophobic?" The poor guy has been telling me that for 28 years, and I always thought it was more of a . . . "we're going to be a little full aren't we?" He always offers to sit at the island which is simply not an option. We had a couple over fresh from New Zealand. They have only been in Canada 1 week and so I asked if they have found very many cultural differences at which he replied . . "well we are quiet while we eat". Oh dear, this must have been a bit of a shock.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I thought about her childhood winters and her experience when my great grandma passed away. They lived in the prairies where cold doesn't begin to describe winter. I'll give you a few excerpts of her record.
"It was February 1939. I had just turned seventeen. . . .Uncle Peter Penner came on the yard . . .we knew something must be wrong for him to come in the bad weather. He told us that Grandma had a bad stroke and he wanted me to go with him to stay with Grandma and Grandpa till she would feel better again.
The roads were drifted over and the horses kept falling into the snow up to their stomachs and would always have to jump to be able to move on. It was a terrible drive. It must have been the Lord that helped us to their place without the harnesses breaking or even the sleigh. "
She goes on to tell that they couldn't make it to the grandparents in one day and stayed the night at her aunt and uncles. It was only ten miles. By the time they got there her grandma had another severe stroke and they asked my mom to walk two miles to the train station and then take the train to Glenbush and from there find her way home.
She says " I walked along the railroad. I ran almost all the way. I was so afraid the train might come, and I had no where to go to let it pass by. There was only deep snow to fall into. I was at the station only a short while before the train arrived and I was so thankful I made it, the Lord helped me again."
When she got home her parents immediately left to go to the grandparents and the children were left to take care of the farm. My mom was the oldest. They had to water the cattle and horses. They hauled water out of the deep well with a pail. They milked the cows, cleaned out the manure put down fresh straw and brought in enough wood to keep warm at night. She says that they were on their own for 2 nights in the storm. At one point one mean horse bopped her in the nose and broke it but she had to keep going.
Once again I sit here humbled by the strength my mom obviously had. She had an indomitable strength of character I never fully appreciated while she was alive. As I have recently reread her 300 hand written pages, I realize again how blessed our family is to have had a Mom who had an inveterate trust that her future lay in the hands of her Lord Jesus.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
A bit of distance has now separated us and the daily walks are long gone but this morning Kathy and I went to do a bit of Christmas shopping. Now that I have daughter-in-laws and she has son-in-laws we can actually Christmas shop in the same stores and advise on each others selections.
Around 11:30 our proclivity is to consider our lunch options. We both love to cook and bake and so we naturally share ideas for recipes and entertaining ideas. We settled for a bowl of steaming Potato Corn Chowder and a Cornmeal muffin.
After a relaxing lunch we went up to the B&B to see how the Christmas decorating is coming along and garner inspiration for our own homes.
Kathy headed home and I landed up staying at the B&B to help Dorothy for a bit. I made 3 chocolate ganache tortes and a caramel sauce. I think I'll find my way back there to help with with that event.
As I think about my day, I feel so grateful for the blessings in my life. This week at my ladies care group, one of the ladies gave us each a little angel holding a sign that says "Give Thanks".
I have so much to be thankful for. God has blessed me with the gift of a husband who loves me, children who love their wives, (and I think us) family and friends who understand my heart, inspire me, and share my joys. Lord help me to honor You by being a blessing to those that you have put into my life.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
This morning I was anxious to lay the squares out so I could have some idea of the finished product and also to be able to sew them together. Originally I started to lay the squares on our table but after I ran out of room I moved it on to the area rug. I should have put a sheet down first so that the border of the rug wouldn't add to my craziness but I'm sure not moving it all again.
There must be a mathematical way to lay out the squares to make them even but math was definitely not my strength so I just went for it. I actually had to take a break and go for a good brisk walk on the treadmill to clear my mind. I'm used to patterns and instructions step by step. I decided it would be good to take a picture of it so I could get a birds eye view of my color deficiencies. Well, I can see that the picture is a good idea and I'm sure you are looking at the same thing I am . . . . noticing the too many beige and too many blue or red in one area. I think after a relaxing lavender bubble bath I'll be ready to tackle it again.
We are quite the scene working together. Last night we put Gilmore Girls on for those of us that enjoy the "fast talkers". I was actually requested to do my sewing during commercial breaks due to the noise velocity of my walking foot. I was quite happy to honour this request since I had my back to the television.
Terry just came in and told me to come outside for a bit. It's crazy windy weather out there . . . my favorite kind. The wind will blow the cobwebs out my brain and I'm sure that I'll be able to see better when I come in.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
So my tree will sit quietly for another winter and wait for some warmth to coax its beautiful buds forth. The buds will start already in winter when only an optimist can imagine Spring around the corner.
I have no idea why I thought about Dad today; it's not unusual though. I loved my father-in-law and enjoyed the times he'd stop in for coffee. He would often pick up the boys and drag them around the countryside with him because he hated being alone. He'd bribe them with a promise of doughnuts at the end of the outing. He would tinker endlessly on anything broken and enjoy making the useless, useful again.
When I look outside and see that tree I think of Dad even if its just for a fleeting moment. For now we'll enjoy our memories and anticipate our reunion in heaven ...and we'll continue to be thankful for a Dad who left a legacy that was priceless.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Sunday, November 5, 2006
There is something I find quite satisfying about sewing surprises. I found this pattern for little girl coats and just got so excited about sewing a few up. It could be that the patterns have become better, but I never seemed to sew that much for my boys when they were little. (not that they would have looked very good in little girl coats)
I sewed the first one up for my great niece baby Shaye. She is now only a few months old and I hope it will fit her next winter and not on Canada Day. The little blue coat Bea helped me come up with the fabric design for her little niece Camryn. Bea covered the buttons and sewed them on. It was a joint project to be sure. It will fit her this winter after I shorten it a few inches.
I'm using my mom's sewing machine that she bought brand new to sew my wedding dress. That machine has sewed like a charm for 28 years. When she passed away 11 years ago I inherited it and many memories. The rolling chair with 2 drawers that came with it still hold the same things that I got it with. Many times I've opened those drawers and thought that I should clean them out and reorganize them. Every time I just put the same things back in. They hold 60 year old knitting patterns that I'll never knit up, a pattern for making birth certificates for her grandchildren, old scissors that can't cut through cotton, an old fur collar that must be from an old coat, knitting needles, bits of fabric, and few old notes that I gave her and on and on, all jammed in those 2 drawers. Someday when my girls clean up that old stool they'll wonder why I never organized those drawers and made use of perfectly good space in my limited sewing closet. When I went through my mom's things after she passed away I sure wondered about a few of her drawers, they must have held memories that were for her alone.
I'm thinking of retiring that old machine. I've put a request into Santa for a nice new Bernina. I'll let you know how that goes. Karlee, my first daughter inherited her grandmas sewing machine so I'll pass this old relic onto Bea. My mom would have like that. In the meantime I'll keep going with my surprises. What fun.