Zoo Day!

Nothing like a day at the zoo with your grand kid/gentlemen and their moms. All that was missing were our two Irish ladies, a fair maiden mom, and a Nashville singer! Even threatening storm clouds coming into Cow Town, an hour before, couldn’t keep us from our zoo date. But the storm must have known it was an important meeting on our calendars and quickly pushed by, leaving  in it’s trail a very temperate and perfect day to stroll the asphalt trails.

The meeting place was half way down the zoo entrance tunnel. Those closest, living near  the zoo were the first to arrive. PapaJo and Gramma Lin were next, peering down the long darkness to see if the silhouettes standing there were their loved ones. One little tyke started to run towards us, ending with a Big Ashwyn embrace. The other little shadow stood close to mom, not so sure it was us approaching in the dim hallway. Soon we all could decipher Auntie Kristin and cousin Willem heading our direction, and the two already present cousins took a beeline race for their favorite and only boy  cousin this side of the border. Willem then seeing them coming took a quick turn about and headed for the exit, not because he didn’t want to see his cousins, but because this became a game of chase! Viggo yelled and pleaded to Willem, ” No Willem, No…” as he hadn’t had a taste of the zoo yet and he wanted him to know in “no uncertain terms” that the zoo trek hadn’t started yet and this wasn’t going to be a short zoo visit!

After greetings and Grammalin paying for her very first “seniors” entrance ticket, a landmark for her, we headed to the penguin line-up…luckily we were there first thing in the morning and there was no line-up! At the end of our visit when we left, the crowds had accumulated and they had the lovely “opportunity” of standing in line with toddlers and kids in the afternoon sun for 30 minutes… or so said the sign reading… “30 minute line from here” . I imagined how that would have gone over with us! Hmm!!!

The penguins splashed, slid all over, did dives and swam under our feet planted on the glass bridge. They also did fancy things like leave trails of white poop as they swam past us, who were peering through the other side of the glass. Some of them had funny tufts on their backs of feathers, left over from molting and looking like a very bad hair cut. Maybe because the penguins were so cute…Ashwyn tenderly came up to Willem in his stroller and like an adult-four- year old, took his two fingers and affectionately pushed in the dimples of Willem with the cutest look as if portraying,” Aren’t you the cutest one year old I’ve ever seen in my whole lifetime!” The three of them began to ravenously devour the penguin- shaped cheese crackers from Willem’s stroller cup.

On we went to see BIG fish in tanks, a  turquoise peacock strutting on top of a cage, and a giraffe out on the safari, while Willem chose to spend most of his time on information phones and look for buttons and outlets on the wall. He seemed to be more busy entangling himself with phone cords and electrical things, rather than animals.



We went to the outside African display where the lions lazily lay in grass patches while my grandsons ran full speed on the paths doing cousin races. Willem not quite caught up to his current reality of toddler coordination did a face plant on his stroller wheel, while trying to escape my grip on his hand and me trying to  contain his out-of-control running spree. After a few shed tears, nothing like a few bites of blueberry muffin from  his mom to divert his attention.

Because of the growls from our tummies, we went to the human watering and feeding spot, Kitamba Cafe, where moms brought out homemade peanut butter sandwiches and fresh cut strawberries, while PapaJo and Grammalin supplemented the feed with nutritional things from the cafeteria like hot dogs with ketchup, relish and mustard  and fries with potato skin ends, smothered in ketchup… after all, this is human zoo- feed right?

Off went Willlem and Aunt Kristin home for nap time as he had spent his zoo energy and was ready for a crib nap fill-up and his mom had her fill of monkey chasing and was pregnant-tired! PapaJo treated the rest of us  and topped up our tank with ice cream cones, as we sat on the curb swishing the hornet who wanted to join in our sweetness!


…On to the  butterfly pavilion which had to be the highlight for me, in all it’s tranquillity. It was the referral of Ashwyn. His first visit there, he wasn’t too keen on them as they reminded him of bees buzzing around, which were an aversion to him. He now saw the gentleness of their flight and told his mom he wanted us to go and visit this time…a change of mind! The varieties of species were so varied, I wanted to take out a little notebook and do a check to see how many kinds I could spot, but only did a mind check. The tropical flower smells were intoxicating, and after several sightings of flutter, we went on to the tropical forest. Now was the bribe for Viggo, letting him know the zoo visit was coming to a close, but FIRST, we were going to visit the new zoo train, his specialty!

Pay… then stamp the hand and on went Ashwyn and Viggo to have several round trips on the multicolored train. Interspersed was one  zoo animal merry-go-round ride, which Ashwyn wanted to get off mid way. Grammalin convinced him to fix his eyes on the red-butted frog ahead who had blue feet. That seemed to tickle the dizzy grandson and he let out some giggles and stayed put. But one trip only on this dizzy ride and back to the train. Half an hour later Viggo’s nap time was calling as he came across a two year old tussle at the elephant slide involving him, and his mom had to intervene.

All in all one momentous zoo day and PapaJo and Grammalin tuckered out and should have gone home for a nap time also!

So thankful for zoo days and grandson’s who live in the city and daughter and daughter-in-law who want to include grandparents in the fun!


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Perch Here Birdie… Birdie !

Spring is sprung

The grass is riz

I wonder where the birdies is???

(author unknown)

I love spring… I also love birds… always have, always will… in spite of watching Hitchcock’s ” Birds”!

It could be from my first attachment while growing up, to our family blue budgie, “Rickie”, who we fed bird seed for several years.  We tried hard to have him parrot the words “pretty bird” to which we succeeded. After visiting relatives for a long vacation in Wisconsin, we came home to his cheerful welcome. He was so excited to see us, frantically flew around the cage, keeled over with a heart attack and died on the cage floor. Poor lonely thing and us heartbroken over our pet!  (By the way a neighbour was regularly feeding him). He was soon to be replaced by a green budgie, who I don’t even remember the name of and she didn’t talk much!

…the love of birds…maybe it began from the cuckoo clock striking the numbers of the hour and also one cuckoo cluck on the half hour, since who knows when and until kingdom come…I became Bird Insane! My dad and my uncle Newt always bought things in twin-ly pairs. When one bought a Buick the other did in another colour. When one bought a trailer the other did (same colour) . When one bought a cuckoo clock the other did. It wasn’t so much a competition, but I think they may have gotten deals that way, or they wanted to keep things equal in spending, being business partners. Cuckoo..mmm….cuckoommmcuckoommm… back to the made in Switzerland clocks. That chime all through my life and even into bringing grand kids back to the homestead, it was always faithfully crowing hour and half hour or until someone forgot to pull up the heavy pine cone weights and the ticker stopped. After some clock-ery tinkering of a cuckoo specialist downtown, Daniel now has proudly displayed in his front entrance the lovely memories of his grandparents home and my childhood and the haunting chants of a bird that doesn’t sleep but lulls you into bird loving.

I love the welcome of spring by the first call of the robin.  I enjoy watching them flit about from place to place scavenging about for old grass, twigs and such to make new housing for their eggs.  Before setting up the gazebo last year, I noticed grass droppings by the door, and watching with more scrutinizing, I saw the flight of two robins, back and forth, busily attending to the making of a nest on our patio light. Because the balcony summer wasn’t set up yet, I decided to leave their workings in progress. Soon there was mom sitting on eggs and dad back and forth with dangling food. When the eggs were hatched, there was numerous daily flights during the day with sustenance.

Days later, we put up the gazebo with mama watching from nest, but I think we did confuse one of the robins, because the fight pattern narrowed. Not sure if we were the demise of the dad, but one day I heard a bird hit the window and repeat again. I looked outside, only to see one dazed bird with ruffled feathers.  If it wasn’t this contact with the window, it could have been some bar brawl with another bird, but this daddy bird from this day forward, always looked disheveled with feathers and fluff sticking out. He appeared like he had just rolled out of bed and forgot where his comb and brush were. Funny thing, or not so funny, is every once and a while you would hear a bang against the window, and another bang, and sure enough there he was stunned on the ground for a few minutes.

Neighbors next door also talked about a half drunk or brain deranged bird who kept flying into the side of the house through their kitchen window viewing. Hopefully it wasn’t our putting up of the gazebo and the narrowing change of the flight track. But there he was  faithfully and daily taking MANY trips back and forth to the babes and mom. Soon  the nestlings were taking flights of their own and twig home became abandoned. It was nice not to come out of the patio door and have to check twice for robin traffic and dodge your head as they swooped in, but also was a delight to watch all the stages, especially showing off to our grandsons the wonder of nature. I discarded the nest once the drama was finished.

There can be two batches of robins in a season. When I discovered grass clippings below our light once again, I quickly turned our porch light up upside down and put up a no vacancy sign. The splendor of the birthing was wonderful, but I had had enough in one spring, of dodging bombers and cleaning up white poop off the  yellow stucco of the house.

Birds in the house… my sister has had her share… a cockatiel named Keechi, a cockatoo named Sham who loved men only, a macaw named Pablo, no-name Senegal parrot, a maroon- breasted conure… or some name like that and two no-named red, blue and green lorries who were short- stayed residents. Now there’s a mouthful of feathers! We had the privilege of bird- sitting the man lover cockatoo named Sham and then Pablo the macaw when sister later went to Hawaii for a couple weeks. Pablo’s huge bird cage sat in our kitchen corner and  Dad/ Doug had the privilege of giving it a shower every couple days or the thing would stink profusely. Instructions were given to let the large turquoise bird perch on ones shoulder and go under the shower head. The challenge was the bird would tighten it’s claws, so the solution was to wear a t-shirt in the shower! The kids tried to teach it phrases and we tried our best at keeping our mouths clean.

Talking of phrases you hope your bird won’t pick up, years ago we were in St. Martin and in the open to the elements lobby. There was a large pretty Macaw in a cage, who would bellow out not so pretty  phrases as one stepped down the stair case from the mezzanine. It’s mother should have been close by with a bar of soap!

Birds in the house… I’ve had my share of ceramic, wooden, craft feathered, porcelain and photos and pictures of birds.  My girlfriend once read an article on how people who look like birds or have pointy noses collect birds in their houses. We both looked at each other’s noses and started to count how many birds we had and I counted twelve and she counted her ten. Since then through garage sales and purging, the number has dwindled and my nose hasn’t grown any longer by telling fibs like Pinocchio, but anyways I think my nose was inherited.

There’s nothing like the singing of birds with lavish songs of praises. If you’ve been in the tropics or places where there are lots of trees, the angelic songs are intoxicating and lull you almost into a trance if you close your eyes. It is Rhapsody in See Major and no Minor Thing.  It’s a delight to single out solos of birds you aren’t accustom to hearing in your region and then icing the cake is to get a glance if they take to flight, so you can have a face for the voice.

I’m amazed in N. Ireland in Jonathan and Rebekah’s backyard for the song birds and delight in the fruit tree and hedges. Then recently because of the wedding, out on the deck in Nashville on the screened porch… the sounds again were a beautiful morning cacophony. Then in Florida, there were lots of brilliant red cardinals. One morning beside the pool one lone bird perched high on the Spanish tile corner, he sat and sang the most beautiful song as if it was reverberating the song of joy I was feeling having kids and grand kids all around. The same bird the morning we all left was out front of Andalusia, singing on top of it’s lungs a song of joy as if joining in with the exuberance of my heart, that this had been a most awesome, delightful and jolly great time!

Birdie, birdie in the sky

Dropped some white wash in my eye

Boy am I glad cows can’t fly!

(author unknown)

So thankful for birds to watch, that sing wonderful morning and afternoon songs and flit around delicately  from branch to branch!




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Meet You At the Playhouse…[M.Y.A.T.P.H.]

When I finally reached the ripe age of five, a neighbourhood friend Renee re-purposed an old shed into her delightful playhouse. I pestered and convinced my dad with much prattle, that it was a dandy thing to have a playhouse of my own, strategically placed in OUR back yard.  Agreeing, he got a blueprint drawn up and found a contractor to build our family’s miniature dream.

Along came my 6th birthday… down the alley drove a big lorry trailer with an adorable little yellow and white house. This special abode was meant for all 4 of my siblings, but somehow I think I clocked the majority hours in pretend land, playing out my imaginary homemaker’s life.

This delightful delivery had wooden siding, real asphalt shingles, a false chimney, a small porch with a column on the side and an outside shelf for the imaginary morning milkman to put his delivered plastic bottles on! The hinged door had a window that you could switch to a screen in spring, to bring in fresh April air. It had a big- person lock and key and if you stepped inside, there were two windows that could glide up and down on wooden sliders. You also could insert store-able screens in the hot summer and let out the confined stuffy heat. If you didn’t, it was like stepping into a warming-up oven that had gotten out of control and was at high unbearable temperatures… not conducive for play!

The house was wired with one electrical outlet and one switch for an inside light, plus a quaint porch outside light to welcome evening company. The electricity only worked when an extension cord was intentionally plugged into the left outside floor skids.

The miniature house made on wooden slats, made it possible to transport to other destinations, which happened 5 times in it’s lifetime! Renee and I made many a trek and delivery ourselves, back an forth down the alley. We transported plastic “wetting” babies in toy strollers and visited each others abodes for tea and chat. During one get-together, our campaign was started to collect empty food boxes, such as cereal and jello, to stock up our gourmet kitchens. As supplies enlarged, we then had to find other friends to have a neighborhood convenience store, and our play village expanded.

My grade 3 year came and Second Move of this treasured house. My family’s new home and lots were across the train tracks, blocks down in my small prairie town. Along with the unsettling, uprooting plus addition of a couple years, I got the inkling and itch that my playhouse needed play kitchen cupboards. I only had a long board for counter space but now with addition of a few more dolls to my family and some kitchen gadgets and toy china dishes, I required wall storage! So for my 9th birthday present my dad employed my Uncle Sven, a carpenter, to build cupboards with real hinges, shelves, knobs, door fronts and threw in a few drawers for good measure. I was ecstatic with the new upgrade and renovation which delighted my world play fancy!

The doll house now morphed in my Grade 5 and 6 year to a clubhouse, housing 10 school girl chums that came for Weekly Wednesday Club which lasted three years. Not all came at once, but when they did, the overflow spilled outside onto lawn chairs. The memorized pass for front door entry was…”M.Y.A.T.P.H.” [Meet You At The Playhouse, which of course shows I didn’t know playhouse wasn’t two words, nor did they]. These secret passwords were imparted to me from my mom. During her Wisconsin play days in the 1920’s  she used them in her tree house and bequeathed the code to me when she heard I wanted to form a club.

Maybe I should have become a teacher in adult life. For clubhouse time, I planned activities and was ready to execute them in fine form. They consisted of baseball, baking, sewing, crafts and other options. I would grade everyone, record the results in my little book, and at the end of the school year send home to parents a homemade report card. We were a democracy and voted on a leader, plus treasurer, so at the beginning of each year I was voted majority for president, so it was legal that I was headmaster!

Each meeting members were to bring 25 cents, so once a month we would could have a social at someone’s assigned house. That person became responsible to use the funds to buy chips, pop or other refreshments and also come up with a party plan. Many times it  ended up in girl talk and giggles!

The money was also designated for craft supplies. One project was a lovely tie rack for our fathers. It consisted of a huge rough un-planed board with five wooden thread spools nailed on by huge spikes. I can’t remember what we did for Mother’ s Day, but the tie racks were outstanding. Miss President and crew were quite proud of the ugly and non useful things.  In contrast, I can only imagine the looks on father’s faces, unwrapping their Surprise! A diversified gift, it definitely would have made good firewood!

….Years later and four children of my own… a request was put into the now grandpa, for the playhouse to take a trip up the QE highway, destination, one hour north to my children’s home. Sarah my daughter was now 6 years and it seemed a rite of passage. My oldest sister’s kids had their own playhouse, my other sister’s kids were babies, my brother across the country had two boys and this house would tire on the toilsome journey and my other brother wasn’t married yet.

With the OK and transferring of the deed, we secured a friend with a hauling truck and trailer to transport it for the Third Time. We also found willing neighborhood men, who in their translation thought they were helping unload a small playhouse… SURPRISE… when it pulled  up! One friend said he thought playhouse meant large doll house. It took muscle and brawn but it ended up safe and secure tucked inside our backyard fence.

(This mistaken wordage ~dollhouse~ may have been picked up by him, from my childhood vibe-energy brain storage house,  now leaking out because of the excitement of the new arrival in my kids yard) …memories of a tiny house  gifted from the next door neighbour… to me when I was young!


The elderly eccentric gentleman specialized in making miniature things and carvings of cows, animals and horses pulling people in  wooden sleighs. Also in the mix were garden wind mills on long poles with people who churned butter, or who pumped pretend water from a water pump. Best of all was THE tiny house I adored in his    backyard.  His name was Mr. Poutney, but he didn’t pout, so I’m not sure how he got tagged his name although his voice was gravelly!

He and his wife were in their 90’s, all wrinkled and skinny and stuff and I guess he decided before he expired, he would gift this tiny garden house to a next door girl who loved dolls, playhouses and a tiny house which lived in his plentiful garden. His fine miniature carved crafts are now displayed in Stan Reynold’s Museum, so I guess that makes him famous!


During the Third Time Stay at this address of the M.Y.A.T.P.H. playhouse, I decided to paint the cupboards, walls, and dress it up with dainty white and pink calico tied ruffled curtains, matching tablecloth and added bonuses.  Daughter Sarah’s doll crib got matching comforter, pillow and crib bumpers. Un-named dolly got tied chair cushions for it’s highchair and a doll diaper bag. I guess there must have been a fire sale on material and a mommy sewing craze, but definitely that year was a Calico Christmas for Sarah, doll and playhouse!


My boys decided they wanted join in the fun and put their footprint and stamp on the dollhouse, as they started to grow. After a major tornado in our city, a lot of neighborhood houses were being re-shingled because of wind and hail damage. Shingling was a regular view, gazing out the kitchen window.


One sight not so regular, was watching my boys pile wagon and tools beside the north side of the play house. With one daring son on top and the combined effort of keeping him steady from below, they started to peel off the shingles one by one. Mom was in the right window at the right time and quickly yelled out to STOP  the construction work! Luckily only a couple shingles got unlatched. Jonathan was letting his fix it side blossom!

Some of my kids were now coming into Teen-land and out -grew the playhouse. So when we moved from this location, one of my sisters’ two girls got the privilege of having it transported back down the QE highway, to their acreage. From there it stayed in the hands of two playful nieces, then moved it’s last time when they moved to another acreage. This playhouse definitely has seen it’s share of kids, play, clubs, passwords and highway transport!

I haven’t even gotten into the uncle Don stage (my brother), who was born when I was fifteen and my mom 48years old. He grew up long after the rest of us all had left home, married and had kids of our own, while he had his share and stake in the playhouse scenario. I’m sure he has his own yarns to spin!

One was when he and two girls from town went out to the country with a VERY large jar. It was spring when the field mice were plentious and they filled it three quarters full. They then gave these field mice a transport into town and let them loose to scamper and frolic in the playhouse, but impede escape by pushing a board against the inch space at bottom of the door. Then my dad came home and the fiasco was spilled by Donald. My dad then spilled one of his famous lines and said,”Good night nurse grandmother!!!” We figured that was his way of swearing. He in most certain terms let Don know that he’d better take care of the “situation”, real quick, before they migrated all over the block!

Some kids have big appliance card board boxes, some re-purposed old sheds, some a closet or basement corner, but what ever it may be, they had hours and hours of fun in their land of play and make believe… just like me!

So thankful for imagination, tons of laughter and frolic and one magical playhouse that got it’s full use in adventure, passwords and transport, up to the shingles and more!


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Much To My Winter Surprise!

Today I was out shovelling the three inches of snow, that snuck into the city last night while my shutters were closed! Outside was getting a little brown and dirty anyways and it definitely freshened things up! Besides, for me it’s quite therapeutic morphing into a human snow blower!

Most of you know how much I love winter, hmm…? Shovelling is one of my ways to combat my love/hate relationship with winter and I am trying to cross over to the love side! It is great exercise and helps tone my arms for my sleeveless “mother -of -the- groom dress” to soon be donned. Also the benefits of the lovely brilliant winter sun glistening on the morning snow is advantageous for me drinking in on my skin as much vitamin D as I can, to pump up the “Happiness Dobber”!

Well isn’t it fascinating when surprises sneak up on you? No, I don’t mean the snow that was more like an overnight bad dream! I mean the little things that happen to fall out of heaven …voila ..there it is… asking if you are taking notice. While out watering my lawn with the white scoopfuls, I watched a couple of flying rats (Magpies) cruise over my head about ten feet above. Okay don’t drop any wet bombs on me, please! Perhaps it was the visiting company from last week, in the “Goshawk scenario blog”!

Minutes later during my repetition of the shovelfuls, I heard the amusing surprise package. Hmm.. a woodpecker perhaps? Yup, there it is again! Rat-a-tat-tat. Rat-a-tat- tat!…Surprise!

Romeo, Romeo, where forth art thou? ( after all, today is Valentines Day!) I ceased the shovelling and there it was again. Rat-a-tat-tat. Rat-a tat-tat! I scanned the sky to find it but only know the direction  from whence it was coming, as there were several spruce tree balconies it could be visiting! Still I couldn’t find the view, so I continued my sweeps. There it was again only this time… bulls-eye! Caught your sighting! There it was precariously perched high on top of a street light standard. Rat-a-tat-tat. Rat-a tat-tat! With a chuckle, I wondered if the snow had brought brain- freeze and he temporarily thought this steel was wood? ‘Gonna be a non-log winter for you dear bird, if that’s what you’re going for… steel! In my amusement I was thinking of going into the house so I could be a good neighbour and offer him extra strength Tylenol for his migraine that he might soon inherit.

I remember living in Edmonton in a new location we had just occupied. I heard this crazy noise from the main floor broom closet. It not only housed a clothes- chute from the second floor travelling to the basement laundry room, but also on the main floor you could toss a soiled towel in a little door opening and have it join in swiftly and arrive in the basement.  This closet also was residence for the furnace chimney hidden behind the wallboard.

After a few occasions of this undefinable sound happening, I deducted that this was a woodpecker tapping on the metal of our outside chimney. Maybe there is some delicacy that I am unaware of, that tapping on metal brings, or some special bug that houses in metal, to keep away the big bad wolf or woodpecker (his name after today could be changed to metal pecker). You know, like I’ll huff and  I’ll  puff and I’ll blow your house down, in the Three Little Pigs?

There I was today, taking in this glorious  Valentine’s snow laden morning, fresh with beautiful wafting sounds of avian friends. Now you’re going to think I’m pulling your leg or ear …but I closed my eyes and just listened…  I could hear sparrows… then I was sure I heard a Blue Jay! …Sure enough, one flew into the big leafless poplar tree in the front yard. I gazed at him, then heard him sound his utterance while an answer came from his special buddy, somewhere in the back yard. He flew away to join him and I continued my rhythmic swing. Once finished I sauntered into the back yard and constructed my fort pathways for grandsons Viggo and Ashwyn. When they come over, they  play in the backyard, doing shuffle laps on their snow highways.

I heard a call from over the fence and two stories up. My next door neighbor, who had opened her bedroom window a jar, was wishing me Happy Valentines day. We discussed the bird sightings quickly as not to let in too much chilled air into her bedroom. She asked if I had heard any Robin’s call, to which I disappointingly replied, no. After she closed her window, I returned to building my grandson’s backyard highways.

Surprise and believe it or not… I  now heard a crow caw! In my 59 years, I’ve been told that the arrival of crows is THE announcement that spring is here. Then Doug had to come home at lunch and pop my balloon and ask if it was a( Winter) Mountain Crow! Who knew there was Winter Crows?!!!… Just because I’m not a farmer’s daughter….! I  decided I was going to hold onto the herald of spring instead of this  (Mountain)Winter Crow Nonsense. Sure I know it is only February and we have been spoiled with a very mild winter. Maybe it is the balancing of the BIG winter we had last year, but again last night’s visitor was a reminder that we CAN have winter white surprises yet to come.

But… I am relishing in my Sweet Tweet Tapping Winter Surprises!

So thankful for some melodic and some Metalpecker tunes, the hearing from my ears, grand kids to shovel snow highways for… and walkways with snow to remove… although dear Lord, please don’t hear that as a prayer request for a lot more of that latter stuff!


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“One” Three Ring Circus

             I woke up from my mid-day snooze…

And much to my surprise….

A full 3 Ring ( a-ling) Circus

Was set up before my eyes!

It wasn’t there before my nap

But mom and dad collaborated … sent out the invitations…

and being such a little guy… there was no consultation!

There were clowns and ties and goofy noses

lots of kids galore,

there were aunts and uncles, Pops and Grams

 mom and dad of course,

there were lots of homemade chunky fries and mini bottled Cokes,

there were lots of  char coaled hot dogs, and none of us did choke!

There were mini donut Cheerios

frosted with multi-colored sprinkles,

 other non- sugared lonely ones, but that was not my tickle.

There were fluffy mini marshmallows

placed on ends of straws for guys

 who do the circus weights[Brent and Meredith]

and needed to be spry!

There was lots of bags of popcorn and candy floss galore

 chewy gummies, gum, and cake

and things that all adore!

Don’t forget the healthy stuff  like carrots and peppers slivered,

but thankfully ’cause of last night’s discussion

there really was no liver!

There were lots and lots of un-shelled peanuts for the all the guests to eat,

 a sign saying “Don’t feed the elephants!” It wasn’t theirs for treats!

And if you think that all of this,

wasn’t quite enough for taking,

there was lots and lots of presents and cards





and homemade card from cousins.

Alas.. awake.. it’s actually true… I thought that I was in Toy Heaven!

…This  really was such a nice surprise

and LOTS of work for mom,

but after all it’s really clear,

I am celebrating… I’m One!

(MORE cake please! I haven’t had this stuff before…I think I’m high on sugar and in Candy land!)

…So thankful for a grandson born on Lindyjo’s mom’s birthday and that he has a second name/namesake after her dad ( both now deceased and Willem a great reminder!), fun, family, giggles and a circus party to celebrate!


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Oh Dear, Deer Run!

Many places have applicable naming because of associated things to them. Take the area I live in…DeerRun… when I first moved here over ten years ago, I thought there must be deer roaming the grass lands and Fish Creek area to be called such, but hadn’t sighted any yet.

The first owning to the name was several years ago when driving down Bow Bottom Trail in this area.  We had to slow down our vehicle to prevent a deer coming into a  full frontal smashing contact with our front bumper. Ah ha… an area living up to it’s dearly name!

Then came several other sightings over the years while on walks in Fish Creek park.  Some were with one lonely grazing deer, while others were with one leading out front with up to four following in each others white tail trails. They were tentatively following as if one was the head scout and if he gave the OK, the others would with a  spring and a bound come swiftly after him.

Once we saw a white tail in a yard along the border of Fish Creek and I was concerned it was cornered and it would of course, have to knock on the house door, request them to open the gate and let him out the back yard. Doug assured me that the deer would leave the same way he got in…that was to hurdle over the fence. Sure enough in a couple of minutes, the deer sprang over the tall metal fence as if no sweat and part of his daily routine.

A couple years back in the winter, I spotted a deer out front of our house, sauntering down the road in the evening and I thought, OK they do roam close by and venture out! So the deer and I both share our neighborhood AND dear streets.

Next door, dear Abbey our neighbor’s family dog has a few dog issues which their vet has tried to calm down and attend to. In Abbey’s aging years she has become more hyper and spooked by many things like lightening, fireworks, other dogs and things they aren’t quite sure of. One very warm summer evening, we had our screens and door open to the evening air and were watching in the living room the DVD… “V For Vendetta”. At the end of the movie a lot of loud fireworks go off. We thought nothing of it until we heard our neighbors calling out their front door to Abbie who had jumped the fence and was fleeing.

To prevent the many other Abbey exits from the yard like : “Abbey be nimble, Abbey be quick, Abbey jump over the adjoining fence”, Allan our neighbor has suplemented the fence with another foot and a half of  trellis. Recently while driving into our garage I noticed the trellis bent over. I decided through deduction that Abbey had raised the bar and was trying to make a new high jump record.

Allan filled me in later in one of our brief neighborhood chats while I was shovelling.  It was a deer with antlers that been cornered by Abbey. The side of the house was buck’s way through the narrow passageway between our houses, with his wide rack and all! He probably had jumped a metal fence a couple houses down, jumped into their yard, decided to snack at their bird feeder. When Abbey stood guard where the deer had entered, the buck had to find another way of escape. This was all witnessed by Allan when he heard Abbey disturbed outside and Allan turned on the back porch light to investigate.

Allan did repair the fence and weeks later it was bent again. I saw more deer tracks in the snow in front of the fence, trailing to the street. Now Abbey is reluctant to go in his own back yard where he willingly spent hours of leisure. So the buck has passed this way again, Allan confirmed and Abbie dismayed!

Who would think a big deer would stray blocks away from the Fish Creek to jump into backyard fences where nothing is going on in the winter but grand kid forts being built  after a snow downing, with no friendly summer playing or giggling happening to join into nor the mowing of grass. Just a bird feeder and a spooked Abbie!

…But afterall this is” DeerRun”!

By the way this picture is not the spoken of infamous deer, but I had to find a picture of a deer in my photo repertoire to insert in my blog as I wasn’t an eye witness of the account in my yard! This picture was taken in Banff and IF this WAS the assumed deer…

…I would be telling a” white” Tale deer fib!

So thankful for backyard bird feeders, Abbie the spooked dog, fences to jump over and  make winter amusment and neighbors who chat




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What The Hawk?

Just minding my own business this morning, spring cleaning in the basement. The vacuum was a- whistling a tune and I heard a cry calling far above it, like a bird in distress. I finally unplugged the machine as the whining cry hadn’t ceased. My ears got put to the furnace register to decipher if it was coming from the start up of the house warming…nope!… it seemed to be coming from outside the window in the chilled back yard.

Dismissing it as some winter birds playing, being over rambunctious like my two grandsons, I continued cleaning for another 1/2 hour and came upstairs for fresher air and to check-out the laundry advancement. I quickly glanced out the kitchen patio door and stopped in my tracks to the sight of a few magpies flitting around and one big hawk. He had landed on my turf and was devouring something while attempting to swish the other birds away. A big bird like this one hasn’t been in my back yard on my watch, so I quickly got my camera to capture the Kodak moment and have Doug let me know what this unusual species was. This is the time I wished I had read all the details on focusing and using our new camera, but hadn’t found the time yet.

Not sure why the February Feast ended up at my place. Perhaps the strategic sighting from far above had been cased for weeks and the fight occurred at this address. Maybe the nose dive could have happened blocks down and the hawk with crying capture in talons decided to use my grass as a truck stop for lunch. However it happened, the magpies were hot on it’s heels!

Magpies can be quite beautiful birds with their black and white contrasting feathers.  Their long black tail will glisten in the sun in fluorescent green and almost be rainbow like. Visitors from Ireland sighting it while here, commented on it’s beauty, as it doesn’t live in their territory. They didn’t realize the bird has become too common to us and we have trashed any report on it’s loveliness, calling it a flying rat because of it’s behavior.

I counted total 0f 6 magpies congregated at once, some in branches and some taking turns on the ground. They danced around the hawk as if trying to get in on the feed, or at least get a dance written on their card. If they got too close the hawk ruffled his wings, then feathers and down flew and… “scat you cat!”… the magpies backed two feet off. Speaking of cats, for a moment I worried that the takings were our next door neighbour’s cat, until my senses caught ME and spelled out that there was feathers and down flying, not fur. Whew.. we still have our neighbourhood mouse catcher around for this summer!

The hawk stood firm on my disappearing winter blood- stained snow, talons on prey…bite… look up…pan the landscape [no danger]… take another bite… look up… scan…. and on it goes for 3/4 hour. Snap, snap I shoot with the camera and I try and capture the moment through the patio door and screen as I don’t want to spook the scenario away by opening the door and getting a better focused shot.

“I double dog dare you to nip at his tail”, I imagine one saying, as two of them take turns trying to get closer, intimidate and nip. “Back off you dog”, the hawk flits and the feathers fly! These magpies seem like the little guy back in school days who’s bark was bigger than his bite!

The hawk was light grey on it’s back and wings with a white breast. On it’s two eyes were  a white streak of feathers like someone who was practicing putting on thick white eye liner and missed. He also had these wide puffed up Capri pants predominately white with a bit of grey herringbone, overly dressed up for the occasion?

It was quite the dancing, flitting, flying, chasing and bad attempt at intimidation. The magpies got no more than a few feather and down mouthfuls and a few dry fluffy swallows After a lot of ripping and carnivorous exercise, the hawk looked around and flew south over the fence. In dove the flying rats, only to find all that was left was feathers, blood stained snow and a few scraps of bone, which two of them picked up and flew into the spruce trees. After taking turns and realizing all was a clean up, off flew the by-standers, I included.

Post aftermath I surveyed from a distance the soft grey and white lonely feathers, the only traces left of fight and flight.[ Not the hawks grey and white as the magpies attempt was nothing but that]. I wondered what bird of feather was now a floating memory in my yard of play. The only bird that came to mind of such description, was that of the sweet and pleasant cooing doves that have been neighbourhood music for the last two summers. How sad……

Nothing like a little nature theatre happening in my backyard to interrupt my routine.

So thankful for interruptions in the day, for hawks, cameras, flying rats and the cycle of life and food even though it seems a bit gruesome, although it is happening day in day out BUT not in my backyard as a habit!






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Seven For Tea and Tea For Seven

I had a little tea party

The other day at three

Was very small, three guests in all

Just I, Myself and Me.

Myself ate all the sandwiches,

While I drank all the tea

And it was I who ate the pie

And passed it on to me!

This is a quaint poem my dear mom taught me, probably to humour me when on occasions I had to play by myself and she thought it might pick up my spirits. I found it quite quirky and loved to recite it as a giggling girl having a “one-some” tea party.

“Tea time” in the UK and other places is a prominent occurrence and ritual. It is the pause that refreshes, that recharges your engines, gives you the pick me up and go for the rest of the day! For Swedes it’s the ” Swedish Gasoline” [alias coffee]  called  “Fika”, where the pause is  strong coffee [enough to wake anyone in an afternoon slump] and a sweet bun.

Ashwyn, my grandson’s preference of choice is hot chocolate, which actually isn’t hot as I have to cool it down with cold milk so he doesn’t burn his tongue. I happen to dig up my childhood fine porcelain “but not so delicate” China tea set that I found in a forgotten doll box hidden in my dark basement. Some pieces are broken and lost, but after being put through the dishwasher to suds off the years of dirt, literally some “caked “on,  Ashwyn and I had the delight of “Two For Tea, And Tea For Two”! It became a hit tune habit, as later the request at home to his mom was, “Can we go to Grammalin’s and have hot chocolate?”

When he came here next visit, he put in his order soon after walking through the door, and added,” And do it like you did it last time with those cups!” So we delighted ourselves with rich brown cold chocolate and recited the “onesie tea party “poem once again, seated in front of the bits and pieces of some treasured china.

I received a picture via i-phone of my Irish grand daughters perched on rocks as chairs, sipping something hot in a plastic mugs between their tiny appendages, with the ocean in the background. Oh, how I wish! Theirs was a delightful outdoor January Tea  by the Sea Party!

Tea parties for my” soon-to be-daughter-in-law” seem to be a hit also. A few years ago on Chanel’s 21st birthday, it was one grand “Mad Hatter Tea Party”. Her mom celebrated the occasion with a party  “Alice” would have been totally in wonderment over!  I’ve seen pictures and the crazy wonder-fullness was dazzling and a mighty satisfying sip.

“Sister-in-laws-to be” to Chanel when she made her last visit with us, decided that they would put on an High Tea party at the exquisite Palliser.  We would celebrate by having a shower before her up-coming wedding.  Her visit was last minute and because most people we would include would already have plans made, the girls would make it intimate and a party for seven.











We were welcomed and ushered in the Palliser door with ringing of bells, sirens blaring and horns honking of three fire engines pulling up to the front entry of this fine majestic hotel.  Wow such a heralding of our arrival! Then came the announcements over the intercom from the manager that the alarm was under investigation while there now began a gathering of hotel clients in the lobby.

Seeing there was no apparrent danger and we were in close proximity to the front doors,  Chanel and I departed into the side room , where High Tea was to be served. Kristin and Cheyenne a guest already there, greeted us and assured us they hadn’t ordered” firemen dancers “for this most auspicious occasion while a full clad fireman rushed through the door into the kitchen to check out if there was any calamity or carrying-on in there.

Other than the alarm going off six other times,  firemen roaming around the building and visiting our High Tea Room and announcements from the hotel manager saying that the alarm was being “investigated”, there was no smoke, fire or alarm for us but only a warm glow in our hearts as we” celebrated” the soon addition of a new and wonderful family-member- to- be, who will soon be walking down the isle in” White”.

Two for Tea

Picture you upon my knee,

Just Tea For Two, and two for tea,

Just me for you and you for me alone.

Nobody near us to see or hear us,

No friends or relations on weekend vacations,

We won’t have known, dear, that we own a telephone, my dear.

[except texts on the i-phone!]

Day will break and you’ll awake

And start to bake a sugar cake

For me to take for all the boys to see.

We will raise a family,

A boy for you, a girl for me,

Oh can’t you see how happy we would be?

So thankful for tea parties, hot chocolate, High Tea, Daughter and daughter-in-law and one to be, and wonderful memories and rhymes that bring such amusement!

Lindy Jo

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About me

all started the day an amazing husband,
made a phone call to the youngest of three fine princes,
who have a beautiful princess sister.
This “youngest fine prince” happens to professionally work in the “Domain of the Net”
and since he agreed that he was enjoying his mom’s musings,
ALSO agreed and answered that he would put something together
to start his mother’s journey in the ” World of Blog”.

Going farther down the cobbled trail of “Once Upon a Time”,
because life is full of stories and I am into the reading and spinning of them:

….it all started when Lindyjo, maybe had too much time on her hands
and had way too many “ponderings” from life;
she wanted to share with her daughter, daughter-in-laws, and daughter-in-law-to be.
So one fine day, in the Frozen North Kingdom,
Lindyjo decided to send one of her contemplations to “her girls” via e-mail.
She gave her thoughts, hoped something caught their interest and said
“I will ride by again!”
Although  she MIGHT send an e-mail AGAIN the next day,
she wasn’t promising that this would be a DAILY occurrence,
so they could either sigh with relief,
or look forward to another chat with her.

How does one lady, share with four other precious princesses she cares about,
but are scattered over the kingdom,
very busy with their lives:

  • artist daughter[sarahboys.com] has a BA in General studies and temporarily laid aside her paint brushes to raise two boys under three
  • daughter-in-law across the Atlantic having finished her Masters, now raising two girls under 3
  • daughter-in-law, hair stylist, full-time nanny to two sweeties five and under, with her own first child soon to deliver
  • daughter-in-law-to be[chanelchampbell.com] far away in a distant land called Nashville, working on her career, writing songs and singing into a microphone

If  Lindyjo can’t regularly go to the closest coffee shop  to sip fresh coffee together, how can these princesses get to know what’s percolating in her mind?

…Then there was the favourite prince son-in-law [ because he’s the only son-in-law]
who upon hearing about the decree,
felt she was being” female- inclusive” and wondered if she had “something worth saying”, couldn’t the knights of the kingdom hear it also?

So off went the second decree,
letting the men know how lucky they were to be included
but if they thought it was too “princess- orientated reading”,
to delete the incoming “lindyjo- mail”.

To define who Lindyjo is: She is daughter, sister, woman, wife, mom, grammalin, university student, dental assistant, receptionist, co-business owner, cook, decorator, sketcher, gardener, pianist, reader, home-stager;
some in the distant past, some so very close and present.

These and others, are all defining moments in her life,
but not “Her definition with a period”.

Lindyjo is ever changing, defining, and redefining, learning, and trusting it will be that way until her last breath.
So if you “happenstance” [words “according to Lindyjo” and not “spell- check”]
~to bump into this website,
sit down with a cup of tea or coffee, and who knows,
perhaps we’ll to chat again!

“Thanks for the wonderful gift of this moment”

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Long dry blog spell….or is it just “Other”? Several of my kids have said [ OK…. I only have four, so maybe two of them!] , ” Not blogging lately?” as  if questioning is there something wrong with you, you’re not in blog routine.

By “Other”, I just mean I’ve been caught up in the space of the” Garden of Eden”.  It’s the realm of trolls, spades, pots of shrubs, perennials, dew worms, and the amazing smell of rich earth and humus pouring out of the 60 bags I bought to replenish the very tired soil in my gardens.  Okay, so my attempt at making my backyard  into a “park” is far from the Garden of Eden.  IF I was there at the beginning with Adam and Eve, I would have been in my element and happy as a piglet in mud, my hands feeling the dirt, tending and discovering all the splendid  species. I know the only problem is I would have gotten in as much trouble as they did and would have been “turfed” out and had to exit that glorious park…so long, goodbye… so now I do my best with what I have to make some kind of garden of my Eden!

On any given sunny day you usually find me digging, weeding and planting in a joyous frenzy and passion. Something was built in my DNA to love gardening, and perhaps that is why I am at such odds with “Winter” and have the love and the full embrace for “Summer”. I feel like the old man “Cold” steals away my time to spend with one of my life passions.

I drool at the thought of living in Vancouver in February, with winter violets in bloom, spring  just around the corner with blooming shrubs and some daffodils and tulips peeking up though grass in lawns. You can place primrose in whimsical pots on your front porch to greet, which you don’t have to take in every night, because it freezes at dark!

Back to ” other”…something inside beckons and calls me as soon as the earth thaws and I can’t help myself be lulled outside  by the Pied Piper of Spring, “Come out , come out, come out to the garden with your work gloves.” Well, most of the time I slip them OFF as I love to FEEL the dirt!

Last week, I was contemplating when I was out preparing a lodging hole for my new lilac bush that has been patiently waiting for it’s anticipated home… “When did this passion begin for me?”

Perhaps it was actually in my DNA passed on from my Dad, who’s profession was “earth- moving”, building roads and seeing dirt moved around. He used “buggies”, Euclids and CATS. I use the shovel, spade and garage sale wagon.

Maybe it was in my early childhood, around the age of 4 or 5 when I would go over to “Uncle Eloph”next door. I’d follow him, probably much to his shagrin around his expansive garden with tomatoes shielded by cedar shacks, or go to his south sun exposure on the back of his house that had chicken wire up to the eaves. The sweet peas crawled heaven bound to the roof, or it seem to me and the perfume was intoxicating. In August he had the stately and elegant standing Gladiolas which  I believe he even entered into the Wetaskiwin Town Fair to be judged. I thought perhaps he planted them in honour of  one of  his daughters Gladys, who I thought the flowers were named after back then!

My Auntie Grace may have also been one who augmented my passion for plants and gardens. I would go over to her home and she had transformed her back yard into mini little havens in several corners. She had an arc trellis focal point where she had carefully placed flag stone slate stepping stones she had gather from some afternoon ride in the “West”. She too may have believed in Gladys and had planted among the trellis the beautiful booms maybe in her honour also . Her vegetable garden responded to her many green fingers and thumbs and the bounty was fresh picked rich green lettuce, ruby radishes, tall corn,  crunchy carrots, slender, tender beans and fresh dug potatoes … yum, yum … I’ll take an order of some of that fresh dill creamy vegetable concoction with a barbecued burger on the side!

Auntie Evelyn from Red Deer also brushed my planting hands. She had transported an exotic “Lady Slipper” from Battle Lake out west and planted it in her back yard with all her ceramic trolls.  This amazing delicate “cousin of the orchid” captured my heart and I convinced my mom that next time we were out there for a picnic, I too could try my hand at the export. I did find one, but it didn’t take too well to our soil back home. The love still lingers and I am  swept and caught up by orchids!

So however the love of the earth and green was planted in my soul and gizzard, it is there and has enriched my soul and not disappointed in the least! It’s as if swallowing some magical pill like Alice in Wonderland saying “eat me”. Instead of making me smaller, it makes me so much larger inside and blossoming like happy pansies in their bonnets.

So I just wanted to “check in” with my family and say” I’m so much ALIVE” and growing brilliant green[a bit tanned also] and nourished in the sun and soil! The blogging will continue more frequently when I’m not out dancing with my flowers and have dirt under my fingernails!

So thankful, for sun, rain, plants, dirt, rocks, my garden, my Dad’s love of earth moving, and Uncle Eloph and Auntie Grace’s gardens that enthralled me!


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