Thursday, March 31, 2011

Skype is great and what is in my office. (13 things)

I am loving Skype. Have I mentioned this before?
Today I was able to catch my dad on skype - he is living in South Africa and unfortunately our schedules are so different we haven't managed to catch up with one another before today.
He was also having difficulty with his video camera so he could see me but I could only hear him. I still don't care, because it was still fun to talk to him (for free!)
I was sitting at my desk on my lunch break and chatting with him and telling him how I am feeling sick and discombobulated and how I feel like I am in a giant bubble.
I would ideally like to go home and sleep but I have a boat load of stuff to do at work. I was telling him how much I have to do but how as I look around the office things just seem to be out of place and I can't get settled enough to get to the grind stone.
I started to hold up items on my desk to the camera so he could see what I had on my desk and how strange it all was. Then I asked him if he thought if I listed the items online and asked people to guess what my job was based on the items in my office would anyone be able to guess what I did for a living - and I doubt they would, unless they were in the same (or a related field).
So here is a list of the items in my office that I shared with my dad....
1. Three pens, (one of which is a brand I never use) and a yellow highlighter (I also avoid yellow as a highlighter colour!)
2. A baby bottle.
3.  Two tape dispensers without any tape in them.
4.  A giant bubble blower
He asked me if I had a babies diaper - and I did!
6. Two cameras
7. Two X boxes and a kinect
8. A megaphone
9. shampoo
10. A bag of coin rolls
11. A box of wall mounting tabs
12. A fire extinguisher - empty
13. A small stone statue of smiling buddha

Quite the office accoutrement's if I say so myself - and I have to add that the office has recently been cleared of boxes of t-shirts, pool cues, pool balls and chalk, a broken steam cleaner and a mini fridge.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


One of the things Max has to do this term for school is to bring home "Leon" for a week and write in the book for the class what he and Leon did.
Max took Leon with him to Edmonton and Leon stayed in the hotel with him. Shel made this photo montage with her phone!

Crazy days

Well, It has been crazy days at our house this past week or so.
The boys got sick, then Shel and I got sick, then sicker, then sicker, then.... well, I think you catch my drift.
We had an appointment in Edmonton at the Stollery Children's hospital for Max and we planned to leave on Monday and stay the night in a hotel (a real treat for the boys), then go to the appointment Tuesday and head home.
As every day passed and the time to depart came closer and closer I kept hoping to feel better but felt increasingly worse. At the last moment we decided I would stay home with the little man and Shel would take Max by herself to the appointment. These appointments are so ridiculously difficult to come by it is not even conceivable to cancel or to try and reschedule.
So Shel packed up and took Maximus to Edmonton and I stayed home with little bit. Thank GOODNESS he is a chill kind of a dude, because I could barely even stand up on Monday, let alone play or do anything with him. He basically collected a bunch of cars, and drove them all over the bed (and me) and I put the tv on the retro cartoon channel (Chipmunks are his FAVORITE) and we made it through!
I am still feeling pretty horrendous, but I have to be at work tonight. I am having fever and chills, which to me seems like it should be done by now - I just hope I haven't started the cycle all the way over again.
I honestly cannot remember the last time I was this sick.
Our poor house is in a shambles. It feels like it will take forever to recover from this one.
The sad thing is - I had the weekend and TWO extra days off from work and I didn't do ONE thing - I didn't crack a book, I didn't do any cleaning, any yardwork, ANYTHING. Being sick can really take a bite right out of life to be sure.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

entertaining ourselves

The official first day of spring has come and gone. Instead of sunshine and tulips and pussy willows we got snowstorms, busses cancelled and the flu at our house. On Monday night one of our neighbours came over in his tractor and ploughed our yard out - for which we are grateful. I would still be digging if he hadn't come over.
The boys love it when the tractor comes because he makes snow "mountains" in the yard. Unfortunately, on Tuesday Max was sick enough that he became "still" - which means he was REALLY sick.
Sometime in the afternoon he perked up a bit, partially (we think) because the sun came out for the first time in five days and the wind stopped blowing. It was actually nice enough to go outside - which he promptly requested to do.
So out we went.
His tummy still was bothering him because he asked if we could go for a "wiggle walk" but then changed his mind because he didn't feel so hot. So we entertained ourselves on the mountains outside the back door.

Monday, March 21, 2011

spring weekend

Officially this weekend was the beginning of spring. By the howling wind and snowfall that didn't stop for days it was impossible to tell by looking outside that spring had arrived. When I went out this morning to start the car for work the drifts were a bit high. Thanks March. Thanks a lot.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

12 of 12 - posted on the 16th. ACK!

I know I am SUPER late getting these photos posted. I kept forgetting to download the camera. BAD ME!
This is what our driveway looked like on the morning of the 12th. My boy was SO gracious and posed for me so you could get an idea of the height of the snowbank. It has snowed more since then. This photo was taken sometime in the afternoon - around 3pm

 The boy and I came into the office to get some stuff done and low and behold the blinds were up in my office! This is almost the last thing to be installed (baseboards still coming). I love the design on them and the fact that they do allow light to filter through. I just cannot have the blinds open during the day because the light reflecting off the snow gives me a headache but I hate to sit in the dark. I was disappointed to realize that security let the lady into my office to hang the blinds on the weekend since she had not called ahead and there's a sign on my door - DO NOT ENTER! The least they could have done was called me.

 On the way home we spotted these deer looking for something to eat. Driving this road daily gives me a good idea of where the wildlife is hanging out.

 Another idea of how deep the snow is. I had no idea this tractor was even in the field at first!

Hay bales under snow.

I love these old grain bins and I am sad we no longer have any visible from our house.

Different shot of the same bins

I saw this garlic and cheese bread in the grocery store on sale and it looked delicious. It even looked good coming out of the oven. Alas, it looks better than it tasted.

A happy mom hugging a happy boy. For a few days after mom returned he was quite mad at her for having left and there was not much hugging happening after the initial joy at her arrival. Things are back to normal now.

The garlic and cheese bread was a fail, so back to my fail-safe supper - a salad. I love salad. This photo was taken around 10 pm.

For the life of me I CANNOT get through this dang book.
I want to finish it and it is frustrating me to no end. I finally broke down yesterday and read another book cover to cover just to assuage my guilt at having taken so long to trudge through this one.

I broke down close to midnight and took the dogs out to go to the bathroom. The boys toys are buried in the snowdrifts outside the back door. There are two of these - one is almost completely buried and barely visible on the left side of the photo.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

conversation with Max

Our oldest has many allergies. Since birth he has been allergic to wheat, soy, dairy and peanuts.
As he has grown he has come to realize the things that will give him a stomach ache and he is quite good at monitoring for himself what he eats.
Enter croutons. This boy LOVES croutons. They are better than candy - even though they make him sick he has started to sneak them because he loves them so much.
Earlier this week we were in the grocery store together and we had to wait for some items to be prepared for us and so we walked around a little and looked at birthday cards for gramma. There were no good cards so we wandered some more. Max asked if we were still looking for something for gramma and I said we were, to which he replied "Maybe Gramma wants Croutons for her birthday?"
Such a thoughtful kid! He figures if they are like gold to him then everyone in the world must appreciate and love them like he does.
So last night in the middle of the night he arrived on our bed complaining of a stomach ache. Shel wondered if we should bring him into town to the outpatients but I suspected he had been sneaking croutons again so I asked him and indeed he had been.
I explained to him that the stomach pain would pass, we gave him some peptobismol and I reminded him that croutons hurt his belly and he should not sneak them.
To which he replied" Bowing hurts my tummy too."

Well stop the train. WE MUST stop bowing! Shel and I had to laugh at that one. We decreed in our bed in the middle of the night that there would be no more bowing. I think we averted a crisis with that declaration.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Corny Commercials That Just Make Me Laugh

I love television commericals, but I have to admit I have a weird sense of humor.
Corny television commercials really tickle my funny bone.
There are some current commercials running in Canada on the radio and on television about truth in advertising.

Here is the television ad from Advertising Standards Canada:

They remind me of the discovery television ads from a few years ago. Man did I ever get a kick out of those ads.
"Hello Fellow Partially eaten Fish!"

I love to greet people that way, but they always look at me strangely!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Time to think of others

Often enough, when my mind is occupied by all the daily chores and problems I have, I forget that there are people out there with real problems and they are struggling something bigger than life.
My heart goes out today to everyone - everywhere - who is facing something beyond my wildest dreams.
My thoughts are with my mother in law who just lost her husband, my spouse who just lost her dad, and my parents who are facing an incomprehensible challenge. Then there are people in Japan, in Libya, at the Estonian Orphanage, in Egypt, in Zimbabwe, and all the others I forget when I think too much about myself.
My mom once said to me "The devil doesn't care if you think too much of yourself or too little of yourself, as long as you think about yourself."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday Thirteen: The Mighty Peace Region

1. The place I live is called "The Mighty Peace Region".
I think it is perfect. I need Mighty Peace!

I am going to share with you some facts about this place, but I will let you know right now that I got most of my information from this website if you are interested in checking it out for yourself:
Also, the Mighty Peace Tourist Association has lots of cool info.

2. The Peace River flows from the mountains of British Columbia through this valley all the way to the Arctic Ocean. The Peace River got its name because it was along these banks the peace was finally settled between the Cree and Beaver Indians.

3. Dinosaur footprints were discovered on the south bank of the valley. A cast was made of the 4 toed prehistoric creature and can be seen at the Interpretive Centre and Tourist Centre.

4. Dunvegan Provincial Park is located just a few kilometers from where we live. It is the site of one of Alberta's earliest fur trade posts and missionary centres dating back to 1805.

5. In 1805, Archibald Norman Macleod established a trading post naming it Fort Dunvegan, after his family's ancestral castle in Scotland. Dunvegan became a Hudson Bay Company post and operated until 1918. The Factor's House and the St. Charles Rectory and Church (1867) are the only two buildings remaining from that time.

6. A ferry was used to cross the Peace River at Dunvegan as early as 1909 and ended ended in 1960 when the longest spanning bridge in Alberta was built.

( I have better pictures of the bridge, but I wanted to use one's we took and right now I cant seem to find any!)

If you want to know more about the Dunvegan Bridge and it's construction you can check this out on youtube:

7. Fairview College Campus of Grande Prairie Regional College is located in Fairview Alberta, Heart of the Peace Region. The College campus is home to Neos, a library cat - featured on the Purr and Fur Website. I would like to have a residence cat, but we have a no pet policy in the residence so it would be difficult to justify having a cat in the office. I have in the past brought my dogs to the office with me, but now we have new carpet in the office so I likely won't bring them in again soon!

8. Moving here was very difficult for me. I was convinced I was a city girl. I jokingly said I was having "reverse claustrophobia" because there was just so much open space and I felt lost in it all.
I have now been here 8 years and I think I might be settling down - maybe.

9. There was once a beekeeper technologist program in Fairview which was internationally renowned and drew students from all over the world. I think this is interesting because I would LOVE to keep bees, but of course the program is no longer offered. Dang it.

10. Both of our boys have come to us here in the Peace. They have been raised here. They have enjoyed a life here that would have been difficult to provide them with in another location. It's the perfect place for my outdoor loving boys.

11.  A Beaver Indian legend says, “Drink the waters of the Peace River and you will return”. I haven't had a drink yet, but so far I haven't left either!

12. The Peace River Museum has a blog which you can check out here for more information on events, exhibits and cool tidbits about Peace River history.

13. I think it is a part of the world worth checking out - and not just because I live here. OK, maybe MOSTLY because I live here!

Check out other participants of Thursday Thirteen HERE.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Patience is a Virtue.

There are a LOT of virtues out there people. Just google it and you will find out.

I am talking of patience as a heavenly virtue - along with chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, kindness and humility and as opposed to the seven deadly sins - lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.

Back to patience.
I wish I had more of it. My spouse USED to be the most patient person I had ever met until she had brain surgery (and we have discussed the many ways in which her life has altered as a result of that, one of the most significant ways she changed however was that she is no longer as patient as she once was.)
This has come to mean that in our relationship and in our family I tend to be more patient than she is. I still wish I were more patient.

Patience is on my mind tonight for two reasons:

The first reason is that when my spouse was gone I had a bit of a loss of patience and had what could loosely be referred to as a "temper tantrum" and when my sons were playing in their bedroom at 3 am after repeated warnings, fresh bottles, back rubs, diaper changes and so on I went into the room to discover they were playing in the crib with the top of a wooden changing table balanced on the edges.
This annoyed me for a few reasons. Let's say the PRIMARY reason is that it was completely unsafe for them to be UNDER the wooden changing table surface. It could have fallen and hurt them. In my frustration I GRABBED the changing table and FLUNG it to the ground.
My oldest son, in all his wisdom, KNEW it was unsafe and so as a precaution he had TIED the change table to the crib.
When you throw something to the ground that has been tied to something else there are laws of physics that say that item will return to it's original location - unless something is in the way. Well:

"EYE" was in the way!

Needless to say I was extremely humbled in about one second. I turned and walked from the room and left the boys to play. 

The second reason is that in the last few months (and I have noticed in particular since right before Christmas), my patience is wearing thin at work.  I am frustrated by things not being competed properly. I am frustrated by people who are rude, I am frustrated by people who play political games, and I am frustrated by people who don't do their job.

So here I am at work tonight and let me lay out this small scene. There is a change machine in the hallway. To enter the office you have to walk past the change machine. To enter MY office you have to walk past the change machine, walk into the office and walk a few steps back to my office door. I cannot see the change machine from my desk or from my office without standing up and walking to the door.
When the change machine is not working there is a red light that comes on that indicates it is out of service.

Here is the interaction I just had with the security guard in which I determined there IS such a thing as a stupid question.

I am in my office and the security guard it sitting at the window of the office - less than 2 feet from the change machine in plain sight. The security guard calls out to me in my office and says " is the change machine broken". I replied - "If the light is on it is because the machine is out of loonies." The guard got up, walked to the machine, put money into the machine and received change for his bill. He comes BACK into the office and says to me - "Well I just got 20 loonies from it."

I couldn't help but say to him, "Well then the machine isn't broken!"

Something has to stop my downward spiral of frustration. There are some serious cracks in the veneer of my virtue. It doesn't help that I gave up hope for Lent.

Rest In Peace Pappy

RIP. April 3, 1931 -- March 9, 2011 Willis  "Bill to friends and Billy" to family and "Pappy" to grands, great grands, and the many children who have become family over the years.

He has gone to be with his Auntie Mame and the Mother who was called away when he was 3 years old.

We are very proud of our Father. He survived the Great Depression, while still living in Nebraska. After moving to California, he enlisted in the army during the Korean Conflict and served as a radioman. His bayonet scar was a visible reminder of that time, as well as the skin disease he brought home. For the family, his refusal to eat another "damn grain of that stuff" that we know as rice was our reminder of his time there. Like many who have seen the tragedy of war, he was reluctant to discuss it with his children.

He was a great Patriot, and proud to be an American and has raised his family to be loyal American citizens. We are proud of him and grateful that he shared his experience and insights with us.

After his return from Korea and Japan, he met our beautiful mother, Shirley, who had come to California with her family from Limington, Maine, and they married in the Little White Chapel, Las Vegas, Nevada, on November 5, 1955. They have been married 56 years.

Bill is survived by four adult children: Shelly (Julie) , Willis  II, Jerie (Tom)  and Jodie (Ray). He currently has 8 grandchildren, who adore him! Rebecca (Jason) , Ashley (Nick) , Thomas , Samantha , Tabetha, Jared , Max Willis , 'CJ' Cael , and three great grandkids: Jaelee , Jaeden , and Jacob .

Bill was the 11th of 12 children, born to Horace and Sarah  in Belgrade, Nebraska. He is survived by his youngest brother, Arlen , whom he often described as his best friend.

He is also survived by Maxine , wife of his beloved brother, Tom. He has too, too many nieces and nephews to count, but he loved them all and cold still tell you the birthdates and significant events in their lives after so many years of the family growing and spreading further distances from one another.

Our Father worked as a glazier for many years, and enjoyed showing us the high-rise buildings, throughout Los Angeles, in which he had set the plate glass windows. So next time you drive through, remember him for the work he felt was the most difficult achievement.

As you all know, he struggled for years with emphysema, followed by strokes, heart attacks, cataracts, diabetes and COPD, so renal failure was a surprise to his family. In the end, we are grateful for the time he had with Mom, and that all of the kids and grandkids were there to say goodbye.

He has chosen to be cremated and have no ceremony. We will honor his wishes. But if you are so inclined, in the tradition of the Irish wake, to raise a cup and a fond memory, I am sure he would enjoy the laughter and tears.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Happy Fat Tuesday everyone.
My favorite day!
And to top it all off my spouse is home today!!!
Hip Hip Horray for us!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

It hasn't been the breeze I thought it would be: Day six

I honestly thought this time I had at home with my spouse away in the USA would be a breeze. I had time off from work. I had plans to cook lavish meals and bake gluten free treats for Max for class. I was going to go to bed when the boys went to bed and I was going to sleep for as long as they slept.
Well life has not unfolded as I expected it to.
I don't know if it is because of the stress of my father in law being super ill, or other family issues, but I have not been sleeping at all, or sleeping very poorly.
I have given myself a black eye - which was my own fault and an example of why 39 year olds should not throw tantrums. The dog (great dane) has knocked me down and hyper extended my knee. The temperature has been FRIGID  - below -30 - and we have been unable to go outside and subsequently we are going stir crazy. I have not had access to a computer to decompress by blogging, or facebooking, or emailing. It has been a LONG, LONG six days.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day Four of Mom's trip, a tough one

We had a tough day today - but really it was all me and not anything to do with the boys.
I am still struggling with knowing how to deal with some things in my life and last night was a particularly difficult one for me. I could not stop my brain from tossing things around. I spoke on the phone with my brothers for a while and that was good, but didn't really stop my brain. Because the ol noggin was working overtime I was not able to sleep at ALL.
Then Max fell out of his big boy bed (for the first time) but I felt bad and so I brought him into my bed which was a poor decision. The kid is a violent sleeper. He tosses and turns and kicks and moves and rolls, so when I was finally able to relax, the rest I got was not very restful.
Then today Cael was weepy. He just wanted to be held, but didn't want to be held. He stood behind me and when I turned and bumped into him he cried. He didn't want to eat out of the bowl he had, he wanted it out of the bowl I had - but he didn't want to share with me, he just wanted what was IN my bowl out into HIS bowl. He dropped his bottle and he wanted it washed. He fell over and he wanted his hands washed, but the water was too hot so he didn't want his hands washed but he didn't want to leave the bathroom, then he cried because I left him alone in the bathroom.
I was sleep deprived so I was grumpy myself.
At one moment the boys were chill and I had a second to call Shel but as soon as she picked up the phone the boys started screaming at one another so I couldn't hear. She was trying to be sympathetic and said she would let me go to deal with the boys, but I didn't WANT to deal with them, I wanted to talk to her (as I am typing this I am realizing I sound a bit like Cael myself)! and the conversation ended abruptly and we didn't get to talk.
I can't believe it is only day four - it feels like it should be day 44....
Hopefully tonight I will get some better sleep, but I have decided I am not sharing the bed with the children or the dog!
I thought tonight how when Shel and I are home together with the boys really neither one of us get any more rest, but just the fact that we are there doing it together makes it feel different somehow. I miss her.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day Three of Mom's trip

Well we are on day three of mom's trip and we are all still alive.
I was a bit of a keener this morning and got the boys up and dressed and into town to discover that the busses didnt run today so there are only two kids in Maxies class this morning.
It IS -35 so under normal circumstances I would not have braved the weather to get him to school but I am trying to be super mom!
Shel made it to her family. Seven days until she returns!