Friday, April 30, 2010

A Mother's Day

My mother passed away 25 yrs ago, and just months after her passing I acquired another mother when I married my hubby. Through the years my mother-in-law and myself have had good times when we were very close, and times when we couldn't seem to get along, no matter how hard we tried. But still in all she was my husband's mother so she was mine as well.

The years rolled on, I matured and mellowed, and she did too. We tolerated each other better and better. We didn't see each other often because she lived in Chicago and we lived in Canada, but we saw each other often enough to find a common ground for the two people we both loved so well... her son, and mine.

Twenty years ago it seemed we had so much time, four years ago, it seemed we had so much time, four months ago we thought we might have some more time.

Today I realized that our time has gone. We are at the end. She is at the end of her time, and after tomorrow we will never again be able to see each other, hold hands, hug, kiss each others cheek.

I look at her and wonder how we got here, and I wonder why we wasted the time we did. My heart hurts for all the lost opportunities where we should have reached out, instead of pulling back.

Growing up is hard, growing old is harder. I wasn't there for her through this process as much as I should have been, or could have been.

I know she knows I love her, but I'm not sure she realizes just how much. She's my Mom, and tomorrow when we embrace for the last time, my heart will be mourning all those missed opportunities.

So hug your Mothers, and Mother-in laws if you still have them close. Don't wait for Mother's Day next week.. do it now.


On a happier note, a very special woman in my life turns 101 today. Happy Birthday Iris. I love you...


Thursday, April 29, 2010

An artist's dream





Yesterday we visited our nephew who is an inspiring young artist. He and his wife and little son live on the North side of Chicago in a beautiful older neighbourhood about 4 miles from the lake. To get there we spent a lot of time, sitting on the freeway in rush hour traffic...
they must have been expecting me because they erected all this signage just for me.




Mike and his wife bought their home a couple of years ago, gutted it, took the roof off, and literally re-built it from the floor up. It is a family home, studio and art gallery all rolled into one.

Michael paints and teaches fine arts. His work is amazing. You can check him out at his website http://www.michaelvanzeyl.com believe me, you will be impressed.

Michael has been drawing and painting since he was a little boy, it's great to realize that his passion for art and his dedication to it has and still gives him so much pleasure. But as impressive as the artist is, below all that is still the young nephew we have always loved.

Mike and his wife have a little powerhouse in their lives who is a miracle all of his own. Their son, Brayden, who turns 4 yrs old today - was born 11 weeks prematurely, and for quite a long time it was not known if he would survive. Survive he did, in fact after some time and thanks to two dedicated parents he thrived. He's an adorable, smart, healthy 4 yr old who kept us entertained with his energy for most of the evening.

Thank you Mike, Laura and Brayden for a lovely evening, and a delicious meal of real "Chicago" pizza (eat your heart my dear friend John S ) and strawberry cheesecake for dessert.


Today we are taking Chinese food to the nursing home (Mom's favorite) and if the wind settles down hopefully we can eat our lunch outside in the lovely little court yard.

And I have followers happening... thanks everyone!




Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Here there and everywhere

Well it's been several days since I've been in touch. It's been an interesting time, to be sure. The trip from Minneapolis to Janesville was a nail biter. We travelled the whole time in a wind and rain storm. It was not the nicest journey, we missed seeing all the nice rolling hills of Wisconsin because we pretty much could see nothing for the driving rain.

But it was so worth it just to see the smile on my 92 yr old Aunt's face when we arrived. She was delighted to see us, and we spent all day Monday traipsing around Janesville, trying to wear her out. In the end it was I who needed the nap, while she caught up with her correspondence and made supper. There will be a lot about her in later posts, along with some pretty neat pictures, but for now suffice to say - what an incredible woman she is.

This morning we set out for Chicago at 9am. The first part of the drive went well and the last hour, well let's just say that it sort of brought out the worst in me. Poor hubby... my meltdown was pretty intense (while I drove) and it even included tears... but again, once we arrived at our destination - all was forgotten.

Kinda reminds on of childbirth!! Horrible while it's happening, but once you see the end result, all's forgotten.

The main reason of this whole trip was to see hubby's very ill and failing mother. We spent all afternoon with Mom, and while it was heart breaking to see how far she has declined, she reminded us time and time again with her wit and humour why God has given her to us, and us to her. We had a lovely day with her, and look forward to another such day tomorrow.

I promise to get the camera out and start getting some pictures, tomorrow night we head to the north side of Chicago for dinner at a nephews. I don't have to drive!! Oh joy of all joys!

On a side note: can't help noticing that I only have 1 follower... what's with that, I wonder?

More tomorrow...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

We're off again!

Now that I know that the little button at the end of the windshield washer switch is the accelerator for the cruise control, I'm taking on the Twin Cities! Grrrrrrrr....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Water water everywhere...

I am a crier. Ask anyone who knows me well. My tears spring forth with little effort on my part.. sort of like a fawcet that's missing a washer.

So this morning when we were headed out the door and Molly(my dog) started whining, and my son sat there with his eyes large and fixed on me... well needless to say the flood began. I don't know who cried harder, Molly or me, but you get the picture!

And so the day began. We set off out of the city at 7:45am, and an hour later we reached the Canadian/American border at Emerson.

Twenty three years ago, the border consisted of a little building with 1 gate. Now it's a small city! Well not really, but it is large and imposing structure with 6 gates and guards and officers everywhere you look. It must have been payday yesterday for Manitobans' because there had to be 75-100 cars, trucks, vans, sitting idling, waiting to go through customs. I imagine GrandForks and Fargo ND have been infiltrated with money spending Canadians looking for sales and bargains this weekend.
The line we were in turned out to be the fastest, we were though the gate in 20 minutes. The officer who questioned us had a colourful shiner under his left eye. All business and serious-like he confiscated my Florida oranges, but kindly let me keep my BC apples! If you can figure that one, please let me know!


Two oranges short and a sigh of relief we were off.

The weather was cool and cloudy and soon we were driving in heavy rain and gusty winds. I still struggle with the wipers on the van - I hate where the little turn on button is, so as I was trying to drive the speed limit (75mph) in the wind and rain, I pushed what I thought was the wiper button, twice, or maybe even 3 times, because darn it all nothing was happening, and all of a sudden the gas pedal left my foot.
OMG! If we'd had wings we would have been air-borne! Yeah a little panic attack and some yelling, and it was all good.

7 hours later we arrived at our overnight stay in Rogers Minnesota. It's still raining and the wind is howling, but we are safe and cozy in our suite, the Jacuzzi is filling with water, and we are going to relax. Tomorrow we head for Janesville Wisconsin. Sure hope the sun is shinning there.

night, night.....





Thursday, April 22, 2010

Packin Up

I've come to the conclusion that I hate packing. I know, I know, it's just 2 adults I'm packing for, but gosh its a pain. How do women with large families do it? Hats off to them, is what I say!

I have no idea how to pack for 2 weeks away from home. How could I possibly know where I'm going to be or what I'm going to do? If I pack something for every eventuality, then I'll have no room for the new stuff we want to purchase while there. If I don't pack everything, and I don't find anything to buy, then I look like I have no wardrobe at all!

For goodness sake shoes! Okay that's a easy one, runners for sure, flip-flops maybe? Dress shoes... do I even have any?

So here we are a little over a day away from departing, and I'm deeply stuck in indecision. I have piles all over the house, and God help the first person to touch my piles!

A good friend told me just make sure you have your medications; another good friend said, just make sure you have your camera. Another person said, just take money and buy everything you need! I'm listening to them all. AND I just put our passports in my laptop bag, because I know I won't forget the computer!

So as much as I'd like to sit here and chat, I do have to get the rag out... time's a-wasting and I'm a-lingering.

Till next time...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New beginnings

I have toyed with the idea of writing a blog for quite some time. Thanks to some wonderful on-line friends encouragement, I finally decided to give it a go.

I hope be able to share some of my writing, some crafting and some of my everyday life with my followers. Hopefully you will find something interesting to read; something pleasing to look at or maybe just some inspiration, as I have found on so many other blogs.

So here we go... blog #1

In 3 days time my hubby and I are leaving for a vacation for a couple of weeks. We are heading down to Chicago to see his elderly mother, as well as his sister and her family. It's been 23 years since we have been to Chicago, so we are expecting to see a lot of change.

We don't travel much - our last trip was 4 yrs ago, when we went to Dawson City Yukon. That can be a whole other post for another time.

This trip will be very different for us in so many ways. First, it will be the first trip we are taking without bringing our son along, it will seem strange to not hear his comments from the back seat. Secondly, and sadly, I will have to be the one doing ALL the driving this time around as hubby has developed some serious eye trouble, and cannot drive at present.

My first thought is YIKES; can I do it? Can I get us through Minneapolis/St. Paul and worse yet the toll road into Chicago in one piece? Well heck yeah... I think I can. But just to be on the safe side we went out and purchased a GPS and a cell phone!

So bright and early Saturday morning we will head to the US border crossing with mainly empty suitcases. The Canadian dollar is pretty good, so hopefully we can inject some money into our good neighbour's economy and bring back suitcases filled with essentials like clothes, shoes, sheets, towels and quite possibly some non-essentials like garden gizmos, cd's, Wii games. Oh yeah, and did I mention that I need to visit some craft stores... well no surprise there... I'm on the hunt for ceramic angel heads; crochet cottons; yarn, and oh whatever else strikes my fancy. But I really have to find those heads, without them my angel business is not going to fly. Sorry, bad joke.

So stay tuned as we get ready to roll. I'm taking you on a journey Dale-style.