Thursday, February 23, 2017


Good morning everyone!

We are less than a month away from the first day of spring and if you are like me, that means that a lot of your thoughts have been focused on the great outdoors!  For some it means getting outside and riding a bike, going fishing, hiking, camping, playing sports.

For me it is starting the very long list of "to dos" that I want to accomplish outside this year!

Of course in my mind, I will get everyone one of the things on my list done probably in the first month - or so I tell myself.

Check out this list:

Build raised garden beds - I am thinking (4 )  6ft beds to start with.

Build a rustic fence around the beds - not to keep anything out - just because I want a fence with a gate around my raised bed area.

Make perimeter beds around the fence for flowers - annuals and perennials.

Start seeds indoors - things like tomatoes, some herbs, annuals and flowers...

Clean all flower beds and continue working on the rose beds on the south side of the house.

Plant a apple and a pear tree

Remove brick flower bed along the west side of the house and save any bulbs or plants for replanting.  Dig and make a new bed along the house with new soil and replant.

Re-seed lawn where necessary.

Plant trees and shrubs at the front of the house... thinking 1 tree and 2 shrubs (for now)

Plant 1 tree and a couple of shrubs on the garage side of the yard for privacy.

Find, buy and install a umbrella clothesline in the space behind the shed.

Plant vegetable garden

Replace windows

Paint exterior of the house and garage...

And that should take me to June!

All of a sudden I am feeling a bit tired... think I will go and see how April is coming along!

This is what I have been doing for a whole day already - I am watching a Giraffe by the name of April as she labours to give birth to her baby.  It is fascinating - not because I have never seen an animal give birth, but maybe because I have never seen a giraffe give birth!

 There are several live feeds on line - they go off once in awhile, but for the most part are on until the event happens.

One is CBS Denver's Facebook page ( this is the best feed) but the comments are nuts, so turn them off - hate it when humans have to be humans while watching nature in progress.

Youtube also has a feed - just type in Animal Adventure Park, and you will see the feed.

Well, I feel like I have done a whole lot this morning - time for breakfast and some much needed coffee...

Enjoy your day everyone!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


It's time to get back to the studio and get some projects done before spring hits.  Once the weather warms up enough to be outside working in the yard, the studio pretty much gets forgotten.

You would think spring was here, this past weekend we had record warm temps for this time of the year.  The snow is melting like crazy and when you go outside you really are fooled into believing it is late March or even April, instead of February.  I took this picture on Saturday, Feb 18th.  A week ago this was buried under about three feet of snow that we had piled beside the garage.  While it was exciting to see the Iris' I had totally forgotten I had planted here last fall, it still should not look this way quite yet.

So back to the work waiting in the studio ...

I am working on some items for the Antique shop... some homespun-type things that will go good with vintage and antique items in the shop.  The shop is called "Uniques and Antiques" - perhaps my items would qualify more for the "Uniques" portion of the name.

So currently working on large (26") cloth angels, made from recycled materials from shirts, pants - actually anything, really.  Their wings are "crazy patch" construction to give them that homespun "poor angel" look.

I also have started a couple of cows - and boy and girl cow to be exact.  These are made of fabric as well, about 21" and crazy cute.

My friend Louise has managed to snag me a pattern for a pair of chickens that are outrageously funny and cute, so they are going to be next on the docket...

And if I have some time I might do a couple of bears, bunnies and perhaps a giraffe.

I haven't done soft cloth figures in a long time, so this is a re-visit and a re-learning experience for me.  It is a most welcome change from mug-rugs and needle work and crochet.

But then Gary informed me that his topic for his Spiritual Care group at the nursing home this week is going to be Angels.  Right away my brain goes into overdrive.  I have come to know and love the residents there, so thought it would be nice if they could all get a little Angel once their group meeting was over.

So out came the crochet cotton and needle and I ended up making  tiny little angels that they can take to their rooms and hang on a plant or the window shade, or where ever they want.

My head is getting so far ahead of my hands that I just know I am going to run into trouble eventually.  It always happens when the creative juices go into over drive!  At 61, I am still trying to learn to pace myself - whatever that might be... I'm just not getting the concept.

Hope to be able to show you completed projects in my next post.

Keep busy everyone - it's good for you!

Thursday, February 16, 2017


While I have been writing the series of posts about my Dad, all kinds of wonderful things have been happening to people I know and love - and to me as well.

First, this past weekend we were Blessed with a visit from our Dear friends,  Sharon and Al.  They were visiting family in Winnipeg and later in Brandon, so they stopped for a overnight with us on the weekend.  

We haven't seen them for a couple of years so we had lots of catching up to do.  It was wonderful having them here, and my only complaint aside from wishing my dear friend wouldn't have to be battling cancer again, is that the visit was much too short.  But God-willing it won't be years before we see each other again!

Not two days later we got the news we have been waiting to hear for over 8 months! 

Well I'll let this precious little fellow tell you himself!

On Valentine's Day Thomas got to go home.  Here he is checking out of Ronald McDonald House!

Thomas is not over his ordeal yet - starting March 1st he starts his next round of chemo treatments, but from now on, he will no longer need to live in Vancouver full time.    He still has 2 more years of treatment ahead of him, but he will be home with his family, his pets and his friends, which is going to be so wonderful for him.

Thomas and his Mom, my niece Alanna have inspired me so very much these past 8 months.  Little 10 yr old boys can be Hero's - and he is mine.  Both he and his Mom have fought hard, but all through this journey they both have kept smiling, kept being kind to everyone they met along the way.  They didn't take their sorrow or pain or fear out on anyone - they faced it and overcame their obstacles one by one.  The picture above is proof of strength of spirit, and more so - strength of character that both Thomas and Alanna possess.  

Thomas had help, much loving help from the Angels who worked with him and for him every day.  The doctors, nurses, technicians, radiologists to name a few.  Without them, this beautiful picture would never have happened.  Thank You one and all for taking care of my family.  
And finally, many thanks to Ronald McDonald House staff for wrapping your arms around my family and giving them everything they needed at the time they needed it most.

This world IS full of wonderful people, wonderful places and wonderful outcomes...  I have seen it many times myself, and now I have just seen it one more time.

Two special people who both are battling cancer, and who both mean the world to me.

"I choose to make the Rest of my Life,
The Best of my Life..."

I'm sure they would agree....

Wednesday, February 15, 2017



Well here I am again to write, 
The next part of our story;
There are some parts that may be sad,
For that, I'm truly sorry.

For Dale it was a happy time,
As she was about to marry;
It took so long for her to find
Her true love, who was Gary.

But others were not quite as blessed,
Especially our dear Dad.
His loneliness fro our sweet Mom,
It really made him sad.

He tried awhile to live alone,
But soon he took a wife.
He and Norma struggled some
To try and have a life.

Around this time a little boy,
Was born to Wendy and Dean.
Leigh was such a precious child,
He made his Dad's eyes beam.

Our Father was not happy now,
Divorce was not his style;
He sold the house and moved away,
To rest and think awhile.

About his time there seemed to be
A reason for some joy.
Dale and Gary were so proud,
Of little Jonathan, their boy.

The family was so different now,
The closeness fading fast.
Togetherness was just a dream
We held on from the past.

Before I thought we would survive,
But now, I'm not so sure.
We've grown apart in so many ways,
I hope we will endure.

Dale Graumann

Dad really meant it when he said he couldn't live alone, and in my opinion he never gave himself enough time to try and live without my mother.  He remarried in a little over a year after Mom's passing and the marriage only lasted a year.

After his second marriage failed, Dad decided he needed to get away from his life in Winnipeg, so he sold his home and moved to British Columbia to be nearer to two of his sons.

He raced into another relationship and a year later he was married once again.

The next twenty seven years would be a difficult time for Dad and for us, his family.  Our family relationship fell apart drastically.  Personally, my relationship with my Father was strained when we were communicating, and totally absent during the times we didn't communicate.  The few times we were together during this time, seldom were good times.  We became strangers and it seemed easier to avoid each other than to bear the disappointment of our failed relationship.

Dad's third marriage also ended in divorce, but by then so much damage had been done with our relationship with our Father that it was difficult to return back to happier times.

It changed for me, when we moved out to the country.  Shortly after we moved, Dad called me and we talked for a very long time... we even laughed together, and I felt something had changed for the better.  As time went on it was better, so much so, that our conversations were enjoyed and even longed for.

I am thankful I had that almost two years before he passed away to reconnect with the man who had been such a huge part of my life growing up.

Writing this tribute to my Father has helped me in so many ways.  It has connected me to my Father again because of the bond we have always held, through good times and not- so good times - the bond of father and daughter.  Dad wasn't perfect - but then neither am I, and neither is the rest of my family.

I wish we had not wasted so many years on hurt and anger, but I now realize that we had just as many years with love and laughter and that brings me peace and comfort, especially now that he is gone.

Rest in Peace Dad - I will love you forever...

Friday, February 10, 2017


When you are a kid growing up you never stop and think - "Wow, my parent is so talented!"  Guess it takes years of living your own life and experiencing what it takes to make a good life for yourself and your family to realize that some people just are blessed with am abundance of talents.

Dad was one of these.  In an earlier post "Enough Said"  I told you about my Dad's ability to use Pig Latin as a language, when he chose to do so.

He also was a pretty good musician.  My grandfather played the fiddle, and Dad said that there was always music in his home growing up.  He learned to play the guitar as a young man,  and also taught himself to play the "mouth organ" (harmonica) and the Concertina (his "squeeze box")- which is a small accordion-like instrument with buttons instead of keys - which believe me - is not the easiest instrument to play.   Each button gives you two notes, depending on which way you squeeze the bellows.

Dad loved music and he encouraged all his children to try and learn an instrument.  I was like him, I wanted to play everything I saw - and so we had this special bond because of music.

When I was just 4 someone gave me a tiny little chord organ, which apparently I spent hours and hours sitting and playing.  I wanted to play the piano, so my parents found a teacher but they couldn't afford a piano, so Dad arranged for me to practice my lessons every night on a neighbour's piano.  I did that for two years, until they had saved up enough money to buy me my own instrument...

Dad was the only one in the house who sat and listened to my practice sessions - always encouraging me to play more.  When I had learned all my chords and scales, he brought out his Concertina and we started to practice together - he playing the melody - me chording on the piano.  It quickly became "our" thing to do.  I learned all his "old songs" - Turkey in the Straw; The Old Washer Woman: You're The Only Star in my Blue Heaven... which he made me learn so he could play and sing it to my Mom.  I taught him some new songs... "Dominique" from the Flying Nun... "This Land is Your Land"... and many more.

When guests came to visit - we entertained for hours - and when the winter evenings were long - we played - just because we loved to.

Because of Dad's influence, I learned to play other instruments -  his Concertina, my own mouth-organ (given to me as a gift from him); guitar, Melodica, Cello... and these instruments were added to our practice sessions many many times.

It is something that to this day, brings me pleasure and pride to think about.  It is something I will never forget -  this gift that we gave each other.

He gave me his Concertina a few years ago - not because I play it well, but I think he knew how much those days of playing music with him always meant to me, and having his instrument would keep it alive in my heart.

But Dad had many other talents as well.  He could grow anything.  His gardens were crazy big and always successful.  He could build anything, he could fix anything.  He could hand-sew anything and he knew and used the sewing machine almost as well as my Mother.  I often felt that if you had handed him a pair of knitting needles, he would have conquered that too.

One day he decided he wanted to learn to paint - and so he did.  I have a couple of pieces that he painted - not on canvas, but on wood.  This little diamond-shape one is my favourite.  It was one of the first pieces he painted.

I wish I had a video of my Dad and I playing our music together - I can hear it in my head - but it would have been so great to be able to hear it again now.

But as luck would have it - low and behold it was discovered a year or so go that Dad has a you-tube video of himself playing his mouth-organ.  Who knew? 

He is playing at a farmer's market where a friend and her husband had a booth.  She spins, and he plays...

I will leave you with him playing "The old Spinning Wheel" - one of his particular favourites and one we played hundreds of times together.


Thursday, February 9, 2017


My Mother was the most important person in Dad's life - as he was to her.  As their children grew and left home to build their own lives, they finally had time to do things together - just the two of them.  They did everything together, and because I was the last one to leave the nest,  perhaps I was the luckiest of all.  If I hadn't been paying attention to their relationship growing up - I had the opportunity to see it every day as a young adult still living at home.

I used to watch them and hope and dream of a day when I would have what they had.  Their bond was love, but they also respected and treasured each other and their time spent together.

If Mom was sitting in front of the TV making something - chances are Dad was right beside her, or very nearby, doing the same thing.

When Mom passed away at the young age of 61, Dad's world came apart.  I remember an evening about 2 weeks after her death.  I was staying with him and I found him downstairs in the spare bedroom sitting at Mom's desk head down on the desk crying his heart out because he didn't know how to pay a bill.  I had never seen my Dad like this before.  He actually scared me.  We worked through it and he calmed down enough to learn how she did things like pay bills and organize his life... that was the day I first heard him say he didn't know how to live alone.


Some time ago I wrote a poem,
About some people I knew.
It was my family, or so I thought - 
But you should see how it grew.

First Wayne and Bev, they had three boys;
Charles, then Trevor, then Blair.
A lively time we always had,
When we would visit there!

Merv and Gail had two, you know - 
A girl and then a boy.
Cheri was the quiet one,
And Scott - Oh what a joy!

Norman married Valda,
Two beautiful girls had they.
Alanna, always so serious;
And Cindy, always so gay!

Dale, though looking very hard,
Could not a good man find.
She shared her time with all these kids,
And did not seem to mind.

Now Dean had found that special one,
And took himself a wife.
They built themselves a brand new house.
And had a real good life.

Life was good and happy.
Until that awful day - 
When God reached down amongst us,
And took our Mom away.

Nothing seemed to matter much,
For quite a long long time.
Then slowly time became our friend,
And the sun once more did shine.

Well time continues to roll along,
The future we face together.
For with our love for one and all,
There's nothing we can't weather.

Dale Fischer 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


In 1979  I was 24 yrs old.  I had been writing poetry since I was a child.  I had always written about other people, but never my own family - so I wrote a poem for my parent's  37th  Wedding Anniversary.

They were delighted - they made me frame it, and they hung it in their bedroom.  It hung there until their home was sold after Mom's death...

As it turned out this poem would become the first in the "Cycle" series.  I updated this poem several times throughout the years...


Some years ago two people I know,
Were joined together for life.
The vows they made to one another,
Were that, of Man and Wife.

So young they were, and full of dreams,
Their aim in life was plain;
And when their first child came to them,
They called their new son, Wayne.

Some time they had with this young lad,
Growin' so fast and learnin'
But soon a brother came for him,
And this one they called, Mervyn.

The times were hard, the money scarce;
Outside the air was stormin',
About this time, another child - 
The third son, who was Norman.

The days passed by and turned to years,
The changes they were many.
There seemed no hope for daughters now,
They didn't plan on any.

But fate it was, that they should hear,
The news that made the pair go pale;
A child again, a girl this time - 
A welcome sight named Dale.

Their family was completed now,
Or so to them it seemed;
But in awhile surprise again -
A boy, whom they called Dean.

This story has no end you know,
Now most of the kids are grown.
Their children now, are coming fast,
And the cycle continues on.

Well time will tell what the future brings,
And I know it won't be too bad;
Not with the start, we all got from home,
Thank You, Mom and Dad.

Dale Fischer

More tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


Growing up as a child I often wondered how my parents could afford to buy a brand new home in the city when they couldn't afford to buy a farm.  I admit, this wondering stemmed from my disappointment is not being able to be a "farm girl" as I always wanted to be.

It was a loan - given to them by the same Grandmother from Iowa who years before had come to the rescue of 11 children left without a Mother or a Father to care for them.  My Great-Grandmother Effie Owens!

So, in 1953, My parents moved into Winnipeg into their brand new home in the Crescentwood area.  It was their first home of their own, and it was also their last.  They lived there until my Mother passed away in 1984.

They might have had a new home, but they didn't have much else.  My Dad's education ended at  grade 7, and other than his work in the mines, his only skills were in farming.  So he took a job as a door to door salesman for Kitchen Queen.  He sold pots and pans, and then vacuum cleaners.  It really wasn't enough to sustain his family so he did odd jobs for pay wherever he could - and his three young son's got paper routes.

I came along in 1955.  Even though life was financially a struggle for my family, somehow they managed to keep their bills paid, and they managed to keep their home.

Shortly after I was born, Noranda Mines of Quebec opened Canada Wire and Cable co. in Winnipeg, and because my Dad had worked for Noranda Mines during the war, he was hired on the spot.  He stayed in that job until he retired in 1985.

Dad quickly became involved in his community through his older son's.  He coached hockey at the local community club, and became a Scout troop leader.  He and my Mother joined Oxford United Church Congregation - and he never left here either until he moved from the city.

Here we all are in front of our house.  He was so proud of 1313... always boasted that it was the luckiest house number anywhere - and for it - it was.  My brother Merv is not in the picture because he took the picture.

Things were easier after Dad got a better job.  His family was growing up, and he was able to start doing the things with his family that he truly loved.  One of those things was fishing.

In the mid 60's Dad bought a very small, used pull trailer and hauled it to a seasonal spot at Caddy Lake.  It became our summer home for many years.  Every weekend we went to the lake where we all enjoyed nature, fishing, boating, swimming.  It was Dad who taught us to appreciate nature - the birds, the wildlife, the constellations, the weather... he was a natural teacher in all things of the outdoors.  His favourite pastime was trolling the shores of Caddy Lake and beyond in his aluminum fishing boat.  The picture isn't a great one, but Dad's boat was always filled with children - his and other peoples.

- Fishing for  "Jacks" and "Pickerels" was always a fun time with Dad - and our catch went straight into the frying pan as soon as they were cleaned!

Did I say fish?  Notice how Dad's eyes are not on the camera but on the fish  - and while you are busy noticing - check out the chubby little girl that just seems to be in every picture - me!

Please don't tell me you never saw fish fillets hanging from the cloths line - didn't every one's Dad's do that.?  Well if your Dad smoked his own fish - he did - these are fish drying from the salt water brine they had been soaking in prior to going in the smoker...

We went on road trips to see Great Grandmother "Effie"many times - the whole family squished into Dad's car, but now the older boys were able to help drive.

Both my parents loved children - but especially my Dad.  So to supplement the household income, my parents started taking in foster children.  Even though at times I am sure my mother was overworked, and our home was less than perfect, I believe it was an experience that everyone in our home benefited from.  We all had to pitch in and help with the additional children in a house.  Sometimes there would be newborns, sometimes toddlers, sometimes older, but always we were taught to consider these strangers our family - and so we did.  We watched and learned from both our parents how to give love and show love to those less fortunate than ourselves.  Even though Dad worked every day, he did dish duty, bottle duty, diaper duty, rocking and singing duty right along with everyone else - and he always did it with a smile... I think this was something he remembered doing in his youth with his own siblings as they were growing up  In the end, my parents made a home for 32 foster children in all.

The years rolled on - Wayne and Mervyn married and started families of their own.  Norman -  that handsome hunk in the second to last picture, moved to Northern BC to work on the Power Dams - and life went on for us all...

to be continued...  

Monday, February 6, 2017


I said I was going to do a tribute to my Father's life here on my blog.  It has taken me a bit of time to gather some pictures, some memories, and some stories about my Dad.  It's been an enjoyable journey for me to put this together.  I hope you enjoy getting to know the man I called Dad.

My Dad was born in 1920, on a small farm in rural Manitoba.   Shown here being held by his mother, is the only baby picture I have ever seen of my father.  He was the third eldest of 11 children born to my grandmother.

This picture (one of my favourite pictures ever) was taken in 1933.  My Dad (on the far right) would have been about 13 yrs old.  When this picture was taken there would have already been 10 children in his family.

   My grandmother delivered her 11th child August 1934, and died of pneumonia December 1934 - leaving my grandfather with 11 children from the ages of 4 months to 16 yrs old.

Grandpa struggled after my Grandmother's death - it was hard times, the depression had hit, and he had a very large young family to raise on his own.  One morning the older children found him crouched behind the wood stove - incoherent.  Grandpa, so obviously very ill had to be hospitalized for quite some time.  My Aunt Margaret who was 16,  Uncle John who was 15, and my Dad at 14 were left in charge of their eight younger siblings - they struggled under the burden of caring for the family in Grandpa's absence.  When the authorities threatened to split the family up and put them in homes and orphanages, my great-grandparents came from Iowa to my Grandfather's farm in Manitoba to take over the care of the children until Grandpa was able to return home to his family.

It is very hard for me to read this story and reconcile that man to the man I knew to be my Grandfather.  I only knew him as a strong-willed, happy, sometimes goofy funny Grandfather.  Whatever treatment they gave him in his time away from his family, obviously benefited not only my Grandfather, but his large family of 11 children.  After Grandpa returned home - he, along with the help of his three oldest children raised his family to adulthood.

I believe my Father's young life shaped the person he became.  Dad took responsibility very seriously all his life.  He was always a hard worker, honest, caring, and always there to help anyone who needed his help.  He never quit anything he started... no matter what - he saw it through to the end.  The way he started his young life was they way he lived it until his death...

I am not sure what year he met my Mother, but I have this picture taken in 1940.  On the back of the photo she has written "Courting Days"!

They Married in January 12, 1942 in Noranda Quebec, where my father worked in the nickel mines during the war.  He did so because he had a heart murmur, which prevented him from entering the military, so instead he worked in a mine that supported the military efforts.

I have several certificates and plaques that Dad received during WWII, recognizing his efforts as a War Finance Worker in selling the Bonds of Canada's Victory Loans. .. which kind of makes me smile, because we all knew only Mom managed the finances in our home growing up. 

Dad became a father for the first time when my oldest brother Wayne was born in October 1943.  Here Wayne is 3 1/2 months old.

A year later he would become a father once again - to his second son, Mervyn.

After the war ended, Mom and Dad and my two oldest brothers returned home to Plumas Manitoba to farm.  My parents rented a farm and settled into a life that was familiar to them both.  Their third son, Norman was born November 1946.

My parents couldn't afford to buy the farm they were renting so in 1953 they decided to quit farming and move to the city...

to be continued.....

Sunday, February 5, 2017


Today, really was the best of days for me.

What would make you say that, I wonder?

For me the best days of my life have always been because I have spent some part of the time of my day with my family.  Yes, most especially my immediate family - husband and son... but also, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, in-laws, Aunts, Uncles, cousins...

These days my parents and mother-in-law, have gone.  Most of my Aunts and Uncles have gone.  My siblings mostly don't want the family connection we used to have... one in particular - has told me goodbye and as the days, months and years progress, I feel he truly means it.

But even so - Today - WAS the best of days!

It was the best of days because I got to spend a couple of hours with a nephew I have not seen in a very long time.  Not only did I spend time with him - I also saw and visited with his wife and family.  It made my day!

Of course the passage of 11 years makes a difference to many appearances - but the man I visited with today, still is the little boy I cherished years ago.  He speaks and my heart sings.  Memories pile one on top of the other as we share our lives with stories, with laughter, with pictures - with love - and in the end - that is all that family should really be about.

How simple a day can be - how Blessed a life can be.

I am lucky that I can spend days like today with some in my family - I cherish these days so much, and I would love to be able to spend days like this one, with all my family.  But I have learned that you can want something very very much, but unless others want it as well - it can never be.

So - I will cherish days like this one has been - for sure it will go in my jar of memories to be visited again January 1, 2018 - yes I am still entering my weekly happy thoughts for New Years Day 2018!  Are you?

I am indeed a truly lucky woman - this week I will have yet another "Best Of Days", when one of my dearest friends and her husband come for a visit next weekend.  Although we keep in touch regularly, we have not seen each other in a couple of years.  I can't tell you how excited we are to have our friends come all the way from Alberta to visit us.

I have much to do to get ready for our company - even though my friend would be the first one to shake her finger at me and tell me not to "fuss" - well you know how it is - you want your home to be "ready" for your special guests... so ready I shall be!

I hope you all have "The Best of Days" many times this week.  It really doesn't take much - but the effects can last a very long time indeed!