Thursday, June 30, 2011

Touring the US of A

I wrote a nice lengthy blog to round out our trip to Canada. I saved it wanting to go back and add pictures, but after re-reading I decided not to post it. It just didn't reflect my happy self. In short, it was depressing! I guess I was suffering from lack of vitamin D. So I will tell ya all about the fun times we had in another blog.

So far we have travelled 1020 miles toward home! Today we are heading to Moab, UT and Arches National Park which is our half way point. We have crossed Washington State, Oregon, Idaho and into new territory: Utah.

Check! Utah off the list of states we've never been to. As you can imagine there are MANY churches here. One in every neighborhood and that is no exaggeration. But so far everyone seems very 'normal'. I haven't seen any "Big Love" type families and no one that just walked off "the compound". We walked the streets of Salt Lake City in the horrendous heat. We checked out Temple Square and played in the Snowflake Fountain from the 2002 Winter Olympics. After sweating buckets we cooled off at PF Changs where we stuffed ourselves to the gills!

YouTube Video

Here are some highlights from the drive so far:

The Blue Mountains in Oregon

Enormous dandelions in Oregon

Three Island Crossing on the Oregon Trail - Idaho

Wicked gorge in Twin Falls, ID

Sandstorm we passed through on the desolate Idaho-Utah border.

View from our 16th floor room at the Hilton in Salt Lake City.

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Location:E State St,Lehi,United States

Friday, June 10, 2011

The 12 Days of Canada...

Has it really been 12 days already? Time doesn't stand still rushes by like a passing freight train. There are moments of stillness, but truthfully there are not enough of those for me.

Sometimes you are handed a set of circumstances that cause a chain reaction. This is the only way I can sum up the time since I arrived here. My niece, quite unfortunately, came down with the flu the day after we arrived. The day after the girls had already played and shared a bed. You can see where I am going with thing we know it is passing from person to person within my whole family (Paul got out just in time) and every day someone new has been falling ill. We are still dropping like flies! My sister in law is the current victim. I really wish the flu was more selective. Perhaps it could not infect those on vacation? Just a suggestion. So now that we are starting to come out of our flu-fog, we have been having much more fun.

And then there's Paul. He jetted back to Houston less than 48 hours after crossing the border. He was lucky enough to miss out on the flu, but not so lucky to arrive home to a house without A/C. LOVELY! He actually toughed it out for a few days. When the technician from John Moore took a look at it and told him it had to be replaced he was wise enough to get a second opinion. I nearly keeled over when he told me the quote for a replacement was $4700! The second opinion (should have been our first call) was a trusted family friend and for a reasonable price replaced the fan and it was good to go. I am so glad for Paul's sake, not to mention you cant sell a house without A/C. He was somehow sleeping in the 89 degree temperature!

Before we got sick, we went to Grandma and Grandads (or Gigi and Poppa depending on the generation) and saw my cousin Ariel's new goats. I am curious to see what becomes of these goats. Dairy or meat? Either way they are cute and being treated with all the love and tenderness a goat needs. They seem to think Ariel is their mother. They are frantic when she is out of sight and race to her when she calls them in her high melodic voice, "goats, goats, goats." Juliane and Sydney enjoyed chasing them about the yard and watching them eat...well everything. I wonder if they thought the pine trees or Grandma's flowers tasted better? We saw the horses too, of course. These gentle beasts are magnificent. I don't know of another word that fits better. Juliane tried to give Taliesin some love, but he is not his friendly self because of his injured hoof. I have spent so many years of my life on this property. My Aunt Barb and Uncle Bob have owned it as long as I can remember. When we moved back to Langley when I was 7 years old we lived in the red A-frame house that faces the front pasture. It was here that I met my long time friend, Diana. Her parents still own the acreage next door. That's a story I will have to dedicate a future blog to. You can imagine us though, climbing the fence to get to each others house. There was a time too, right before we moved to Costa Rica that we lived in the trailer in the back 40. Nowadays, my grandparents live in the back by the barn and gardens and my Aunt and Uncle along with my cousin, Ariel, live in the beautifully redesigned A-frame in the front. The house resembles little of the home it was to me in my childhood, but it is nostalgic nevertheless. When I come back there year after year the land has a comfortable feel. It is a part of me in so many ways, like my fingerprints. I don't think about it when I am not there, but when I am, I remember its beauty and the memories that come flooding into my mind are all wonderful and pure. If you have a moment, you should really check out my Aunt and Uncle's website on their small farm:

We took all the kids last weekend for a "photo-shoot" along the banks of the Vedder Slough. It turned out to be a lovely spot for a tea party and the pictures (to be posted soon) turned out beautifully. I took them myself this time around in an effort to save some money and use some of my artistic talents.

There have been a few days on the dairy farm. This is one thing I absolutely love and miss about BC. You can get dairy products right from the farm! Actually you can get so much directly from the source. You want berries? Go pick them right from the vine. Need some corn? There's a stand around the corner. I know my Houston friends appreciate fresh local produce and there is nothing fresher than picking it up at the farm! When we go, we pick up milk and cheese, pet the calves in the barn and eat a huge scoop of ice cream.

We bought wonderful handmade soaps in historic Clayburn Village from the delightful lady who makes them in her shop. Her soap operation, aptly named Clayburn Comforts, is located in the back of her lovely renovated cottage. I could have bought the whole store, and I just might if I have the chance to go back.

Last Saturday we enjoyed a fantastic stroll through the AbbotsfordMmm! After browsing the many offerings (hanging baskets that were breathtaking!) we headed up to Tracy Cakes for lunch. This place is AWESOME! I highly recommend it. The food was to die for and especially the scrumptious mini cupcakes. I had a Neapolitan with vanilla cake topped with chocolate and strawberry butter cream frosting. SO GOOD!

Yesterday we went to Centennial Beach in Boundary Bay Provincial Park. It is quite a drive, but the park was well worth it. The playground was very cool and the beach was endless. I love it when the tide is out. You can just walk and walk for miles before you reach the water. The girls really loved dashing around and through the tide pools. I was surprised they got so wet! It was only 65 degrees! The whole reason to go was to meet up with my long lost friend, Heather. Man!! We haven't seen each other since elementary school. So crazy! It's so incredible to see how the child of your youth has grown into a sweet woman and mother. I had a great time catching up and reminiscing about the "good old Glenwood Elementary" days. I must say, Heather looks so much the same as she did back in 1988!

Today, I was on my own. My mom and dad had things going on at work and so it was me, Sydney, Juliane and Amelia. As it always goes when you want to accomplish something, there are a million interruptions. That was how this blog was written today. I think I stopped and started it a thousand times. It was written from the coffee table, kitchen island, lawn chair and bed. And now that I am finished I am too tired to look at what I said! :)