Sunday, June 29, 2014

Alberta or Bust

Where else can you be greeted at the airport by members of the professional football and hockey teams!

Twice a year, I journey to Alberta to spend time with friends and family. I love the wide open vistas of landscape and especially the country roads and farms. While my heart belongs to Alaska, now and then I stray to my country roots... 

With such a large family, there are always surprises and news. This time, I find out that my youngest brother Jonathan and his wife Janelle are expecting their first baby; after looking for years, my brother Wade finally finds a Toyota van, adding it to his collection of vehicles; my sister Anne and her husband Mark and their three kids Jack, Elle and Max are settled into their beautiful, new house on a hill overlooking the countryside; my sister Susie puts on yet another fantastic spread, this time to celebrate #2 son Stephen's graduation, my nephew Taylor is farming his way across Alberta, owning and leasing land and equipment and fulfilling his childhood dream, niece Lynnette is building her own log house, making me oh so jealous, with a deadline of August to complete it before she heads back to school, nephew Stephen graduates high school, rocking it out in a killer suit and tie and is enjoying free time with friends, mud bogging it up, niece Ceri has added more horses to her 'ranch', is the horse wrangler at the Bible camp and trains horses for neighbors... And, responsible for all this fun and chaos is Mom who is enjoying retired life, shopping for a new'er car, reconnecting with childhood friends and traveling!

A video I shot of waking in the wee morning hours at the farm... ah, the quiet.

Sometimes I sit back and just take in this blessing of family and friends that I have been gifted with. This doesn't last long, and is usually followed by garage sales, bowling, movie nights, parades, and this year, dragon boating, and more... Still, I'm left with a heart filled with gratitude!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Farewell to an Alaskan Icon or An Ode to our Toyo Stoves

This past week, our conversion from stove oil to natural gas was completed, leaving us with vents in the floors and a thermostat to adjust the heat. The goal is for our house to be more energy efficient.

While it is nice to have the house be a more regulated temperature, with all the rooms a similar temperature, rather than the front room a sauna and the back room a freezer, I miss the Toyos.

Toyo stoves are an Alaskan icon.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Leaving my Heart on Cape Breton Island

I am completely smitten with these maritime provinces and am sad to leave, but grateful for the time I've had, the places I've explored and especially, the people I've met along the way. From the winding roads and the beckoning beaches to the fishing villages and rustic hiking trails to the barns, lighthouses, lupine, sunsets, art galleries and live music to each and every local who took time from their day to talk with me and share their time, couch, food, advice, thoughts, views, insight and most of all, the wonderful stories of what it is like to live out east. My heart remains transfixed by the open landscape that wooed me little by little, day by day...