Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas letter 2015

Here is a link to this year's Christmas Letter.  Couldn't figure out how to upload a PDF to this blog.

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Merry Christmas, everyone!!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Dreams are funny things....

Yesterday, June 1, was mom's birthday, so I guess it was fitting that I dreamt about mom last night.
The dream started of silly enough (as most dreams do) with me trying to get to the chiropractor's office which had moved to a totally strange place and turned out to be closed when I got there.  Then mom showed up and got in the car with me (with her the driver) and said she wanted to go somewhere special.
We arrived at a location that had some tall, office like buildings and nice landscaping.  One building had what looked like a large bay window showing bookshelves with all sorts of interesting books.  Mom said this was the place, opened up the window (dreams - what can you expect!) and we both managed to squeeze into the small space.  The window closed and the whole thing went down like an elevator.
When it stopped, it opened out to a huge 2-story high room lined with ceiling high bookshelves filled with books of all sizes and descriptions, and lots of people of all ages wandering about.  Mom went off in one direction (probably looking for craft books), and I in another.
I wandered through several rooms, ending up with two that I distinctly remember.
The second to last room was barely lit at all, had a bunch of (mostly) kids in it, and they were about to watch a movie.  In this room the shelves were full, but mostly with all sorts, sizes and colours of bottles.  I sat down to see what the movie would be.  Turned out to be one of the Harry Potter movies.  Having seen all of them... I got up and left through a curtain, behind which was another door to the last room.
Here were the expected books again, but also some commotion, as there was a small dog chasing a cat, and several kids and adults running after both the dog and cat.  I patted the dog, which distracted it long enough for the cat to get away, then looked around to see if  I could find a book to read.
Instead of a book, I noticed a strange object jutting out from one of the walls.  The object was covered in a cloth that sort of looked like a Persian rug, but was very thin like silk.  The object looked remarkably like the snout of something.....  I went over to it to examine it and stroked the cloth (it was very pretty, but now that I'm awake, of course, I can't remember the exact design) and the 'snout' moved!
It turned out it was the nose of a dragon that was behind the wall, and he could only just get his nose into the room.  I awoke around that point, in the middle of giving the dragon a very good nose-rub (and he was purring).
Of course, when I was properly awake, Cleo (my puss) was beside my pillow, purring, so I guess that's where that part of the dream came from.
All in all, a very nice dream - thanks mom, for leading me to a friendly dragon!

Going for Walks

Every so often, I'll go along with Antoon and Wim when they walk the dogs.   Here are a few pictures from a few of those walks....

Nearing the end of a walk, Charlotte takes a break in the shade while the rest of us (me, mostly) catches up.

Wim, picking up a stick to throw for the dogs, who are both watching intently.

Charlotte - posing nicely for the camera.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Snow Storm - Jan 4-5-6, 2015!

Wow - what a lot of snow!  Kamloops is just centimetres away from breaking the record for most snowfall in a single event... and the snow is still falling!

It started Sunday, and was quite heavy at times.  Going to work wasn't too bad, but it had only gotten started at that point.  By 7pm Sunday night, when my shift was over and I had to drive home again, it was a different story!

Driving home was a little nerve-wracking.  The plows had hardly done anything yet, so the snow was thick on the road.  The posted speed limit is 100 kmh, but my top speed was 60.  Didn't dare go any faster.  Luckily, the plows hadn't blocked off Lilley Road to badly, there was one lane's worth relatively open for me to get down my road and then into the driveway.  When I got home I called Sylvia to let her know I was home safe (she worked the same schedule as myself on Sunday), only to find that even though she lived just a few blocks from work, she had to drive back to the store, park there, and WALK home.  The snow plows had plowed the highway (#24) and blocked her street off with a waist high mound of the stuff!

Today I worked at the Star/Journal, and on my way to work I took the following pictures:

My car is the one half under the trees.  You can see it has some more snow on it that fell during the night.  Wim's car is the one buried.  The path just to the left of Wim's car is the path he just shoveled for me to get out to the road by (in order to get to the Star/Journal office).

There's Wim, digging away. (He is such a nice brother!)

That's my left hand - held out at about waist height - even with the top of the berm of snow that the snow plow left all around the block where the office is... it was tricky getting in!

Armour Mountain... it looks a little hazy because it was still snowing as I was taking these pictures.

The big tree in the middle is hiding most of our house... you can just see it poking out on the right of the tree.
Tomorrow, Wim and Antoon have both promised to help make sure I can get out of the driveway in time to get to work.  My shift starts at 8:30am, so, given the road conditions, I need to allow for twice the usual time to get to work.  So instead of leaving just after 8am (it normally takes 20 minutes), I want to leave about 7:30am.  (It's supposed to stop snowing some time tomorrow.)  Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work I'll go.........

Drive safely, everyone!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Day (2014)

Well, Christmas Day was lots of fun.  Sylvia and Gary came over to have Christmas Dinner with us.  Here is a picture of the table loaded with good food:

in the centre - brown rice with raisins and apples, then clockwise around from the bright orange dish on the left... yams, caramelled carrots, roasted cauliflower, gravy, roast duck (yum!), a tropical fruit medley, waffles, and roasted squash.

Before dinner, Wim and I walked the dogs, Kidu and Charlotte:

Kidu is the one closest to the camera.

Then, while Antoon finished baking waffles...

the rest of us played some Ramsey's Rage and Aggravation, and snacked on a cheese and meat tray (and almost spoiled our supper... but oh it was yummy!).

Puss (Cleo) had a good day too, sitting on Wim's lap briefly (Sylvia got a photo of that with her cellphone), and even letting Gary pet her!

We ended the evening with taking a group photo.  Here it is, Wim, Antoon and I, standing, with Sylvia and Gary sitting.

Friday, December 19, 2014

2015 - New Year's Resolution

Well, I think I'm going to set myself a resolution.  I did a similar one three years ago and did pretty well at it.
The resolution:
To make one greeting card every day (or seven per week).

Three years ago when I tried this, I actually managed to almost average that for the year (I fell just a bit short, mostly towards the end of the year).

I will post pictures of some of the cards on my other blog - the one for cards.

I even bought a calendar (one of the block ones that has a page for every day) that is all Mary Engelbert (I hope I spelt that right... the calendar is upstairs and I'm downstairs at the moment).  I will use each one on a card!

AND - if any of you readers are into making cards - and if you make a similar resolution, then I'll trade 1 card a week (or 4 per month) with you, if you like!  I'd send the card(s) without writing in them, so that you can use them yourself to send to other people. - - - What do you think?

Post if you are interested in doing this. (Oh, and if you don't think I have your address, please email it to me.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Letter 2014

December 10, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful year. 

For us, the past year has been quite busy.  In no particular order… our niece Liz got married to her boyfriend Sam.  At the time, they were living in Winlaw, BC.  They have just recently moved from there to Slocan, BC.  Merina (Liz’s mom) decided she liked the area so much, that she moved there, too, and is currently living with them. 

In March, I was laid off from the Star/Journal and by early April had landed a job as clerk at Jim’s Food Market in Little Fort.  Little Fort is a 20 minute drive north of Barriere.  The only real store there (that is open year round), other than the odd restaurant, is Jim’s – it is a grocery store, Subway restaurant, and Husky gas station all rolled into one.  I now have earned my propane ticket (which means I am allowed to pump propane for customers), and have also been trained as bakery cook, besides doing the front till work.  It is lots of fun and the other workers there are great to work with.

I like the bakery work, except for that the shift is always from 6:30am to 2:30pm (and I am NOT an early riser by nature!!).  I also like working the till, as there I get to meet the people more, and there are a wide variety of things to do (restocking the shelves, cleaning, pumping propane, etc.), not to mention that it means having some afternoon or closing shifts (which means I can sleep in in the mornings!). 

Sylvia decided that she needed a change, and consequently changed not only her job, but also her location, moving from Merritt, BC to Clearwater, BC and then to Little Fort.  Her new job… at Jim’s Food Market with me!! Yay!  She is enjoying it here, and has gotten a cat named Cheetoh. 

Speaking of cats, my cat, Cleo, is getting old.  She turned 18 in September.  Considering, she is still quite spry, going up and down the stairs every day (several times, usually).  But she isn’t as good a mouser as she once was (understandably, considering her age).  We have a few mice in the house at the moment… it happens occasionally, around winter some years.  She hears them, and gets interested, nosing around in the kitchen for a bit (which is where they tend to make the most noise), but hasn’t managed to catch any of them yet.  I managed to catch a few myself… one had fallen into the kitchen sink and was too small to jump out (though it tried).  I took a jar and put it into the sink, it ran into the jar, I covered the opening with a paper towel and took it outside, far from the house, and let it go.  The other one I managed to catch it with a small box and also let it go outside, well away from the house.  That second one was a bigger one, and required some chasing across the counter before catching it in the box.  Mice are cute, but I don’t really want them loose in the house!

Antoon has settled in pretty well here with us in Barriere.  He is very involved with the local Food Bank, and has been making lunches for the Elementary School students.  He has also done some tutoring at the high school.  His two dogs, Kidu and Charlotte are doing well, too.  Antoon has a part time job now, at Sam’s Pizza and Rib House, delivery pizzas and helping out in the kitchen when things are busy.

Wim is doing well and is still delivering newspapers.  He has his own two routes, and helps another lady deliver to another three routes (she doesn’t have a car, so he drives her for her routes).

I started a new group here in Barriere… the Barriere Writer’s Group.  Once a month anyone interested in writing can meet at the library to discuss what they are writing, or to get encouragement or help from each other.  A variety of people have been showing up, and sometimes the discussions are quite interesting.  The other group that I started a while ago, is the Genealogy Group.  That group also meets once a month, also at the library, and is quite fun.  I love researching names, especially when I’m able to find info for someone.

In August, Wim, Sylvia, Antoon and I went to Wells Gray Park to visit the site where Mom and Dad’s ashes were spread.  The Helmcken Falls are so beautiful!

Robert and Loretta still live in Vancouver.  Robert has a new job, and they are enjoying having him bring home a steady paycheque once again.  For Christmas, they decided to go to Hawaii for about a week.

So, all in all, the Houben clan here in BC are doing quite well, and wish all our friends and relatives all the best for the holidays!

Sincerely, and with lots of love and warm wishes, Margaret

Merry Christmas to all and a very happy and healthy New Year!
Fröhliche Weihnachten und Ein Glückliches Neues Jahr!
Prettige Kerstdagen en een gelukkig Nieuwe Jaar!