Tuesday, August 26, 2014

We DO Pick Our Friends

We've all heard the old adage “You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.” Well, luckily my family is a great one so I have no regrets there.
Friends are the family you choose - Jess C. Scott
Best buds in high school and Dad Westman
Reunion after 34 years
Friends come and go. Naturally, with the number of times I've re-located, I've lost touch with many. Generally, I don't miss most of them, but there are others with whom I feel regret that our lives went separate ways.

3 Musketeers from high school
Ruth, Bonnie and I
Barb Bester (Becker) from Elmwood in 1964
"Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Do't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend." - Albert Camus
Bruce Currie, Lucan in the 70's

Gail Pellow, met in 1983
 Facebook, although many grumble about its disadvantages and annoyances, is a great tool for me to find and keep in touch with my friends of the past. I have not been successful in finding all I want to find, but a few of the closest bff's at least. I may never see them again in person, but I can still remain associated as long as they'll let me.
Met Bob and Marian in 1976
Reunion at my 50th in 2004

The close friendships I've made in my life will simply carry on, should I bump into those wonderful people again today. Nothing more is expected than a good time chatting for an afternoon. We had many things in common then, chances are we will share them again.
Growing apart doesn't change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled. I'm glad for that. - Ally Condie

I have a strong belief that the special friendships I am making today, will follow me through my old age. I may not see them all on a regular basis, but we will remain connected. I also look forward to meeting many new people when we are retired and travelling on the road full time, apparently there is no end to the social life, if that is what you wish!

Derrick and Kathy
Colin, Charmaine, Selina, Samantha
Each friend brings uniqueness to my life. Some are the total opposite of me, some like a twin in how we think and what makes us laugh, some bring out the best in me, others even challenge the worst! All of my closest friends like me for who I am and don't try to change that. I feel the same about them. If I can't go somewhere with my bff when she asks or simply don't feel I want to, I can say so without any judgement on her part, no hurt feelings. That is what a true friend provides me. Honesty, comfort-ability and understanding.

George and Suzie, fellow bloggers, 2014
Brenda and I
"True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable." - David Tyson Gentry

You may find yourself here in the photos and you may not. It doesn't mean we aren't bosom buddies. Not everyone could be named, and perhaps I didn't have a picture of you to post. Anyway, I plan on keeping the circuit lines open so I can continue to add new acquaintances to my friends' list. If I don't know you and you are reading this, I hope to say "It's a pleasure!" one day down the road. It is possible, the Best is Yet to Come!

 And one lasting thought about friendship:
Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. - Oprah Winfrey

Let's not forget about my lifelong friend, he's my best friend, my right hand man, my side kick, my sweetheart, my comedian, my comfort zone, my heart...........he's Bill!

Take care, my friends and thanks for joining me for a read today.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Our Grandchildren

Since I mentioned 9 grandchildren in my last post, I thought I would write a bit about our Brady Bunch family and those special young'uns.
My children, all 'growed' up

Bill brought 4 girls into our relationship and I brought a daughter and son.

They lead such busy lives that it is hard to get them all in the same room at the same time so these pictures are a few years dated.
Bill's young ladies

Bridgette, my oldest, is following in my footsteps in the 'couples' department, sadly, with a couple of relationships gone sour.
Adorable in knitted vests Gr. Grandma made
The best thing is that she has given me 2 wonderful, handsome, smart, talented grandsons!
Bridgette and her boys

 Bridgette is the Operations Manager of Regency Fireplace Products in London. She is a very independent young lady and has bought herself a beautiful home in a small town west of London.

I think she should be a social director with the life she leads! Ha ha (she'll get a kick out of that)

Taylor, 19 yrs. old, 2014
Our charmer
Jake, 16 yrs. old, 2014
Our musician

Patrick, Chaela, Nate, 2013
My son, Patrick married Chaela and started their family in their early 30's so Nathan is quite a few years younger than my other two.

Garden helper, 2013, 3 yrs. old

Patrick is a countertop/cabinet/delivery man and installer for Rycor Products in London. I think they need to pay him more with all those titles!
Chaela is a Pharmaceudical Technician at the main hospital in our city.

Yvonne & Dennis
Bill's oldest, Yvonne has 4 boys, the youngest two are twins, almost enough for ice play! Yvonne works in a nursing home in Tavistock and Dennis is in agriculture sales/service.
Braeden, Connor, Carter, Zach
Our sport compliment
Charlotte & Cory

Chelsea and Olivia

 Charlotte, an EA for our school board, is the second oldest and so far has provided us with the only granddaughters of the bunch.
Cory works as a Financial Adjuster for London Life.

Krystal, 3rd oldest, is single and living and working at the Credit Union in a small town east of Stratford. She is also an independent young lady.

Jess, the youngest at 25, lives at home with her mother in London. She works in the before and after school program during the school season. Jess has always been quite active in the sport field, soccer, hockey and softball. I believe she still plays ball during the summer.

Jess, graduation in 2010

Bill and I are not into sports, dare I say AT ALL? so it is hard to express an interest beyond attending a few hockey games for the grandsons. We are happy they are all doing what it is they love to do since we are only going around once in this life.

That sums up the family as far as children and grandchildren. I didn't include their pets, since there is only one dog of any importance in our mind and he lives with us!

Thank you again for stopping in!

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Bit About Me

In my youth and even in my 20's, 30's & 40's I was a shy, timid person. I was a follower, usually trailing after my sisters Gayle and Donna and when they weren't available, my brother Bruce. I was #6 in the family lineup so gratefully accepted the hand-me-down clothes from the older girls and longed to be grown up just like them.
My family, I'm the short one in front

Living on the farm in Mt. Brydges
I had a wonderful home life, childhood, living on a farm for part of it and in small towns and villages for the latter part. Friends weren't just a hop, skip and jump away, they were country blocks over in some cases.

When we moved to Elmwood, On. in the early 1960's it was very exciting to be right next door to people. I didn't realize nor miss the things we were essentially giving up like privacy and peace and quiet. I was able to hop on my bike, go 'up town' by myself and pick up the mail  from the post office in the front of a family residence. I'd walk up to the counter and ask Mrs. Lamont, the postmaster, for "our mail, please". That was after we'd been there for a while and she knew who I was. Her daughter, Brenda, was one of my best friends so on a Saturday when Brenda had to work for a few hours, I was able to help sort mail. It was great fun!

To me, Mom raised the family with a stern voice, when she spoke I listened. I didn't argue or put up a fuss. She was the boss and I didn't want to get on her bad side. No, she never spanked me (unless I deserved it) but I'd heard stories from my sibs that she would threaten with the strap........yet I never heard that she'd used it.  According to them, I was spoiled anyway and didn't have to do anything so how could I get into trouble? Some benefits from being the 'baby' of the family, I guess.

Bruce Currie always had his camera at the ready
When I grew up and found myself interested in boys, boys, boys (and visa versa)  I tended to stretch the limits a bit. I would creep in 10 min. past curfew, oft' times through no fault of my own, only to find Mom waiting with a punishment of being grounded for two weeks! Yes, it was harsh and difficult to take when many of my friends were allowed up and out past midnight, but looking back it moulded me for who I am. So who am I to complain? I kinda like me!
Cool kids on the block! 1971 ish

Times had changed and having a teen-aged daughter in the 70's was no picnic, I'm sure. Because I was so inclined to listen and obey, mostly from fear of disappointing, I missed out on Woodstock. Can you believe it? My friend, Bruce Currie, had invited me to go along with a group of friends. I knew the answer before I even asked................and bottom line.........I was too shy. I wasn't very mature at 15 and wasn't about to sneak away for a weekend!
Surprise  party

When I turned 15, living in Lucan, Mom and my best friend, Rufus, held a surprise birthday party for me in our basement. Ruth was invited for supper and that was exciting enough. After dishes I was thrilled to discover 6 or 8 friends downstairs waiting for me! Sometimes being a good 'kid' pays off and my respect for my mom changed during those times.
Malcolm P/S 1964 (near Elmwood)
Back row, 3 from the left
Bruce, my brother, is middle row, second from right

Biddulph  P/S 1966/67 (near Lucan)
Middle row, 5 from the left
Bruce C and I
I was a 'good' girl in public school as well as high school. Although my grades in some subjects were barely passing, I made it through the Business courses to Gr. 12 at Medway H.S. in Arva. I was too shy to step out of the norm and join clubs, other than Folk Dance. I loved dancing and this was a real hoot! We even won an award! When I graduated in 1973 I began working that first summer for the Middlesex County School Board in Hyde Park.

When I discovered I was pregnant in 1974, before our marriage in April of '75, I had to man up (well, woman up) and face my parents. It wasn't so bad, we moved the wedding date up, informed my boss that I was moving out of London and "left the job in the city". Hey, they should write a song about that!

A family photo 1991
Our family photo 2012
The rest is history, I've lived in Hensall, Zurich, two children, broken marriage, moved back to the city, lived in Rodney back to London and so on and so forth. Now, happily settled in my life, I've worked at the Thames Valley D.S.B. for 31+ years, been married to my sweet husband, Bill for 17+ years and the proud grandma of 9 children between 19 and 4 1/2. (I'll post their pictures in another post. This one is about me me me!) I don't claim to be an ever-present Grandma, but I keep in touch as much as possible. They don't all live within an arms length but a pretty good stones throw if you have super powers. :)  We're all close, even without weekly visits.

And then there is Clemson, our 10 year old cockapoo.

He's our baby now.

We have dreams like everyone else, sometimes we reach beyond what seems possible, but sometimes things happen that bring those closer to reality sooner than we think. With less than 2 years to retirement (01.10.14 on the countdown) one of our dreams creeps closer by the day, by the hour.

I hope you don't mind me reminiscing a bit and talking about myself in this post. I'm happy that you stopped by today to meet some of the special people in my life.

Thanks for taking a peek in!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It's a Family Affair! (and some friends too!)

August 5, 2014

Every year Bill and I plan, without hesitation, to drive to my sister's piece of property with our fiver for the long weekend in August. As soon as we can get on the road, we are off! This year was no different and Bill and Clemson picked me up from work at 4:30 on Thursday hoping for an early arrival so we could enjoy some chat time with our hosts.

We were in contact with the couple during the drive and we all decided to meet at 7 pm at the Durham Riverside Fish and Chips restaurant for supper. A small little diner on the main drag by the river. Not only did we enjoy the great meal of deep fried basa and chips but we were also able to share in Donna and Gerry's 4th anniversary celebration.

The happy couple
By the time we were unloaded, from truck to trailer, it was time for the four of us to settle in around the campfire. We were the first to arrive and had the evening to ourselves.
Our setup on Designer Drive

 The next couple of days was a flurry of new arrivals and set ups. Some stayed in the cabins, some brought their tents and others brought their fifth wheel, truck camper and motor home. this year I believe I heard that the total guest count was 27. That's awesome!

Bridgette drives in with the usual Tadah!
Bridgette, Taylor, Jake and Emilie setup at the back
Wendy and Morgan share the Hilton
Our hosts permanent summer home
There is always room for more, the winding driveway around the pond being the only entry in and out of the Acreage. 

View across pond to trailer coming in

Gerry has done a fantastic job of trimming trees each year to enable those of us with bigger rigs to have an easy access.

Gerry pulling back on smaller trees so we can leave without a scratch

Emilie and Taylor in 2004
 The weekend is always a reunion of aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and cousins (1st, 2nd and 3rd!).
Emilie and Taylor in 2014

An old wooden door is our sign in each year
 Many things take place during this time together, and it can be summed up nicely by saying we do 'whatever we want'. Some walking along the path from the front of the 10 acres to the back, card games, horseshoe competition, bocce ball, guitar playing, swimming, biking, reading, crosswords, scrabble and a lot of sitting around telling tales.

Clemson takes a walk and checks to make sure I am coming
Friends Gwen and Mike take a stroll

Cousins take in a new game
Jake strolls and plays

The circle gang

Mom joined us for a couple of hours
Bridgette rests in the shade

Taylor takes oars to Emilie - her hero!
 2014 was the 10th anniversary of the Acreage camping reunion. Because their guests are always offering a donation of some sort to help pay for the extra hydro and water that we use on our 'lots', Donna and Gerry decided to ask for something new. "Bring us a birdhouse of your choosing, and we will hang them on the property. That will be something unique and useful and that is all that we want."

Personalized birdhouses, the 2014 payment for our stay.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about my weekend. Until next time.........thanks for peeking in!