March 23, 2016. I got to do something I never expected I would ever experience……….

I went dog sledding.

True, it was the tourist version, but still. How lucky we are to live near the Rockies, and have such an opportunity. I am also lucky to have friends to try all sorts of interesting things, and needed a fourth person.

We drove out to Canmore, where we got registered for the trip. Howling Dog Tours shares a spot in a pet store….. very appropriate.  They have lots of cute souvenirs, of course, but I restrained myself.  Guess I don’t need a toy dog when I have a real one back home.

Inside the store where we registered for our trip.

Inside the store where we registered for our trip.

Soon, we were in the van with an English couple from London, and their daughter.P1120564

High up into the mountains we went……. it took about half an hour to get to the staging areaP1120544

We were given a brief talk about the dogs.  They use both the classic Siberian Huskies – the fluffy ones that we associate with dog sledding, and also dogs that are a cross with Greyhounds. It sounds like a crazy mixture, but our driver told us that the greyhounds are actually the better pullers.

We were assigned our drivers.   Frankie got Lona settled in the sled, while I held the front of the tether line, and Frankie harnessed up the dogs.P1120524

They bring them this way to put them in two-wheel drive, and to keep the harness from pressing on the dogs throats……..P1120559

It looks cruel, but is really practical.  These dogs are strong, and it would be pretty hard to tell them where to go with all four paws on the ground.

The dogs were excited to get to work, and the noise was quite deafening.

Dogs jumping in excitement

Dogs jumping in excitement

And we were off –

view from the sled.

view from the sled.

Just after we got on the trail, there was a photographer  waiting to take our “memory shot”.  I got on the back just before, and rode the rails with Frankie for a while.IMG_1195

Later, I got back in the sled, and was able to talk to Frankie as we rode along.  He has been working there since last autumn, and really loves dogs.  A Canmore native, he longs to travel.  Both Lona and I encouraged him to get out and see the rest of the world.

The trip took about two hours all together.  We stopped at the turn-around spot for cocoa and the dogs got a bit of a rest.  P1120542

Here are Brad, Corliss and Brad’s Mom, Lona.

On the trail back – what a beautiful place in the Canadian Rockies.P1120548

Back at home base, the sleds are waiting the next lot of tourists.P1120557

So are the dogs.  You can see that they are not so excited now, but resting, and awaiting their treats.  I got to feed them the treats as Lonahad been told that the dogs might prefer her coat.  I also helped bring the bowls of chicken water for them.P1120562

It was a great adventure on a beautiful spring day in Alberta.




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Making Time

Time is a funny thing – intangible, and yet we are always referring to it.

We take time, we make time, we spend time, we lose time, we kill time, we run out of time …….. the list goes on.

It seems that for the past year and a half, I have been losing time – or wasting it. Without a clear focus, it is easy to do. Without a plan, it is easy to just coast along, and spend those precious minutes and hours doing things that don’t mean anything in the long run. It is as if we are waiting for some cataclysmic event that will put it all together for us, and then we will have a plan – have a focus.

We also take time for granted……. until something happens to make us realize that it is NOT endless, and we each have our own timeline. So many days and years to do whatever we are meant to do here on earth,

I should be saying “I” in all these sentences. I have been drifting, waiting for direction, and saying that it was because I didn’t have the space, or I was being tossed around by too many outside schedules………. in the end these are just excuses…… lies I have been telling myself.

I am making it a practice to “Make” time now, for the things I want to do and also those I need to do. I will make plans, instead of holding off in case something else needs to be done.  Really, that is the only way to get anything done. the accounting, the exercising, the sewing – each must have its own spot in the day, flexible, but not to be put off.

I want to accomplish something again – quilt the quilts that have been dancing around in my head but not turning into fabric and thread. I need to just begin, and if the idea doesn’t work out, then pick out the stitches and explore other methods.

I want to spend time each day, or at least a few times a week, writing here as well. I have really missed it. I have missed you.

Posted in Other thoughts and Crafts | 11 Comments

Of Perfumes and Gods

I have the honour of having some of my photos used in Aina Eris’s blog post about frankincense and the Omani perfume house, Amouage.

Aina has done some great research on the subject, and is a captivating writer.

I invite you to read her post, Of Perfumes and Gods. She writes in Spanish as well as English.
Aina is also publishing an eBook, “Nature Meets Culture’ Stories.  I am looking forward to its completion.


Posted in Into Eastern Russia | 2 Comments

Back in The Sewing Room

i have been away from my blog for quite a while.  So much has happened here, and while I keep thinking about writing, and am alway taking photos with this in mind, the fingers have not been connecting to the blog writing.  I guess that now is the best time to begin, so here goes.

I am on a mission to begin clearing up my list of UFO’s. To non-quilters, that translates as un-finished objects ( of the fabric kind). I when through my boxes and added them up…….. 55, not counting the one that I decided I will NEVER do, as I just don’t like it.

I also have quite a few Craftsy classes that have been waiting for me, and I am plunging into them as well. Worked through Anne Petersons Free Motion Quilting class, and now am on one with Kimmie Brunner on using rulers to create designs.  I had to play electrician on my Bailey and changed out the off- on switch for one that you hold on and it quits stitching as soon as you let go.  I was getting knots at my points, and now it is much better.  This is a bit of what I have been doing…….. Not perfect by a long shot, but after not using my quilting machine for two years, I’m a bit rusty. 

You can see the knots in it.  I’ve been working on its using circles and ovals as well, and am amazed at what you can do.

I did finish a table topper that was only 2 years old, which just needed quilting. 


I have been working on the Block of the Month that the Norwegian guild was doing, and have the block all made, including a jumbo paper-pieced medallion star. Now, I just have to figure out a layout.  The colours are red, blue and white, and all fabrics have snowflakes on them…….I was cold in Norway after 5 years in the Middle Eastern sun. 


One last one -almost the first paper-piecing I did……. A mystery in 2002. It was waiting a long time, but I finally got “around to it”. 


Time here has been busy, with yoga and tai chi classes, joining a mahjong group, and finding several different quilting circles to belong to. I have also bee lucky to have my son and granddaughter here most weekends since Christmas.

I promise to get busy sorting out my photos and begin showing you what an interesting place I have found myself in this time.  Hopefully, for a long time as well. 

Posted in Into Eastern Russia | 13 Comments

Repatriation – The Driving Question

Well, after being back in Canada for almost three months, I have come to the conclusion that all countries have their quirks and silly regulations.  Being overseas for almost 8 years, and butting our heads against numerous road blocks, I think we had developed a rose-coloured-glasses view of our home and native land.

Well, just so you know, it AIN’T SO!

It was no trouble renting a place to live, sorting out bank accounts, and even finding a job.  No problem renting a vehicle, getting used to actually understanding the people around you (most of the time). Not a hitch at all to re-activate our old health-care numbers. Nary a delay or question regarding clearing our goods through customs.

No – the big problem was driving – or rather the acquiring of licences and purchasing – or rather register – of vehicles.

Buying the truck was easy – have money, no problem.  But we couldn’t register it without a valid Alberta drivers licence……… and you can only have one if you live here, which is why we had to begin at square one.

Bring all the papers to the registry office – including our apartment lease to prove that we do live here.  OK – firstly, the photocopies of our Kuwaiti licences bear no weight at all – you need the physical card, which of course, we had relinquished in Oman. “We could get a letter of verification from the Department of Transportation in Kuwait – but we all know how long that would take – and then it would have to be signed by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait, and the Kuwait Embassy in Canada.  No – not an option.

Next problem – we need our Norwegian licences translated – and they don’t have anyone on their approved list for Norwegian.  Luckily, there is a Norwegian Consulate here in Calgary.  It only took two weeks to get the translations – while our shiny new paid-for truck languished at the dealer ship.

OK – now David is OK to swap his licences (Omani and Norwegian) for an Alberta one, as without counting the Kuwait experience, he still had less than a three-gap in accepted experience…… he has his licence…. and his truck.

I was not so lucky.  My Alberta licence expired a earlier, so I had to do both the written text, and the driving test as well.  We had done an extensive driving test in Norway which I enjoyed thoroughly, so I wasn’t worried about that, but did havea few twinges of being stymied by trick questions on the written knowledge test.

Boy – was I wrong.  The written test (done on a computer) was easy.  And the driving test consisted of being treated like a 16-year-old moron for half an hour.  I passed the test, and got my licence, but an still reeling from the demoralizing experience.

Non-the-less, we are here, and pretty well everything is now in place – and we are glad to be back near family again, in spite of Canada’s somewhat silly rules.

Posted in O Canada | 8 Comments

Here it comes….. Samhain 2014

Here it comes….. Samhain 2014.


Here is an article from a fellow blogger on the origins of Halloween…… some pretty interesting  information.


Hope you enjoy it.

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……is a  funny thing. I realized that at the football game last night.

After living overseas for almost 8 years, and only flying back for month-long holidays and a mad scramble to visit family and friends, I felt more like a citizen of the world. Canada was where I was born, and it definitely has many advantages over a lot of other countries, but… did I really want to live there?

I remember the first time I went overseas, during my university years.  I went to the UK with a choir, and as well as singing in several music festivals, we toured all over England, northern Wales, Scotland and even spent a couple of nights in Dublin.

Our first concert was in the small Welsh village of Hope, not far from Chester – and also very close to the festival town of Llangollen, where we competed.  Our conductor was Welsh, and he had taught in Hope.

To close our concert, we sang “O Canada” – and then the audience stood as one, and treated us to the national anthem of Wales. Shivers ran down our spines as we sang – they doubled when those proud Welsh thundered back in such amazing voice and harmony.  It was quite moving to sing our song in another land.

I also remember the choir breaking into song with “Something To Sing About” as we landed back in Canada on our return home.

So…. back to last night.  Flags waving, a stadium of over 30,000 football fans following the soloist in “O Canada”…….. we get half way through, and all of a sudden there are tears in my eyes, and my throat is too choked up with emotion to sing the rest.

Yes – I am Canadian – proud to be, and happy to be back in my native land.

Posted in O Canada, Travels | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments