• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Saturday, July 30, 2011


When I was a young girl I lived on a small farm.
Do you remember visiting it and climbing the big hill?

You liked the flowers that grew in the grass.

I liked to climb that hill.
I loved the flowers.

I loved to look down into the valley and out across it and the river and hills to the far away mountains. Tractors and combines just over the river looked like tiny toys.  To ride over there on our horses took 2 or 3 hours and I knew that to get to the mountains we had to drive all day in a car - they were so far away that the brown rocks appeared blue - but I could see those mountains when I stood on that hill behind our house.

The world is so big and yet so small too.

Many flowers grow in the sparse grass even though the only water comes from rain.

One of my favorite flowers is the Alberta Rose.
It blooms and makes red 'rose hips' (those look like big berries) all year long - in the spring and the summer and until the snow freezes it (and then the red rose-hips are pretty in the white snow) .

Rose pink peeks out of the grass and tall tangled thickets of rose briers where ever and when ever there is a little bit of water. Pink even pops up in the gravel along the edge of roads, where the dirt and rocks are so dry and so hard to grow that only one or two flowers grow on tiny bushes that are just a few inches tall.

Papa-pa took some pictures for me when we went to visit my mom and dad last week. We stopped the car and he sat on the ground by the road.

We did not have smooth paved highways by our farm.  The roads were covered in gravel to help them to not be muddy and some were just tracks in the dirt.  Lots of the roads had grass growing in the middle where the tires of the cars do not go.

I loved to walk along the road (or climb the hill) and see the roses.  There were bright pink roses, light pink roses, and very rarely a white one.

a unusual white wild rose that Papa happened on

They smell so good!  Sometimes I would pick some petals and just hold them so I could inhale that wonderful smell again and again. I would pinch them (to make the smell stronger) and hold them to my nose as I walked.  There were so many that I could just get more anytime the ones I had were too bruised and worn out.

When you were just tiny you would stop to ooh and aah over flowers.  You were not even a year old and would toddle along holding my finger and stop to love up the flowers.

You are very strong and tough.  We try to teach you to be gentle. When you are so strong that can be very difficult. We taught you that if you squeezed flowers too hard they would not be pretty anymore.

Mikkel, always remember to try to be gentle.  Be gentle to everyone, all the time.

We love you very much.
Happy Birthday.

Friday, July 15, 2011

NINETEEN and 100

Happy BIRTH DAY Damian!

Welcome to our family.
We are so very glad you are here safely.

And already (within minutes) can see how clever you are. *giggle* And how proud daddy is too.

Papa says these toes are just like his mother's toes. 

You are our 14th grandson and 19th grandchild.
My father tells me that you are his 100th great grandchild.

Woohoo! You have a LOT of cousins!!!

But you are the newest.
And your father is my son.

When he arrived he was covered all over with  fine dark hair.  The doctor said that indicates that he was a little bit past term.  Your dad says you have hairy ears - likely that means you are born right when you should be. Don't worry - that 'fur' all falls off soon.


Monday, July 11, 2011


Erin - I will never be 'old enough'.

I have kind of always thought 'the best is yet to come'... that maybe in 5 years (or 10) I will see something more fabulous, do something greater or perhaps learn something phenomenal - and it is always true!!! We live  in an incredible and marvelous time - and you will learn and see and do things I can't even begin to imagine.

Like my dad - he still is just amazed by Skype and talking face to face with people far away but at age 2 your cousin Cynthia expected every phone to be able to 'Skype'. He (and Grandma) still have a hard time assimilating that all this new stuff even exists!

My great Granny Bohne lived past 105.
 [click link and then scroll to see her]
So I am just a bit past half way ...
Do you think I can make 110?

Maybe I should start planning ....

Do I need to change the way I am, the way I live? the things I do? or don't? my food? or my activities? in any way? ... so I can be healthy and happy now or at that wonderful age ... or any other age I look forward to before then?

How long will you live?

Try to imagine yourself at twice your age ... 34 ...
What will you be like when you are 34 years of age?
Now think ... at 68 ... lol
That is only 4 times the age you are now!

When you were 4 could you imagine 8?
When you were 8 could you imagine 16?

Think of all the wonderful stuff you can do now you are past 16.  Wow - you are just starting out - but you already have lived so much, and learned so much and done so many things ...

Some things we do, we like and want more of.
Some things we wish we could erase -
or have a 'do-over' .

Some things we want
(that are wonderful so we want them now )
and we try to get, or to have them, too soon -
before the best time.

I always eat too many of my peas when they are still flat -
they are good BUT they are better a bit fuller and rounded out.

Some things are best if we wait to the right time for them.

Peaches are most delicious when they ripen on the tree and we can pluck them and 'drink' them in a few slurps. They are worth waiting for.

Every 17 year old feels 'old enough' -
and really IS 'old enough' for almost anything.
YOU could handle it Erin - you know you could!

But will some things be better - later?

You are old enough to plan, think things through and make GOOD choices - to not be pushed around by passing fads and fancies or to just impetuously act on 'a wing and a prayer'.

Welcome to being past 16.

In my mind I am still 17 and maybe next year I will grow up ... in other words, even though you are still learning and growing all the time you are you, and part of you will always be the person you are now.

Happy Birthday.
I miss you - XOXO
And I love you so much.
'Dama Farfaraway

Sunday, July 10, 2011


when your dad was 4 he loved to make faces

You get to be five!

And you get to share your birthday with your big brother Cody. I have a big brother too.  When I was 5 years old he was 9 years old.  His name is Rex. His birthday is 1 month and 1 day before mine.  I always wished I could share a birthday with someone.

 My next brother's name is Gene.  He gets to share a birthday with our mom.  Then my next brother is Randy and then Tim. I almost got to share Tim's birthday. He is one of my very special brothers. Our birthdays are only 1 year and 3 days apart in the same month.

Three of five younger brothers and sisters are in this picture. How would you like to have 5 little brothers and sisters? It is a lot of fun! My youngest brother, Scott, was a baby when I was 5 years old.

Can you guess which kid is me? I have 4 older brothers!

Can you count to five?
How many times?
Maybe you and Cody can count things together.

Happy Birthday Benson!

"This [day] is such a special one;
It's birthday time for you.
We'd really like to celebrate
Your happy day with you ..."

Since we are here ...

And you are there ...

Imagine we are singing to you ...

A bit off key, loud and full of joy
that you are such a terrific boy.

your dad about age 4

You remind us of your mother -
except you look a lot like your dad too -
especially all those bouncy golden curls!
When he was 5 he had long curls too.
In the summer time they got golden highlights.
He loved to go outside.
He wanted to play outside all day every day
even when it was winter time.

your dad about age 5 or 6

You have a cousin that turned 5 this year.  If you want to see more pictures of me when I was five years old look at her birthday blog here. She has 3 big brothers like you do.  And I think I made you some baby shoes when you were newborn too. Maybe your mommy can show them to you.

So we wish you a
'zipp-a-dee-ay' birthday
with a 'heigh-dee-ho' song
you can hear right HERE - just click
and it will sing to you for us.

Love Papa-pa and Grandma Far, Far Away

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Soon you will be 9 years old.
That is 4 more than Benson -
and on the same day too!

It can be fun to share a birthday.
I hope you have a happy day.
Can you tell me 9 things you like to do with your brother?

You are lucky too because you are old enough
to do things that a 5 year old cannot do.
I know you can.
How many things can you tell me that you can do that you couldn't do when you were 5? Can you tell me 9 things?

If you make 9 piles of 9 things,
(I suggest jelly beans or maybe chocolate chips
but your mom and dad may suggest rocks or dirty socks)
how many things do you have all together?

If you use jelly beans then you can eat them later.

guess what I am going to do with my 'buttered popcorn' jellybeans - hint 

That is how old my mother is this year!
Count out that many (but don't eat them all at once).
9X9 is a lot of jelly beans - maybe share them.

When you look at all those jelly beans imagine being alive that many years. You have lived 9 years.  To be as old as my mother you will need to live 9 years, 9 more times!

When I was 9 years old I had a 5 year old brother.
We do not share a birthday but we had lots of fun together.
One of the things we liked to do was wade in puddles.
(His birthday was in April - spring was coming.
My birthday was 6 months later - winter was coming.)
We got in trouble lots for getting water INSIDE our gumboots.  We got in more trouble when we wore our big brothers (or dad's) big tall boots that came all the way to the top of our legs and got them wet inside. Some puddles were deep in the middle.

with my baby sister Bonnie when I was about 9 years old

I had 9 brothers and sisters! We liked to ride our pony. Her name was Honey. We also loved to go fishing.  I never could catch a fish but my brothers would let me eat some of theirs if I scaled their fish.  I like to eat fish. I also liked to untangle the fishing line when it got in knots. When they wanted their lines fixed I got to eat fish and didn't have to clean or scale them.

Happy 9th Birthday Cody!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I fell in love with Irises the day I first saw the small purple flowers hiding in some grass.

I don't have any 'in bloom' pictures like them  but Julie Tollefson (stranger to me) put up some photos this spring that look exactly like the few I now have in my garden.

An older empty home stood on the corner of some of the land my father owned.  Eventually he used the old house as a barn.  I was quite young and grass sometimes grew to my shoulders or taller.  Walking through it meant parting it and being careful to not catch my feet on the tough stalks and fall.

I have 4 older brothers. All the kids that lived in the valley we called home often played together - 'cops and robbers', 'cowboys and Indians' - or some other hiding chasing game of good guy vs bad guys. We also enjoyed hide and seek.

My legs were short and my young legs never could keep up. I heard them yell to 'come see' and saw them all stooped and looking in the grass at something but by the time I got there they were gone.

Careful searching (with the help of a kind brother) did not help me find the place 'of flowers' indicated by the older kids from afar with a vague wave of the hand in my general direction (in response to my cries). We finally gave up.

My brother and I played some other 'hide in the grass game' and then when we least expected to see them there they were - tiny purple flowers not much above the roots of the grass, on stems too short to pick and carry home.  I was delighted. I think I was the most pleased because they were tiny - just like me - I was always the littlest kid in any group of my age and often played with my brothers and kids like them that were a bit older.

bread tag 2cmx3cm

I am still delighted.
A few that are similar grow in my garden.
Some are only an inch or two tall.
They are my babies.
They are the smallest of my irises.
My mother gave me a start of them.

note the same bread tag on front leaf near center

My mother also gave me some medium sized purple irises.
They grow to about 8 inches tall and see truly huge -
compared to the tiny ones.
They live around the base of my apricot tree.
They are typical vigorous spreading irises.
I love them anyway.
They are getting crowded.
It is time to divide and conquer them -
but what do you do with a million new ones that I can't bear to throw out?

Do you want some?
Honest - they are always less than a foot tall,
even when they are in bloom -
and spread less quickly than the larger ones.

Next I have quite a few large Irises.

same tag about center clipped onto a leaf -
 these leaves at end of the season after blooms 

Bearded irises come in endless varieties and colors. They are very hardy and do tend to spread and meander away from where you plant them.  They are almost impossible to kill.  The most serious problem seems to be an affinity for grass.

Since they are so large spreading growth tends to become a problem quickly and they must be 'divided'.  (They are often well over 18" and I have a few that reach almost 3' when the stalks tower above the leaves during bloom times - and the sword shaped leaves are always a couple of feet tall.) I have given so many away that now I just throw them in the trash.  I can't keep up.

 I love all the colors I have ever seen.  I only have so much yard space - I look - oh and ah at yours (and catalogs and nurseries) - and walk away.  Some one has given me all of mine except one - I admit I had to buy the pale blue one that glistens like it is dusted in glitter.

I also admit I am seriously thinking about
a pleasantly pale pink variety - but where will I put it ...
sigh - maybe ...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Went for a short trip on Monday.
At lunch stopped at a grocery store deli for lunch.
We love the inexpensive Chinese food we get there.
(That day it wasn't great though.)

There were about 12 tables.
Lots of space for us and the 'no other persons' around.

We choose to sit at the middle of 3 small tables on one end -
 nope wait there were 4 - I can see that in the pictures I captured on my cell phone - taking pictures is such a great 'vent'.  A padded bench ran along the wall. It is much easier for me to sit on than a wooden chair.

We began to eat, realized we forgot a drink, and my husband went to get one. While he was gone an obvious grandma (anyone anywhere near my age most likely is a grandmother)  with 2 school age children arrived.  They stood looking over the ample space and choose to crowd into the corner tables beside me. I edged over enough one way to make room for both children to fit into the corner and eyed an empty table several away - I could not carry both our lunches so I waited for David to return.

I could see David at the till when a young man arrived and sat down on my other side. I was incredulous. I felt like a sardine.  Am I just paranoid and anti-social? Am I famous? NO to both questions but please help me understand why anyone would sit so tightly together.  Have they never heard of bubble space? Suddenly 'shrinking planet' seemed very real.

When David returned we moved several tables away and ate our lunch. At least now it didn't seem like we were at a family style dinner with strangers talking and eavesdropping. Grandma immediately commandeered the space we vacated - a chair for her purse and the table for bags and garbage. An employee attempted to move her cart from the aisle.  She loudly claimed it and insisted it stay.  At least we were not seated between her and the cart anymore but the young man was beside it.

No one else came while we were there.  Grandma and family ate with typical family antics, finished like hungry dogs at supper time and as she left, she flashed me a huge smile as if to say she was the nicest grandma in town and I should applaud!  I exerted my best self control and acknowledged her huge friendliness with a blink and slight nod - very slight! (NOTE: I did not scowl or make rude gestures.)

The young man talked/texted continuously. An older woman, a mother or likely a younger looking grandmother, briefly stopped to give him some instructions or some such thing (by his expression and body language) on her way out of the store with a cart of groceries and then later, just before we finished a young lady came to meet him and they left together - holding hands. (So glad I hadn't been able to eavesdrop on him.)

I suppose he really NEEDED to be able to watch the door she might arrive through - except mostly he just looked at his phone.  He certainly was not watching for the woman - she came from behind him and he was startled when she got his attention.  Perhaps he had a viable or at least understandable reason to park where he did. And I suppose he really might have needed his back to the wall - most young men feel most comfortable against a sturdy wall - lol.

Help me here, please - I just want to understand - WHY??
Why did they all feel the need to sit so closely packed together?
Why did WE all choose to sit on that wall?
We could have had the same view one table over.
There were 4 or 5 tables arranged along the other wall.
Understanding.  That is all I am still thinking about.

just before we leave - still empty except our bag and drinks
On second thought - I don't want to know.  Really.  Because then I would have to want to know why Grandma deliberately left behind 2 packages of ketchup on a table when they left.  I kid you not - she gathered up all their wrappers and then placed the ketchup back on the table.

Would you use ketchup left on a table in a deli?
Please don't answer - I DON'T want to know!

Monday, July 4, 2011


The birthday of the United States of America is celebrated July 4th.

 In 1776, 13 colonies in North America joined together to declare independence from all other governments and nations. The United States of America began a form of government that continues now, 235 years later.

This 'constitutional republic' is one of the world's first, if not the first, modern national government of this kind. Those living in the United States enjoy many freedoms and rights found in no other place.  

My deepest and most cherished beliefs, and  most of yours - though you may believe differently and cherish ideals I do not,
 are protected and allowed.

Each person is allowed "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".
This form of government derives it power from those it governs. 

I was born in Canada. 
I live in the United States of America.

I believe every person has a duty and obligation to actively participate in government.  Becoming an American citizen permits me this privilege.  Rights and privileges = duty and obligations.

"I pledge allegiance to ... liberty and justice for all"  

Friday, July 1, 2011


The Federal Dominion of Canada was formed 144 years ago today - 1 July 1867. Most people just call it CANADA

Three British colonies became four Canadian Provinces. There are now 10 provinces and 3 territories that form the world's 2nd largest country by area.

Canada is well known as one of the best places to live in the world. It was number one from 1994 through 2000 and remains consistently in the top ten.

My hometown is in one of those provinces, Alberta.
Alberta has some of the highest living standards in Canada.
It is an incredible place to live or to visit.

I am privileged and proud to be Canadian.