Monthly Archives: December 2013

Lost- Part 2

Hallelujah!  I simply cannot say enough about how nice the people at the Winnipeg passport office were. I told them my sad story and explained about missing family stuff in Leamington and needing to get to Florida on time and the woman who served me was so patient and understanding. Of course I started crying in the middle of it all and she couldn’t have been more diplomatic and helpful.  “If we had your passport ready by noon would you leave immediately?” she asked.  “Absolutely, ” I said.  “We’ll try.” she replied. What a God-send she was! And I mean that literally. 

A big thank you to my friends Hans and Esther who promised to stay by their phones all morning to take the call to be my references. Thanks to my long-suffering husband Dave who acted as my guarantor, got up early to fuel up the car and drove long hours today to make up lost time. Thanks to my son who sent text messages assuring me things would turn out fine. 

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I should be writing this post from Minneapolis where we planned to have supper last night with friends who were also traveling east.  Instead I’m writing it from our condo in Winnipeg. Sunday morning we got up at 5:30 am and were in the car by 6:00 heading down Pembina Highway and out of the city.  “Check for your passport,” my husband Dave said.  It’s a tradition we learned from our favorite Hong Kong cab driver Alex who never set off for the airport till we had both shown him our passports. 

We did the obilgatory check as a formality but lo and behold my passport was not in  the zipped up section of my purse where I’d placed it a couple days ago to be sure I’d have it with me.  I searched all my bags. We stopped at a Tim Hortons, took my bags inside where the light was better and searched again. The passport was nowhere to be found. 

We headed home and checked everywhere in our condo. No passport.  I went back to, or phoned every place I’d been with my purse since placing the passport in it. No one had seen it. There was only one restaurant I’d been to that wasn’t open on Sunday. But I sent e-mails and Facebook messages to the manager after spending hours hunting for her name. No reply.  I went to the police station. No one had turned my passport in.  I must hasten to add that the officer who served me immediately upon my entering the downtown Winnipeg police station could not have been kinder, more sympathetic or helpful. She was great!

I printed up all the paperwork for a new passport application and filled it out yesterday. I went and took passport photos.  So this morning I’ll be at the passport office when it opens hoping I can convince them to speed up my application.  In some cases they will do 24 hour passports. If not we won’t be leaving for ten or twelve days till my new passport arrives and then we’ll be hard pressed to get to Florida on time to catch our flight to Jamaica where a tutoring job awaits us. Our visit to my husband’s family will need to be canceled or postponed. We’ll miss a New Year’s Eve event with family and some of my husband’s old friends and a New Year’s Day celebration with Dave’s cousins and aunts and uncles as well as a chance to visit with my  father-in-law just before his 93rd birthday. I feel really terrible about that. 

I have no idea what happened to my passport. How could it have fallen out of my purse without me noticing it? Did I absent mindedly put it somewhere else? I just don’t know. It’s a mystery. Thankfully I have an understanding husband, a father who listened patiently to my tale of woe on the phone and I am trying to remember that far worse things could have happened. 

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In the Bulb There is a Flower

This was one of the two hymns the congregation sang at my mother’s funeral. It was one she particularly loved and I thought it was very appropriate since she and my father spent so much time growing, maintaining and enjoying the beautiful flower gardens around their home. 

The Promise

by Natalie Sleeth

In the bulb there is a flower;
In the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise:
Butterflies will soon be free!

In the cold and snow of winter,
There’s a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season,
Something God alone can see.

There’s a song in every silence,
Seeking word and melody;
There’s a dawn in every darkness,
bringing hope to you and me.

From the past will come the future;
What it holds, a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season,
Something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning;
In our time, infinity.
In our doubt, there is believing;
In our life, eternity.

In our death, a resurrection;
At the last, a victory
Unrevealed until its season,
Something God alone can see.

Other posts about music at my Mom’s funeral…….

Lord You Have Come To the Lakeshore

God of Eve and God of Mary

Now Thank We All Our God

Let Me Call You Sweetheart

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Filed under Family, Music, Nature, Religion

Christmas Is Over

The tree is bare.

Stockings are taken down.

The high chair is empty. 

The playpen is empty. 

Lights are untangled and ready to put away. Card game scoresheets abandoned. Fridge full of leftovers.Gift bags empty. Presents gone from under the tree. Jigsaw puzzles packed up and ready to put away. Recycling bin full of gift wrap. Only two pair of boots instead of seven by the door. Beautiful tablecloth from Ten Thousand Villages on the table. It was a Christmas gift from my son and his family.

First breakfast smoothie made with hand held blender. Christmas gift from my other son and his wife. New bicycle waiting for its maiden voyage when the snow melts. It was a Christmas gift from my husband. Suitcases out ready to be packed for three months in a warmer climate. 

Christmas is over, but it was a good one. 

Other posts about Christmas………

Christmas Day in Hell

Christmas Eve- This Will Be

Christmas Stocking Crisis

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The Royal Albert Hotel on Christmas Day

royal albert hotel on christmas dayOn Christmas morning our family went for a walk in the Exchange District. The ice on the Royal Albert Hotel was beautiful. I took photos and then did some research about the hotel. Read about it on my Destination Winnipeg blog.

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A Christmas Day in Hell

visiting wai o tapu thermal fields new zealandWhen George Bernard Shaw visited the Wai -O- Tapu Thermal Fields in New Zealand in 1934 he said they reminded him of hell. In 2008 we spent Christmas day hiking at the Thermal Fields which had been highly recommended by our friends Hans and Chris Neufeld. wai o tapu hiking trail Hans had even sent us a lengthy excerpt from the journal he kept during their visit to New Zealand and his thought provoking comments and detailed descriptions guided us from one trail site to another. 

eruption of the lady knox geyser wai o tapu thermal fieldThe first thing we did was watch the explosion of the Lady Knox Geyser. Everyday at 10:15 a Wai- O – Tapu staff member puts a little soap powder in the geyser and it erupts. lady knox geyserApparently this first happened nearly a hundred years ago when some inmates from a nearby prison were sent to the pool around the geyser to do the prison laundry. The soap they added to the water caused the geyser to erupt and sent all the prisoners fleeing in terror

tetonic plates new zealandAs we hiked through the 18 sq. km park colorful signs explained the natural phenomena we were seeing. New Zealand is located right where two of the earth’s tectonic plates meet and they are constantly colliding with one another. thermal park new zealandThis causes all kinds of other-wordly-like scenes- steaming lakes, shooting geyers, bubbling mud pools, colorful waterfalls, sulphuric craters. 

checking the map wai o tapuDave was our hike navigator. He kept checking out the map to be sure we were still heading in the right direction. There were many lakes in the park of various colors. lake wai o tapuThe colors of the lakes and pools depended on the kinds of mineral elements they contained. oyster bay thermal fieldsDave looks out over Oyster Bay colored green by various ferrous salts and colloidal sulphur.

It was a hot sunny day and after several hours of hiking we decided it was time to leave for Napier. natural grasses new zealandI took a picture of these natural grasses before we left the park. I had seen them growing all over and thought they were lovely. After our visit to hell we drove to Grandvue Country Stay a bed and breakfast near Napier operated by Dianne and Keith Taylor.

napierDianne and Keith had run a vegetable and fruit farm for many years but retired to this lovely country property. We arrived on Christmas Day in the afternoon and were warmly welcomed and included in the Christmas family gathering. bed and breakfast hosts napierWe were introduced to Dianne and Keith’s children and grandchildren and got to sample all the wonderful Christmas baking people had brought. They even had a gift for us under the tree!

On Christmas Day in the evening Dave and I went for a drive to see the area and came upon the Hawkes Bay Golf Course. We got out of the car to take a look and there was a sign that said golfers were welcome to use the course even if no one was working in the pro shop. They had something they called an Honesty Box. The green fee prices were posted and they requested you put your money in an envelope, write your name on the envelope and stick it into the Honesty Box and then go off and enjoy your round of golf. We decided to golf nine holes. It was a beautiful evening and we had a nice round.

dave and me napier new zealandWe may have started our Christmas Day in a hellish place but we ended it in a lovely way. 

Other post about New Zealand………….

A Kiwi A Day

Retirement Advice in New Zealand

Taonga Treasures

The Breath of Life

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Filed under Holidays, Nature, New Zealand, Travel

Christmas Eve- This Will Be………

This will be the first Christmas of my life I will spend without my mother. For sixty years she played an important role in how I celebrated the holidays. 

My Mom listens intently while her oldest grandchild reads the Christmas story

My Mom listens intently while her oldest grandchild reads the Christmas story from the Bible

When I was a child she worked so hard at Christmas. Mom cooked a huge turkey dinner, baked cookies and Christmas cake, decorated the house and sewed new dresses for my sister and me.

My sister and I in dresses Mom sewed for Christmas. You can see the stockings are hung.

Me and my sister in dresses Mom sewed for Christmas. You can see the stockings are hung.

She played piano for the church choir concert, and organ for the Christmas Eve service. She helped us learn our parts for the Christmas program at church and rehearsed the songs we would sing or the piano piece we’d play at my paternal grandparents, where each grandchild had to give a little performance before getting their presents from our grandparents.

Me and my cousins performing for our grandparents

Me and my cousins performing for our grandparents

She made sure there were gifts for our stockings, gifts for us to give our cousins and grandparents and gifts for our teachers. She trimmed the tree.

Celebrating Christmas with Mom's family in Saskatchewan

Celebrating Christmas with my mother’s  family in Saskatchewan

She did all the laundry and packing for our biannual trips to Saskatchewan to spend Christmas with her family.

grandma plays for carol singingMom always played the piano for the carols we sang at our family gatherings and over the years she was joined by my brother’s violin, my brother-in-law’s cello, my son’s guitar, my nephew’s clarinet or my niece sitting down at the piano with her for a duet.

Mom on the piano with one grandson on clarinet and another on trombone

Mom playing the piano at Christmas with one grandson on clarinet and another on trombone

It will be strange to have Christmas without Mom who took such delight in the gathering of her family and made Christmas so memorable for all of us.

Christmas twenty years ago-Mom and Dad and grandchildren

Christmas twenty years ago-Mom and Dad with their  grandchildren

This will be the third Christmas that we will spend back in Canada after living abroad for six years.  We spent those Christmases in many different places.

Dave on a snowy Christmas Day in Germany

Dave on a snowy Christmas Day in Germany

One year we cruised a river in Germany stopping to visit all the Christmas markets. We stood outside a huge cathedral on Christmas Eve and listened to the bells play Silent Night. In 2004 our Christmas was spent in Phuket Thailand, where by a series of fortunate choices we escaped the tsunami that hit the region.

On the beach in Sydney for Christmas

On the beach in Sydney for Christmas

On two consecutive Christmases we went down under, once to New Zealand and the next year to Australia.  We spent one Christmas in Borneo enjoying tropical temperatures, snorkeling and hiking.  Although those holidays were exotic and enjoyable I missed being with our families for Christmas and I’m glad we will be together this year.

skating-on-the-red-riverThis will be the fortieth Christmas of my life that I will spend with my husband Dave. Together we’ve bought a tree, planned gifts for our children, gone shopping for holiday meals and attended numerous Christmas concerts and programs.  We’ve also planned the adventure we’ll embark on immediately after the Christmas season is over.  For the next few months my blog posts will originate from Ontario, Florida, Jamaica, Texas and Mexico.

Mom takes me on a carriage ride the first Christmas of my life

Mom takes me on a carriage ride the first Christmas of my life

This will be the sixtieth Christmas of my life. I’m looking forward to it.  Merry Christmas to all my blog readers. 

Other Christmas posts………

Make New Friends But Keep the Old

The Magi Got Me Into Trouble

Bits of Christmas

Only A Five Star Hotel for the Holy Family 


Filed under Childhood, Family, Holidays