Tuesday, November 27, 2007

November Notes

November has somehow slipped by -

I've talked in earlier blogs about getting a craft room set up. Well we've been busy cleaning up the basement and sorting out all the stuff left in our basement when we moved the office to the shop. Of course that involved sorting out other stuff to make a place for this stuff!! As a result, we got alot of clean up done. Several truckloads went to the dump, a truck load went to the new office and the rest was sorted and assigned a new spot in the basement.

I am so grateful - this has been along time in coming and it means so much to me to have Harv dedicate his precious time to helping me on this project. He had me pick some tile for the floor last week and he brought home an in - floor heating system which he is going to start installing this week. Our goal is to at least have the floor done by Christmas. I'd like to have the walls and ceilings done as well but we'll see how it goes. Needless to say, I'm very excited to see it started.

Some time in October, my friend Jan and I spent an afteroon browsing at Michaels, and we came across some neat little things in the $1.00 bin. Jan said, "These would make great party favours. Let's have a party for the girls."

So that's what we did this past Thursday night. We called it a "Girls' Night Out' and invited 18 of our friends to join us for dinner at our house. We would have invited more but our dining room can only comfortably seat 14. Thirteen girls were able to come and we had such a nice evening. What a blessing to have so many that we can call our very good friends.

Jan and I set the table with white tablecloth, red hurricane lamps and poinsettias. It looked so pretty. Dinner started with a salad of mixed greens, green gapes, cranberries, feta and pine nuts; followed by Teriyaki Chicken, rosemary potatoes and a veggie platter of green beans, roasted red peppers and julienned carrots. For dessert we served chocolate mousse in dark chocolate cups.
We sat around the table with our coffee and tea for a long time after dinner talking about Christmas- past gifts - great gifts and not so great ones (this involved some very funny stories), Christmas traditions and especially memorable Christmas experiences.

It was a relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable evening made that way by the warm friendships we share and by our bond in Christ.

I am ever grateful to God for these wonderful friends He has brought into my life.

This past weekend Tim and Dulci and the children came from Seattle to see us. It was the Amercian Thanksgiving so after celebrating with Dulci's family they drove up Friday afternoon and stayed until Sunday morning.

It was nice to spend time with them. We've all been busy and not been together for a while. It is always so much fun with our grandchildren. Nate and Ella are growing up so fast - Ella is learning so many words and Harv and I are absolutely smitten when she comes running to us for a hug. Nathaniel has the vocabulary of a 6 year old and talks and talks. He is endlessly curious and every response begins with "Why?" His conversation is never boring and he delights us with his unique comments.
We took them over to Rick's friends' place to see the puppy that used to be ours and the kittens at Uncle Rick and Aunt Adele's. We played in the hot tub and read stories, baked buns and played with trucks, and did lots of cuddling. We are very blessed as grandparents to have our grandchildren come so often. The credit goes to their parents who often give up other things to bring them to Nana and PopPop's.
Well winter has officially arrived with the first snowfall last night. I wanted to take a picture of the trees last night - every little branch had a covering of snow but Harv had taken the memory stick to the office to download the pictures. I was ready for bed and didn't feel like going out in the cold so it didn't happen. It was very pretty. By morning the rain had started and the magic was gone.

When we left the house this morning, we saw that that little bit of snow was just enough to bring the dead branch of our big Maple tree down. We've been planning to take that branch down for some time as it has been shedding bits of bark and moss and branches. We were surprised that the big wind last week had no effect on it but this little bit of wet snow did the trick. Now we only have to pick up the pieces.

Our ladies Bible Study at church is going very well. We are doing a Beth Moore study called "Believing God". I am so impressed with the commitment the ladies have to the study. There is alot of homework involved and everyone is making an effort to keep up with it. The discussion times are so meaningful as well and it is wonderful the way everyone is willing to share what God is revealing to them each week. This past weeks' lesson includes a study on how God remembers us. In Isaiah 49 He says "... I will not forget you. See I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands." We learned that when God remembers us, He always acts on His remembrance. We sometimes want to think that God has forgotten us, or does not hear our prayers but we can be assured that He never forgets us - we are always before Him and He acts on His 'moment by moment' remembrance of us.


I can hardly believe the month is almost over. It's been very busy business-wise with a number of large projects coming through. It is good to see Harv's hard work result in purchase orders. There are alot more jobs on the horizon which is very exciting for Klassen Specialty Hydraulics.

I am so thankful to God for the way He has provided for us - work, play, family and friends.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The deed is done

I did a dastardly deed yesterday and gave away our puppy. Poor Harv. He is away this week and couldn't even say good bye.

Harv left for northern Alberta on Wednesday and since then I have been saying "NO Copper!", "No nipping", "no jumping up on people", "no chewing shoes, electrical cords and hoses", "Come here Copper", "Go away Copper," cleaning up after Copper, checking out where Copper is and walking Copper.
On top of all that, I've had to be away from home the better part of at least 2 of those days, and needed to spend the rest of the week inside working in the house and office. Guilt was consuming me because I didn't have the time, the energy or the desire to spend with with a puppy who wanted nothing more than to play with me.

Harv wanted to keep him but I reminded my dearest husband, that I am a grandmother now, not a mom to toddlers and I just can't do this puppy thing again.
Plus, realistically, it just ain't gonna work. We love to travel - we do at least one motorcycle trip and numerous trips with the camper each summer. We go south and/or take a vacation each winter and go on business trips numerous times the rest of the year. We don't ever intend to take a dog with us so how can it work? Harv was sad but graciously understood and agreed - however his one condition to giving the dog away was that we can take him back for at least a day when the grandkids come. (That is my only regret - that the grandchildren would have loved him.)

Copper's new owners are fine with that. We gave him to Rick and Adele's friends who had fallen in love with him when they saw him right after Harv brought him home. They are very excited to have him - in fact they came for him the same day I told them they could have him.
I know puppy will be really happy there as his new owners are home all day and he'll have lots of attention and lots of space to play.

Now it's quiet in the house, the garage stays cleaned up and we can once again leave shoes by the back door. And I am very grateful for an understanding and compassionate husband who gave up his own druthers for me.
And that is the end of the Saga!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rainy Day Ramblings

It is gray outside, a steady rain is falling and the tree farm next door is one huge puddle-ridden muddy field. I can see it from the office windows and I feel so sorry for the men working in those conditions. It makes me very thankful to be sitting up here where it is warm and dry. I do love the sound of the rain on the metal roof though.

Our puppy is sprawled out on a blanket on the floor between Harv's desk and mine. We decided to name him Copper and so far we are mostly enjoying him. Oh yes - he is alot of work. You should have seen the garage floor when I got home from my scrapbooking weekend. He had got a hold of a cardboard box which he has been tearing apart, there were several of Harv's grease rags strewn about and bits and pieces of leaves and sticks he'd dragged in from the back lawn. But those brown, soulful eyes look up at you and you have to forgive him.
Mostly, he's been pretty good. Although he did get into the house without Harv seeing him on Thursday and was alone inside for a good half hour. When Harv found him later he was innocently laying on the kitchen floor. However there was a chewed through telephone cord in the living room as evidence that he didn't lay there the whole time.

I spent the weekend with 19 other dedicated scrapbookers up at Stillwood Camp above Cultus Lake. We had 4 wonderful days of working on our pictures and making cards and spending time with friends. There were a couple of new girls there this weekend and we enjoyed getting to know them. I got 17 scrapbook pages completed and made a number of cards. Now I need to get down to work and get 2 ABC scrapbboks done for my 2 three-year-old grandboys. They are meant to be their Christmas presents so I've got to get going!

When I got back home after the weekend Harv took me out to the shop to show me what he'd been working on. What a wonderful man! He got one of the drawer cabinets built for my scrapbook room.
When we moved the office from the basement to the shop, he suggested we make the old office space into a craft room for me. I wasn't about to argue with that! So I've been scheming and measuring and drawing up plans like mad to figure out how to make the most efficient use of the space. We went to IKEA and scoped out cupboards, storage solutions and shelving and Harv had all kinds of great ideas including offers to custom build a few things. I think I have it pretty well planned now.
I've not been expecting it to be done anytime soon but now that Harv's shown me the drawers he made I'm thinking it might happen sooner than later. No maybe not - I do know better than to get my hopes too high. But I am pleased that he's excited about it with me. I'll try to take before, during and after pictures once we do get going.
I can hardly wait to have enough space to organize everything so that I don't have to haul out and put away everytime I want to work on something. A weekend like this past one just whets my appetite!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Never say never

Well... we've done it again. What we said we weren't going to do for a long time yet. Yes, it would be nice to have one again, but no we don't need one now, we're away too often, it's too much fuss and bother and we are fine without one. BUT my softhearted husband gave in to a pair of brown, puppydog eyes and we are now the owners (maybe) of a cute, not so little puppy. He is part golden retriever and part black lab( dogs that two of our friends own) - he is a gorgeous sandy colour and soft as thistledown and yes, he has those deep dark puppydog eyes. He has huge paws and wide shoulders which indicate to us the potential of a large dog. We're still looking for a name. Maybe someone out there has a suggestion.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fall Footnotes

Fall is definitely here. We travelled to Edmonton leaving on Sept.17th, and then went on to Saskatchewan getting back home on the 25th. As we drove through the rockies and the prairies evidence of the coming season was everywhere. The trees were turning golden and shedding their leaves with every breeze. The mountains had a fresh dusting of snow and the air was crisp and clear. Travelling through Alberta and Saskatchewan, we saw huge combines devouring the golden fields as the farmers gathered in their harvest. Everywhere we went we heard the honking of geese flying in formation overhead. We saw snow geese looking like a covering of snow on the blue, blue waters of the numerous lakes and sloughs. The skies were amazing with ladders of clouds descending to the horizon. Mornings demanded a warm jacket and a hot drink.

Now that we are back home, it is evident that Fall has taken up residence here as well. My plants on the patio look have lost their brightness and look cold. Our maple trees are distributing their curled up leaves all over the lawn and I need a jacket and, more often than not, an umbrella to walk from the house to the office. the forcast this week is pretty gloomy - rain, rain and, oh yes, more rain.

We were in Edmonton for the Oil Sands trade show. Trade shows are alot of work - deciding which units to display, what configuration the booth should take, what graphics and signage are needed and which brochures to bring. Then everything has to be packed into crates and bins and loaded on to our trailer. Setting up the booth takes the better part of a day and taking it down when it is over, takes almost as much time. However we feel it is well worth the effort because of the contacts we make. Ultimately we really only need to sell one system to make a trade show pay. This trade show resulted in better contacts than usual so we are very pleased.

After packing everything up and reloading the trailer, Harv and I headed further east to Dave and Chris' to see them and the grandboys. The house they bought is small and very old and in need of some TLC. But they have already made it into their home and are working hard to improve it even more. The boys are thriving! They love the freedom of living in a small town. They can ride their bikes around the block without Mom or Dad accompanying them and every destination in town is within walking or bike riding distance. Daddy rides his bike to work and is home for lunch everyday and Mommy and Kyle can walk Evan to school. There's a library, the church, a grocery store, a gas station, hardware store, insurance office - everything they need all within a few blocks. Harv and I played with the boys and helped out with a few projects while we were there and then after going to school with Evan to see his classroom on Monday morning we headed home.

Now it's time to get back into the swing of things. Care Group, Ladies Bible Study, office work, entertaining, yard work and the like. Summer's over and it's time to get oraganized and back into a semblance of routine.

I'm praying that I can also return to a regular time of Bible study and prayer. Why is it so difficult to maintain momentum in this area? My prayer is that I would once again experience that intense desire and passion for time alone with Him. If I were to graph this area of my life, there would be so many peaks and valleys. I don't understand it - the benefits and joys that come with a daily quiet time are huge - so why is it so difficult to maintain? I am ever grateful to God for His love, and forbearance with me - my God is so faithful even when I'm not!
Praise His Name!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Prize winner!

This is a $400. salmon! Harv went fishing a few weeks ago in the ocean at Bella Bella and brought home this salmon as well as 5 0r 6 more. It weighed in at 26 lb. and netted Harv the prize for both the biggest fish caught as well as the largest salmon caught. We have had a couple of BBQ's in the past week and still have lots of salmon in the freezer. My favourite recipe for salmon came from my sister-in-law and can be done in the oven or on the BBQ.

Maple Dijon Salmon
3 Tbsp. Maple Syrup
3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup shelled and chopped pistachios
Salmon fillet

Place salmon, skin side down on parchment paper or foil (spray foil with oil). Mix Maple syrup and Dijon Mustard together and spread over salmon fillet. Sprinkle with pistachios and bake in oven at 350 degrees or on BBQ until fish is done. It should flake easily with a fork but not be too dry. Depending on the thickness of the fish, this will take about 20 minutes. Lift the salmon off of the skin and place on serving plate.

These are a couple of the wonderful pictures Harv took while fishing.

What a beautiful world we live in!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Some MiddleAged Musings

I had a friend add me to her Facebook "Friend List" this week. I've been reluctant to get involved in Facebook and I'm not sure why. Maybe it is because I don't usually jump on bandwagons. I need to be persuaded that they are worthwhile and something I really want to do. I did put my name on facebook and on my highschool's list this past weekend but that's as far as I've gone. No picture, no profile, no "friends" list. In fact I really don't know how to go about it all and so far I'm quite happy with not knowing.
Even this blogging thing - I love the opportunity to talk about what's happening in our life and what I think about issues etc. but I haven't even given this blogsite to more than a few family members and maybe a friend or two. I keep having this suspicion that it is all too accessible to those nasties out there who want to steal identities and find out where all the cute babies live. A little extreme? I don't know. I know that if I was a young mom today, I 'd be really careful about how much information to post and where it is posted.
I mean, would you put all your personal information on a poster and nail it to every hydro pole in your province?
It is tempting though to tell all via the internet. I'm a gabber by nature and my kids tell me I'm always giving too much information about everything. Okay - so who am I to question this whole thing? I'm a prime example of not walking the talk!

However, that being said, I do love to read my daughter's blog - I enjoy seeing the different aspects of her personality that are revealed via this new technology. I'm seeing new things about her daily. Many of her postings show a giftedness of expression that I didn't know she had and personality traits that have been hidden to me until now. I am very proud of her.
I have also been very touched and blessed by some of her friends' blogs. There are alot of very gifted young women out there who are not afraid to be up front about who they are and what they believe in. Way to go ! - all you who embrace the new with courage and style.

I don't know yet where my place is in this brave new world so I'd better stop being sceptical about it or I could be eating crow in the future.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Party's over

Wasn't that a Party!!
After all the planning and the last two weeks of trying to get everything ready on time (definately the most frantic), the long planned for and anticipated 40th reunion for the class of 1967 is over. And what a party it was.
Harv had invited anyone who wanted to park their RV or tent on our property and told everyone else to consider the "Klassen KOA" to be party central. We had the first trailer arrive on Thursday and by the weekend there were, I think about 5 or 6 more. Other classmates started dropping by even earlier in the week to check the place out and to see if anyone had arrived yet. Friday night we had a great visit over a campfire in the evening and Friday and
Saturday we had oodles of help setting up tables and decorating. There was a Texas Scramble Saturday afternoon and a "Meet and Greet" Saturday night at a golf course owned by one of Harv's classmates and did those SSS grads ever enjoy the meeting and greeting! There were even a couple of teachers who came, much to the delight of their former students.
Sunday, there was a highly successful river rafting in the morning, a teeball game in the afternoon and the party was to start at 5:30 at our shop. Many started arriving before 3 o'clock. Our good friends, Thorlief and Kjersti (Red House Catering) had lamb and beef roasting on the BBQ which sent wonderful aromas wafting down the driveway and by the time they put out the starters, they had a dedicated fan club.
There were snowpeas with meatballs, cheese crisps, gravalax on home made rye and mountains of prawns - and that was just the start! These were followed by lamb roasted with rosemary, perfectly roasted beef and salmon in a tarragon sauce accompanied by 4 salads and fresh corn on the cob. Dessert was homemade blackberry and apple pies and cheesecake. Absolutely fabulous!
We had the starters outside and then the dinner at round tables inside the shop which was decorated in a 50's rock and roll theme The DJ was terrific and had everyone on the dance floor. It was a happening place!
All through the evening it was evident that this was the best reunion ever. Harv and I were told over and over again what a terrific venue we had for the reunion and many not so subtle hints that the next one should take place here again.
We invited whoever was still around the next morning to come for breakfast and had 50 takers. What a great bunch of people. So willing to pitch in - by the time breakfast was over, the entire place was cleaned up - all the decorations down, all the bottles, cans and garbage collected and all the rental tables and chairs etc. stacked on trailers and ready to be returned. Harv and I were left with only a few things to take back to the house.
We were tired but exhilerated that it had all gone so well. Harv said he'd do it again in a heartbeat. With that kind of planning, organization and help, it was a joy to host this great bunch of grads.
As for me, I made a mulitude of new friends and that is always a good thing.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Yellowstone Motorcycle trip

We're back home. On July 6 Harv and I got on to our motorbike and drove to Vernon where we joined our friends, Don and Bev and their friends, Dave and Marg and set out on a two week motorcycle trip with Yellowstone National Park as our destination. What a grand trip - we walked throught the mining town of Old Sandon in BC and then headed to Waterton/Glacier International Peace Park (Waterton on the Canadian side and Glacier on the American side).
While there we hiked the Bear's Hump, drove up to Many Glacier where we had lunch overlooking some amazing scenery, and cruised the "Going to the Sun" highway (our third time over this highway and still as spectacular as ever).
In Yellowstone National Park we experienced a swim in the "Boiling River", hiked to the top of the Mammoth Terrace, saw Old Faithful (of course), numerous geysers and paint pots, herds of bison, elk and pronghorn and even a grizzly bear.
We experienced the Old West in the towns of Cody, Virginia City and Nevada City - taking in a rodeo, lots of history and an amazing array of artefacts from the Wild West days of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Hole in the Wall gang and numerous other outlaws. There were incredibly preserved towns -
Old Trail Village in Cody, Wyoming and Nevada City, Montana in particular. Walking through them you were convinced that the former residents had just stepped out for a moment. Amazing.
We rode over numerous mountain passes with elevations up to 10,967 ft and switch backs and hairpin curves and drop offs that got me very nervous. But the scenery was fabulous and you could see for miles and miles from the summits. Beartooth Pass on the Montana/Wyoming border was the highest elevation and so popular with Bikers that they sell t-shirts that boast " I survived the Beartooth Pass".
At Steptoe Butte we saw beautiful patchwork fields of grain, beans and grass. God has created a world of endless diversity and beauty and we are humbled by His greatness and so grateful to have the opportunity to see so much of it.
We arrived home The 19th of July just behind the rain. In the whole 13 days, we only had 5 minutes of rain while riding. We did experience an awe inspiring rain/windstorm while at Lolo Hotsprings Montana. Luckily it was from a dry and safe vantage point in a restaurant.
It was wonderful to spend time with old and new friends and we were grateful for all of you who prayed for our safety while we were gone. Thank you.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Monday, July 2

Chris and Dave and the boys left Tuesday evening at 6:30 and arived at their new home in "Es-cat-chew-juan" early Thursday morning. They were packed to the max - every tiny space was filled in the trailer and both vehicles. Kyle and Evan had their Etch-a-sketch books to entertain them (grandma's "something new for the journey" gift) and were very excited to finally be on their way. We moved the last item the day after they left - the piano which we were taking home - and hauled away a few last things to the Sally Ann. It was quite something to see the house empty and diminished by their leaving.

We spent yesterday and today on Long Island in Harrison Lake at our friends' cabin. The weather was lovely (finally!) and it was so relaxing and enjoyable to spend time hanging out with our friends. People came and went but we were 4 or 5 couples at any given time - we read, kayaked (I took an involuntary swim while trying to get into the kayak from the dock) did a little helping with a room they were adding on, ate great meals and had stimulating conversation. It was so beautiful sitting on the deck overlooking the lake - incredibly quiet and peaceful. Harv and I even got to spend the night on Reg's new boat as there were more people than beds. We were the only ones who weren't afraid of the rocking boat so we had a lovely night out on the water.

Now it's back to getting as much done as possible in the next couple of days as we are leaving for a 2 week holiday on Friday. We are hosting Harv's 40th high school reunion here on the long weekend in August and would like to get a number of things done before we leave so that we're not panicing when we get back. We do a motorbike trip with friends from Vernon each summer and this year's trip will take us to Yellowstone Nat'l Park. Our friend Don does all the planning and all we do is go along and enjoy ourselves. He does a great job and we always have a fun and relaxing holiday with them. We will be 3 bikes traveling together this time and we're really looking forward to it.

I was hoping to post a few pictures but they are still in the camera. Maybe later. I'm not too confident downloading pictures yet. Hopefully these attempts at blogging will teach this old dog a few new tricks!

Friday, June 22, 2007

I Can do This

I've been insipred by my daughter and her friends to start this blog. I am not very computer literate - that is I can do my office work on it and type but the set-up, the layout, the design business is all Greek to me. Give me paper, pencil, brush or even a stamp or two and I am empowered to come up with something great but this intimidates me and until I learn the tools of the blog, this is going to be pretty basic.

I've named this blog Kaleidoscopes because lately it feels and looks that way around here. A Myriad of colours and patterns spinning and constantly making new patterns. Each time I think life has settled into a pattern or routine, something occurs to send it spinning again.

We've had alot of events and changes here at the Klassen household and more on the way. Where it will all end - or if it will - I certainly can't predict at this point.

Dave and Chris and Evan and Kyle are moving this week. Dave arrived back in BC yesterday and they will pack up the rest of the household - lock, stock and kid's bikes and be on their way to their new home in Waldheim, SK by the middle of this week. We will sure miss them all. We've missed Dave keenly in the office here and although we support them in their decision and fully agree and understand their reasons for moving, we still regret it. Life certainly will be quieter here without (almost) 5 year old Evan and 3 year old Kyle. We will be back to intermittant visits and marveling at how much they have grown between visits. There were alot of things we'd hoped to do while they were living here which we somehow never had a chance to do. However we are grateful for the many fun times we have had and for the opportunity to be a daily part of our grandboys' lives.

We had a very fun day with Chris and the boys last weekend when she surprised us with a trip on the skytrain to watch the dragonboats in Vancouver for Father's Day. I'll try to attach some pictures.

There is alot to do in the next 2 weeks - mostly on the yard in preparation for Harv's 40th high school reunion on the first weekend in August which will be held in our yard and shop. Also Harv wants to pour a cement pad in front of the shop before then and then do a general clean up so that it is ready for the dinner dance. To complicate matters, we have a motorcylce trip planned with friends for the middle two weeks in July. So we are going to have to get everything ready before that.

Well enough for this posting. I am still learning and hope to show you all some progress in the coming weeks. Thanks to Chris for helping me get this far.