Tag Archive | Aunty Becky

Reasons, Not Excuses

I totally did NOT realize that I had not posted a blog entry last night until well after I had gone to bed. It has been quite the weekend. My birthday is on Monday so I did attempt some pre birthday fun (attempt as weather interacted negatively to either cancel or alter plans) but even more so… I am sure that most of my readers are aware that I am originally from Canada, Alberta in fact… this has been a rough weekend for Southern Alberta. My brother James and his family (Holly and Jimmie) live in Calgary as do many of my Reinsch family relatives. Thankfully all in the higher portions of the city. Likewise my friends Esther, Kathy, Bianca… all safe and relatively dry. Starting late Thursday a flash flood warning went out for Calgary and area… It was much more extreme than expected (rain on the mountains facilitating melt). The city of High River is basically underwater as is Black Diamond I am told. Other towns have also been affected. 

Calgary has been hit hard. Downtown (which is where my brother works) is shut down, underwater and without power… Stampede grounds (Stampede is in 2 weeks) are also underwater… the zoo is looking at 2 weeks closure to fix the mess they are faced with, though there have been no animal losses. There has been 3 confirmed losses of life, thankfully there was some signs so people were able to start evacuating in time. BUT there is always the chance of a surge of water or a dam giving up. Add to that Medicine Hat (where my Aunty Becky and Uncle Lyle live) going under flood warning and it has been a round time all round in southern Alberta. 

It is very surreal to see locations we had previously considered renting in (before the big move here) now underwater… to realize that that could have been us! Not only do I feel very grateful that my family are safe, friends sound but I am equally aware that we really are where we need to be here in Minnesota. Although we too were under a flash flood and storm warning Friday night… my brother in law Joe and his family have downed branches and their neighbourhood has seen worse. Power has been off for AGES! 

If you are able to help HERE is a list of drop offs and ways to financially donate to help all the different people (and animals) who are in need after the flooding… Thanks to Huffington Post. Life is not going to go back to normal in these areas any time soon… again I am just thankful that for the most part everyone is ok… and saying a prayer that this is the end of the flooding and wonky weather! 

Picture thanks to Roman Sotelo

Picture thanks to Roman Sotelo (HERE is his Facebook page)

Adventuring on a Grand Scale

July 18-19

And here is where I come through on my promise… Wednesday did not only mark the celebration of my nephew’s birthday BUT it is also the beginning of our biggest adventure yet as a family. We are officially on our way south to Minnesota for a 2 year or so stint as permanent residents in the United States of America! Yup, you read that right, we have left the familiarity of Alberta for Ken’s home state of Minnesota. 

This is not a decision we came to lightly or with little thought but after another month of disappointment in the rental search (seriously HUGE places turning us down on the basis of it being “too small” for our family… yah right), a sudden contract issue (no fault of Ken’s or the supervisor but the world happens) and the feeling really that this is the direction we should take led to our finally making the move. The plan was swift to implement as it has been a backup plan since Ken first moved up here and we definitely didn’t tarry. Thus the run to the passport office, the garage sale and downsizing… all the clues were there right?

We started out for the states right from Drumheller after our final good byes at the party. The plan was to drive on through with naps when needed and did we ever! We made AMAZING time. And since we had the iPad that can pick up any and all free Wifi we did periodic check ins from every place we could via Facebook. A good thing as  well before the border our cell stopped working (payfor does not like changing areas of service). As my Aunty Becky joked – the kids must have figured that the drive down to Minnesota simply came down to a string of fast food restaurants! 

Some beautiful Alberta scenery

We did have one scare Wednesday night, a deer decided to attempt suicide using our van as the vehicle of choice. It actually was across the highway when we saw it and started to slow and then decided to turn back around and run AT us! Thankfully we got away with just a dent in our sliding door and a rather adrenaline pumped Kenny. 

Poor van

After Saskatchewan at night and Manitoba in the wee hours of the morning it was the border crossing. It was our simplest border crossing yet with next to no questions and only one car ahead of us! What a relief. I always feel anxiety at border crossings, I swear Ken eggs them on subconsciously. 

Saskatchewan rest stop

Note the van is PARKED

After that it was North Dakota with a hilariously WRONG Canadian bacon related sign…

What, so now we are all pirates??? eh???

A Minnesota rest stop all full of sun, heat and HUMIDITY

And then onto Minnesota and our end destination – Nana and Baba’s and our next two years in sight. We were welcomed by Nana and Baba and our niece Gabriella and nephew Zachary…

Gabriella and Trinity

So starts a brand new page in our life… Minnesota and all the ups and downs that go with it. Note the sad lack of slurpees… but I WILL survive!!! And to end this epic trip… a few of our location marking pictures…

Sunset in Saskatchewan

My last slurpee from Macs in Winnipeg…

Our first meal in the states… Arby’s for lunch

And So the Comic Con Experience Begins

Now we get into the belated birthday present for ME! This trip is actually my 32nd birthday present from Ken. (yup 33 in June this year!!) So it was something I was REALLY looking forward to.

With the kids fed breakfast and the van full up again we were on our way early in the morning to my brother’s house. Holly has healed up well enough to watch our boys as planned. As we had not seen her or Jimmie (or James for that matter) since last year it was rather exciting to be able to go and visit. It was such a relief that she came through her hospital experience so well. We had missed her mother (Gammmie) by a day or so as she had to head back to Texas. 

The drive was nice and uneventful though we had to stop at one of the smaller towns along the way to potty, oh and a McDonald’s to get water and use their free wi-fi to check for the directions into the city to my brother’s place. The kids did rather well considering how rarely we have traveled lately AND the van held enough that we didn’t have to worry about leaving things behind! 

A bit of a stretch at McDonalds

This of course is VERY important as like any trip we take as a family we ended up coming back with even MORE things than when we had left. (Thank you so much Holly for sending some of Jimmie’s outgrown clothes home with us! They are always appreciated)

One of the critters

So it was to drop off the boys that we went first. Holly was home alone as James was at work and Jimmie in school. But we got the boys there in time to walk with her to pick him up after lunch. And we still had time to meet the cats and visit with Holly. She was in great spirits. We did our usual talk with the boys about doing what Aunty Holly says and being helpful and then it was time for Ken, myself and the girls to head on to OUR home base for the weekend – Kathy’s. 

Seriously a cat filled weekend. Aunty Kathy has TWO cats just like Aunty Holly… two black and white cats. Holly’s are white and black (there is a difference!). Kathy’s cats were a little shy but by the end of the weekend we had won them over. This is VERY important as the girls and I are pet sitting in June for her! So this was a bit of a warm up for the girls and the kitties.

Unknown kitty

So we got everything into her house, cleaned everyone up and it was time to get into the van to go to the park and ride and then head on the bus (and a train) to get to comic con. It opened Friday at 3 and we made it soon after that point. With our pre-bought tickets there really was no wait. We were the first of our friends to get there! 

Busing it for the first time

I would swear the bus and train were her favourite part!

In line to get in!

It was not overly busy so we were able to get around easily and even let Echo stretch her legs. I was complimented constantly on how cute our girls are! They got bored here and there but we managed. There was tons to see and we tried to see as much as we could! That meant getting over to the webcomics I specifically wanted to meet.

Running free

Let’s start with the one I made a feltie for – Girls With Slingshots. I could not resist making a feltie based on one of her characters – McPedro. She loved it!!! And of course I had to buy the 3rd book she has out to go with the first two that Chris and Chris got for me last year! She is such a sweet woman!

McPedro

This picture is from Saturday when Kathy purchased some of her books. I will have to get the feltie picture off my other computer and post it at a later date!

And then there was another of my favourites – Devil’s Panties. Trinity and I picked out a pin from her booth. Another amazing woman. I love her comic and hope to next year (if she chooses to come up again) to get her books. 

Trinity helped me pick the pin

The big exciting stop was my gift for Ken. The creator of one of his favourite webcomics was doing sketches for donation and was completely open to stop by at… so I asked him to draw Ken’s favourite character from his comic Questionable Content… Hannelore! He had plenty of time to say hi and the drawing is a definite keepsake! I was so glad I could get Ken something right off that was VERY special! 

Questionable Content!!

Hanners.... though the paper is WHITE bad lighting

There were people in costume, all sorts of art and so much to see. And of course food to be had. We had pizza which was DIVINE and of course the fresh squeezed lemonade and Ken grabbed a fruit smoothy. I think we fed all 4 of us and Kathy for a rather decent amount and enjoyed every bit of it! 

Pre-pizza nap

NOMS

We meandered as much as we could with two girls who were quickly wearing out. There was some more spending done and some plans to come back to a few places. It was an adventure and then some and I loved every minute of it!

Enjoying the lunch break, the dress Trinity is wearing is the one Sharon gave her for her birthday

As we were leaving Karyn and Lauralee were in line to get in. So we had a moment of chatting and visiting with them in line. Karyn had a special present for the birthday girl and we made plans to meet up Saturday morning. I am told that not too long after that time Lauralee bought a rather amazing Steampunk inspired dragon lamp. I am waiting to see pictures!

Meeting up in line with Karyn and Lauralee... what you can't see is that Echo is out like a light at this point

We rode the train and bus back to the park and ride and then drove back to Kathy’s to regroup and plan our Saturday trip. The girls were worn out, we were surprised at how many hours we actually walked. It was AMAZING. 

Planning time

Saturday we were up early to have breakfast, pack up AGAIN and then motivate Ken out the door in time for the bus. On the weekend the buses only come once every 30 min instead of something like 12 min. Our timing was nearly perfect with meeting the bus and then catching the train. Then it was time to return to the con. 

Even getting there soon after the opening time (10 am) it was more crowded than the day before. Echo was rather unimpressed that she could not run around like she did the day before. But we had a plan for Saturday and went aisle by aisle down the vender’s area. There was so much to see… even MORE costumes and some shopping to be done! Oh and people to meet up with. We found Bianca (a friend from University) and eventually met up with Karyn and Lauralee. Sadly Ted and Sean drove up but could not make it in. They ended up over capacity and even Ken who went out (hours after we got there) to meet with the guys and wait in line with them could not make it back in. 

The time BEFORE Ken went out was fun though, we did some more shopping, talked to some more artists and even found a couple new webcomics to follow. Well, one I found yesterday. It is called Little Vampires. Holly mentioned the comic offhandedly before we left for Kathy’s Friday night and talked about a stuffed vampire she would LOVE to have. So… we actually ended up being the artist’s first sale as we bought a stuffy for Holly and she even signed one of her promotional postcards to Holly for us to give her! We figured that was a good gift for our lovely babysitter!

Our Little Vampires swag, the stuffy on the left is the same as Holly's

The other comic we found (and purchased her two books for) is by a Canadian artist who is also an engineer. It is called Wasted Talent. She was a great lady and we chatted with her for a while while she signed our books. 

Signed copies

I stopped by an artist’s stand who is from the same town my Aunty Becky lives in. She does henna tattoos and had something called Honey Hats. I had to pick one up, it is going to work marvellously when we travel and still look totally cute!

Then there was the adorable keychains I picked up at ANOTHER artist’s stand. 

My keychains

And the button I got for a certain Dr. Who fan (addict???).

BUTTON

My handmade glass bead necklace…

I love this piece

The hand painted chocolates we chowed down on…

Yup, that is Hello Kitty

Oh the list goes on and on and on! Of course soon after we found out Ken could NOT get back in we decided to finish the shopping and head out to meet the guys. The girls were exhausted and we really had bought everything we wanted. (or thought we did… Ken actually had to contact Karyn and link her something he was interested in to pick up when she went back on Sunday) 

It was a little complicated getting out. After all they had locked down the door to stop people coming in and once you left you could not come back in. So we wandered a bit to find the right door and get out to meet the boys. It was interesting to see the people in line waiting to maybe get in – some of them were in some rather interesting costumes. Anyway we got to the agreed on entrance (and trust me it was hard to figure that out… we lucked out, Lauralee’s cell was the only one that got enough bars to call out of the building!!) and Trinity was overjoyed to see Uncle Sean and Uncle Ted! 

Meeting up with the guys

We had to catch the train and then the bus again so we made plans to meet at the park and ride. We totally lucked out, got to the train stop and it showed up! And then only a 15-20 min wait for the bus in a nice sunny spot. Of course I had to do the tourist thing and take a picture of the largest building in the city (I think it is ongoing on the inside).

We met up at the park and ride with the guys and then headed to the nearest area with some restaurants for what we thought was going to be a lunch until we looked at the time and saw it was past 3 and would have to be a LATE lunch (that DID explain why we were all so drained and why I was practically starving!). We decided on Applebees!!!! Total yum, great waitress and Trinity was very happy with her desert – prettied up jell-o! 

Desert, note the pin!

After our VERY late lunch it was back to Kathy’s and then more visiting while we waited to be hungry for dinner. Karyn, Lauralee and Esther joined us as did Will (Kathy’s brother who lives with her). We all had a lot of fun, Trinity was spoiled for attention and Echo did the rounds. Back with her Uncle Sean she was one happy camper! 

Visiting with friends

We had homemade tacos for supper (LATE) supper and a late night of visiting before seeing everyone off. Ted and Sean were heading for home, Karyn and Lauralee to Esther’s and Esther out for a cultural event. That left us time to plan our Sunday out. We decided against going out for more con time… but that is another story!

Is everyone else aware of Nyan cat???

 If you are not familiar you can read about Nyan cat here.