Monday, August 27, 2007

Min følselsdag (that's Danish for birthday)

So, I was very birthday-blessed this year, celebrating not once but SIX times!

First, Friday night, Brent's parents took us out for supper to East Side Mario's, along with my brother Karl, whose birthday was four days prior to mine.

Second, Sunday afternoon, my parents and brothers, along with Jorgen's girlfriend Molly, came down to Calgary and we went to Peter's Drive-in and then had cake here (that Karl and Brent and I made from raspberries .

Third, Sunday night, Becky and Eric came over for cake and a movie.

Fourth, Monday night (my actual birthday), Brent made me a fancy candle-lit dinner of salmon, asparagus, penne and white wine bought at the Wine Market by the Farmer's Market.

Fifth, Tuesday, Trevor and Rachel came down and we drove to Lake Louise for a hike and tea and to Banff for supper. (See previous post).

Sixth, Friday, Bec and Eric and Brent and I took a picnic supper to Prince's Island Park to see a production of "As you Like It" courtesy of Shakespeare in the Park, a professional acting company from Mount Royal College.

Pretty blessed, hey? My favourite thing about birthdays is when people important to me remember and send their wishes. For instance, within an hour of my being awake on Monday, I'd heard from two of my very good friends, Heather and Nicole, as well as my brother Jorgen and of course my husband. And these on top of all the celebration previously mentioned!

Hurray for birthdays and hurray for the love of friends!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Three cups of tea (and more)

In this blog entry from last November, I posted about a book called Three Cups of Tea. From it I learned that in Afghani culture, the occasion of a third tea visit, a third cup of tea, signifies the flourishing of a long-lasting friendship.

Rachel and I have shared many more than three cups of tea over the years. Hot ice tea in the mountains on hiking trips; London Fogs while planning wedding details; Earl Grey at school with water borrowed from the cafeteria--to name just a few.

It's been a lot harder to drink tea together since she and Trev have been in Korea for the past year (see their fabulous blog) but yesterday we had another chance to do so. You may remember this picture where we shared tea with them in absentia.

Well, two days before they had to fly back to Seoul, Rach and Trev drove up and we went together to Lake Louise to visit the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse--for tea, of course, and for a visit. We had an absolutely lovely time with them and miss them already.

To top it all off, Rachel gave me a set of Korean tea china. How neat is that!

Monday, August 20, 2007

We recently developed some pictures to be used in some new picture frames, and realised how many neat pictures we've taken over the past two years, so thought we'd share a few.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I Sing the Mighty Power

Why am I a Christian? Because I cannot deny the presence of an all-creating, all-knowing, all-powerful God in the world and in my life and strongly feel the need to live my life accordingly.

A eighteenth century hymn by Isaac Watts sums it up best for me today:

I sing the mighty power of God
that made the mountains rise,
that spread the flowing seas abroad,
and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained
the sun to rule the day;
the moon shines full at God's command,
and all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord
who filled the earth with food,
who formed the creatures through the word,
and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how thy wonders are displayed
wherever I turn my eye,
if I survey the ground I tread,
or gaze upon the sky.

There's not a plant or flower below,
but makes thy glories known.
and clouds arise and tempests blow,
by order from thy throne;
While all that borrows life from thee
is ever in thy care,
and everywhere that we can be,
Thou, God, art present there.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Nanton Centennial Days

Two weekends ago we drove down to Nanton to visit some friends who live in a lovely old mail-order home just outside of Nanton. We had some really good times visiting and enjoying the area...if you've never been to Southern Alberta, it has a beauty all of its own (as illustrated by John Wort Hannam's "Church of the Long Grass" see here for song clip)

The fireworks were paid for by donations from the community--they raised over 20 000 dollars for the event--and were put on a relative of Rachel's--who also happens to be a world class pyrotechnician (is that what they call fireworks guys?). Here are some pictures of the display. It was all done in time to music.

The next morning we went to the Nanton Parade--at least a third of which seemed to be Shriners from all over Alberta. There were also lots of horses, representatives from a bunch of Nanton area's 100-year old families, a bunch of past Calgary Stampede queens as well as the usual businesses. It was a great trip!

Monday, August 13, 2007

July 23, 2007: Jasper

Soooo, have we mentioned how much we like the town of Jasper?

Since our original trip plan was altered due to the aforementioned events, we decided to spend several days in and around Jasper camping instead. Sunday we came off the trail, Monday was our first full day "camping" instead of "backpacking" aaaaand our anniversary!
First: headed into Jasper to talk to Parks Canada about the trail conditions. Found out: mosquito count up 486% over last year. Trail had been previously specified as "fair condition, some washed out sections" (no mention of washed out bridges). The Parks guy was really nice and refunded us some of our backcountry passes.

Second: headed over to the "Friends of Jasper National Park" store to browse...which meant that we purchased two books, one about the Park Warden Service and the other by Karsten Heuer (see associated website) about hiking from Yellowstone to the Yukon. Also bought some patches to sew on our packs. Got a free bumper sticker and recommended that the store bring in a new and highly anticipated (by Kirstin) book called Forgotten Highways (see publisher's website). When we headed out of the store we ran into (almost literally) Brent's Uncle and Aunt from Cochrane! Chatted with them for a while about hiking and trails and their trip and ours.

Third: Stopped at our favourite Jasper coffee shop, Bear's Paw Bakery. Yum! After retrieving some coffee and cinnamon buns, we chatted with Les, a local retired CN train engineer about the local trails, about the mosquitoes, and the present bear situation (an acquaintance of his had been attacked near Banff the previous week!).

Fourth: Went on a hunt for a frying pan...we forgot to bring ours and Brent was feeling a serious lack of pancakes.

Fifth: Went for a pizza lunch to Jasper Pizza Place. As usual, the food was great but the service was bad.
Sixth: Hiked up the Old Fort Hill that overlooks the townsite and the Athabasca River. Short and easy enough to do in sandles as our feet sorely protested being put back into boots so soon!
Ok, so we didn't hike very vigorously

The top of the Point

Feet in the Athabasca
Seventh: Relaxed at the campsite for a bit and did some reading and napping. Then we ate the cookshelter since it was raining.

Eighth: Went back to Jasper for a tour of some of the town's important historical buildings. It was very interesting and our tour guide was fun. We were finished just in time to escape from the rain and....

Our gregarious guide, Mark

Jasper Information and Friends of JNP store.
Architecture style unique to Jasper.

Lone Haida totem pole far from its home on West Coast

Inside of the Anglican Church

Nine: ...go see Hairspray in the theatre! John Travolta as a fat woman, Christopher Walken as said fat woman's husband...lots of singing, dancing and laughs. Not a very deep or serious movie but great nonetheless.--especially the popcorn flavoured with cowboy dill.

When we got out of the movie, it was dark and rainy and quiet in the town...absolutely lovely. It was a great anniversary!

Jasper at night