Hello Thursday

We are in our Expedition enroute from Regina. We have been gifted with a beautiful sunset.

We left Gina at the Regina Airport at about 2:30, did some shopping and started home. It has been a beautiful winter day for us to travel.

I am thankful for that as the reality of saying goodbye to Gina has been painful. She is moving to Toronto, looking for opportunity for more training, for connections, and just the possibility to be in the right place at the right time.

Our hearts are kinda hurting. We got so used to having her around again, we had three months with her home. They were good days.

She is off again, with very little arranged. Her plane will land in 10 minutes. She will go to bed tonight in the home of people who house international students, they had space for Gina. My friend Tanya made this contact for Gina. Tanya’s house is across the street. She is one of the warmest people I know. With these details in place we feel good about this next stage for Gina. I have other friends and family in the area. As hard and scary as this day is, Gina will not be alone.

I often think about the saying “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” It is relationships that make me feel safe and whole, that is where I experience wealth. This exact hour, as my girl breathes in the night air in Toronto for the first time, but kind people wait to say hello, I feel rich. I feel tender. I feel thankful.

Our last supper. Gina won’t be home for Christmas.
Gina really shone as a crew member on the trail this fall.
Our last view of that hat for a while.

We JUST got a message on the family chat. Gina has landed. She saw the CN tower from the plane. My heart feels weird.🥴💗

Chit Chat Over Coffee

There is a little tiny joke in this picture. Can you see it?

Its 9:36am on September 1st.  I am writing to you live from the Chopper K Auction Mart.  Russ, Gina, Jill and I are here to watch our grassers sell.  These are calves we kept many extra months to grow up a bit.  We got here early after dropping Morgan off for his first day of grade 10. 

The sale hasn’t started yet, so we have been privy to the auction mart waking up and people getting in position for the work before them.  I just learned that it’s the first sale since June, so we are really witnessing the very beginning of a new season.  I have always enjoyed “good morning” type chit chat so its good to be here.  Gina reports that the action at this point reminds her of behind the scenes when the curtain is about to open in shows she has been in.  That is kind’ve fun to think about. 

The four of us free to hang out while others buzz about. The auction mart dog “Tina” came and wedged in between Russ and I. She is quite dear.

There have been a few things to check in about.

Gina is home!  Our girl who completed her musical theatre diploma in May and then extra training in stage combat since, finished up her lease in Victoria and moved home for a bit before carrying on to Toronto.  She has shown a lot of bravery this summer, going to big cities to study and learning subway systems and new people.  It has been awesome to see.  The big deal this week is that she loaded her car and drove home, boarding a ferry at 5:30am and driving til 10:30 that night, she spent some hours sleeping in her car in Strathmore, Alberta before heading on and getting home by 3:30pm the next day.  She really enjoyed the mountain driving.  What a monkey though, she wanted to surprise me so she didn’t give me accurate info about her location. So….she got home and I wasn’t there. I had been called to town and decided to have tea with Grandma Shirley while I was there, I thought I had time.  So, when I wandered into the house with my arms full of groceries, there she was sitting at our kitchen counter sipping a cold drink and video taping my reaction. Honestly. She hid her car behind the barn and had way too much fun catching me off guard! It was my joy to soon see all my kids sitting down for supper.

Yesterday we unloaded her car and I have to say it was impressive how much she had stashed in it!

How the car looked in the driveway the first night. Russ was impressed that Gina packed alot of stuff and kept her sight lines all around.
Gina’s pal Ernie spent the last two years in Victoria and accompanied her in the front seat on the way home. He told me not to tell Gina but he is glad to be back on the prairies.
All of this was in that little car!

Backtracking a bit…..My friend Deb and her girls visited over the weekend.  We enjoyed the visits, the storytelling, the wisdom shared, the laughs, there were some great hours spent together. 

A fun idea was hatched during our last breakfast, that idea is a cookbook.  We are both good cooks and we have been friends for 45 years.  I have a vivid memory of walking down the street together when we were about 11, talking about what we thought about becoming women.  We have talked about almost every dimension of womanhood that has unfolded since then.  It seems like maybe we could make some fun title out of that and create something, even if its a cookbook just for our kids.  It was fun to dream about it at the table and brainstorm what recipes would need to be included.  It was the cinnamon buns we were eating that …..

Oh……

Our calves are coming into the ring to sell.  Time to close the laptop.

Here are our observers. Jill with calculator in hand, this is her job for us every sale.

Here is a minute of what that kind of action looks like.

9 hours later…..

Well the selling phase of the day was good but certainly anxiety producing.  The prices we received are quite improved over recent years and that is well timed.  The drought and storms of recent memory have been so hard.  Cattle prices have not kept pace with expenses. We are thankful for this morning.

Our John Deere tractor is in the hospital.  It has been a hard reality to work around, slowing our progress with baling, but just one of those things.  A significant problem started last Friday making it not driveable.  Russ called our family at Fast Trucking and there was a truck in the yard within half an hour to pick up the tractor and take it to Oxbow.   We are extremely blessed.

Loading the tractor with its problems was very nerve wracking for Russ.

Further problems have arisen, so the tractor is still in Oxbow, Russ is getting familiar with the staff at the John Deere hospital and things are going well between them. 

About baling………we have all the bales we need for feed and are so close to being done we can just about say we are done.   This is a relief.   We will now begin baling some straw (likely once the tractor is out of the hospital) but that is less of a stressful thing, usually.  It is such a relief to head into winter feeling only minimally concerned about feed and water.  We know that a year like this is a total blessing.

To make a morning like the one we had today happen there are many steps. First we have to get the animals in from pasture and ready to load onto transport. I was able to take a good video of the grassers coming into the yard yesterday morning.  Our friends Jackie and Marisol joined Russ, Gina and Morgan to move them down the road and also helped with getting them sorted and prepped to load.  Here is the video, they move in quickly and it makes for an action packed minute.

Last Friday night we joined a crowd in Oxbow to see the province wide touring group Saskatchewan Express.  It was a really entertaining production and we had a special interest in it.  One of Gina’s friends from college was a performer.  Liz was the understudy that portrayed Shrek to Gina’s Fiona in all the performances we saw.  We hosted her for supper while we were in Victoria.  It was pretty nice to have a familiar face on the stage in Oxbow.  She was excellent.  There are some people in our small communities who work really hard to make our life together warmer, more interesting, and more connected.   Concerts like this one are a result of their efforts, it is a very good thing.

Maybe that’s enough of a check in.  I hope this finds you well and ready to face what this new season holds.

Oh wait….the joke……

Some of the people in this house love cats. We have cat mugs. I picked one by chance tonight, to hold my decaf coffee. Then I took a picture of the mug to use as a lead image for this blog. But wouldn’t you know it, right beside those cats was a mouse. A computer mouse. My fairly stressed brain was quite amused by the cat and mouse story going on on my desk. You got the joke right off the top didn’t you? I probably didn’t even need to explain. Sweet dreams!

Song of the Day: Happy Birthday!

I wrote about Gina and her first 20 years a few weeks ago because the days were ripe with stories. But as I post this its Saturday and officially her birthday.

As I get started on this blog I am tucked in the back seat of our Hyundai, Gina is in the front seat and she and Russ are swapping stories, currently discussing their experiences with caffeine. We are enroute home from Regina Airport. It’s currently Wednesday, Gina is home for Jill’s grad. The beauty of this moment is not lost on me. To be in the presence of my first born, enjoying her, but mostly just being near, is really nice.

At my checkup after Gina’s birth Dr. Naidu told me “that was a hard one.” Her observation was affirming, I had never done this before and I didn’t know how to describe what I had been through. The relevance to this blog is that this day 20 years ago Russ was actively caring for our girl and I was doing the bare bare minimum. I hardly knew Gina yet. What I am experiencing right now is not anything I could ever have imagined looking at those wise eyes staring back at me as we started to find our way 20 years ago.

Gina’s story has seen another big step since the blog about her earlier this month. She recently completed a two week intensive course in Vancouver, a national workshop of Fight Directors Canada. It gave her a “basic actor combatant” certificate. The first of 5 levels of training she needs to become an on set fight director. She LOVES this stuff and she is good at it. At the conclusion of the course she was assessed by fight masters and then received adjudication. What she heard was so encouraging. They told her, “you’re good, if you want to make a career of this you just have to go for it.” The part I loved hearing about as her mother was that she excelled at her teamwork. She was awarded “rookie of the year” for her group. Interesting options are emerging. A couple days ago Gina received an invitation to a regional workshop in Montreal, a chance to get her next level of training. The instructors and fight masters Gina worked with in Vancouver are encouraging her to attend more school in Toronto, another setting for more levels. She has an audition this weekend for more traditional musical theatre work. As her Mom it is thrilling to see her having options and although she has no clear plan at this point she said to me last week, “I’m in the right place.”

She shared pictures from practice sessions at the course and gave me permission to use them.

The picture below has Gina on the left. This is “quarter staff” training.

The picture below is Gina on the right doing what she loves, sword fighting.

The pictures below have her in “unarmed” fight training.

The conclusion of the course allowed Gina some time to hang out with my sister and brother in law in Vancouver. It was sweet for me to think about Jan and Ray being able to celebrate Gina’s accomplishments with her.

I can’t believe this sweet smiling face loves fighting so much! My sister reported back to me she had been shown some mighty bruises.

We are proud of you Gina and thankful, infinitely thankful for all the people and events that have got you where you are today. Happy birthday to you!