Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Capital of Alberta

Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, is only three hours north of Calgary, but until last weekend we had never been there. Greg had that Monday off because it was a statutory holiday- Victoria Day. We decided to avoid the mountains for the long weekend because the locals told us it would be a madhouse there.

We picked two outings that sounded fun: The West Edmonton Mall, which is the largest shopping mall in North America and Elk Island, a national park that boasts free-roaming bison. Not super-exciting, but it was something to do and we were only staying one night.

We hit the mall first, after checking into the hotel. The place is huge! It has a movie theater, indoor lake, regulation size hockey rink, restaurants, an indoor amusement park, mini-golf, penguin tank and a hotel. Oh, yeah- and there are stores.

We walked around and  had dinner. We didn't have a room IN the mall (not at $300 a night!) but we were staying right across the street. It was a low-key, pleasant day.

One of their theme streets- this is Europe:

The next morning we headed out to Elk Island. It's not really an island. It's a National Park that's completely fenced in. Bison, moose and elk roam free. It sounded like a pretty sure thing that we'd see some animals. My favorite thing to photograph!

We stopped at the info center, asked for advice on where to go to see these beasts and headed out. After about two hours of driving around and hiking a bit, the only living thing I snapped a photo of was this butterfly:

And the poor thing turned out to be dead. :(

We had seen some bison waaaaaaaaaay off in the distance, so we drove around to where we thought they were, parked the car and started to walk across a field to see if they might be on the other side of a hill (behind a fence). BIG MISTAKE!! We quickly became covered in mosquitoes. Not just a few- we looked like we were wearing mosquito jackets. When we ran, they followed us like a black cloud. Amazingly, I didn't get a single bite. Greg had about ten on his neck- his only exposed skin.

That pretty much ended our enthusiasm for the place. Driving out, we passed a beaver. Whoop-de-do! I half-heartedly took some photos but of course, the beaver can't be seen.    

We drove out of the park, pointing the car towards Calgary on the highway. And wouldn't you know it? Bisons everywhere behind the fences lining the highway! Turns out the highway, Yellowhead Trail, goes right through the middle of the park.

We stopped to take a look at this guy...

...but he gave me a dirty look and walked into the trees.

I guess even animals get tired of the paparazzi.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Baby On Board!

I'm so happy to share the news that my son, Jake, and his wife, Yifei, will be welcoming their first child (and our first grandchild) into the world in August! We found a way to involve all of our friends and family in a project to show this new little boy (yes- it's a boy!) how much we already love him. Please contribute to a "100 Good Wishes Quilt."

Friends and family from China, America and Canada are asked to contribute colorful patches of cloth and good wishes for the baby. 100 patches of fabric will be sewn together into a colorful quilt that contains the luck, energy, and good wishes from around the world. (The photo included in this post is an example of a 100 Good Wishes Quilt) Your good wishes will be collected into a scrapbook for Jake and Yifei.

Send a colorful piece of 100% cotton fabric (at least 12" square). It can be cut from a piece of clothing or purchased from a store.  Include a "good wish" note (what you wish for his life). You can send more than one. The notes and a scrap of fabric will be put in a book for Yifei and Jake and the fabric will be used to make a quilt, to wrap the baby in love and good wishes for the rest of his life.

Send your fabric and good wishes to (Aunt) Nancy Meyer at home or at PO Box 142, Harvard, MA 01451.

Thank you!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Three Day Drive From Calgary to Houston

Greg and I wanted to bring the truck back to Texas, so we drove it down from Calgary. I was diagnosed with mono a few days before we left, but my doctor said it would be OK to go as long as I got a lot of sleep on the way. Those moments when I was awake, I snapped some pictures:

DAY 1, April 5th


DAY 2, April 6th


"Oh give me a home..."

OK, no buffalo, a few deer but A LOT of antelope:


Weird land formation:

Denver, 11:30am


Don't let that "Welcome to Texas" sign fool you. We still had whole day of driving ahead of us on Day 3 from the Panhandle of Texas, all the way down to Houston.

Three days of driving. Total hours on the road= 33. Total hours I was conscious= 10