Holiday Reflections

Saint Benidict's Anglican Church (2), High River Alberta, Jan. 04, 2017 - bruce wtizel photo

Reasons to spend holiday time staying with family in another province:

Grandkids change so fast. The opportunity to reconnect with where they are in their lives is a precious one. We took Emma and Brit on a snowy outing to the High River Cemetery. More about why in a later blog. Emma was so excited to run between the gravestones and brush off the powdery snow so she could read the inscriptions. She is at that wonderful stage when the ability to read has clicked and she can’t wait to decipher the written word anywhere she finds it. The day was quite cold and when Brit headed back to the car, Emma looked disappointed. She told me, “I don’t want to leave.” I told her we would come back in the summer and spend as much time as she liked. She said, “Can I wear a dress?” I felt that would be perfectly fine.

High River Cemetery

A couple of snow angels visited the High River Cemetery.

A couple of snow angels

Kristen - Bruce Witzel photo




Grown kids still need their moms. Well, they do! Especially when mom can bite her tongue now and then. Listening matters more than always heaving the proverbial two-bits into every conversation.




The opportunity to do things one wouldn’t do at home. For example, watch ten episodes of The Crown on Netflix – I loved it!

The Crown - Goggle Image

Experience a white Christmas. For someone who grew up on the coast of British Columbia and hasn’t strayed far from coastal waves, this was new. As was watching Emma and Brit skate on an outdoor lake and multiple sledding trips down what passes for a hill in High River.

White Christmas - High River. Albe

Emma sledding - Bruce Witzel photo     Brit sledding - Bruce Witzel photo

Brit - winter skate - Bruce Witzel photo

Winter skate - Bruce Witzel photo

Understand what -30 with wind-chill feels like. Britney told us that her school doesn’t let students play outside at recess if it is colder than -20 with a windshield. I guess announcements over the PA system are hard to decipher whether it be at a school or in an airport.

Tsunami warning - Goggle ImagesBe terrified over one’s first experience at a wave-pool. When the waves hit me, I was standing in the worst place possible – near a wall and in the outflow from one of the water slides. Add to my terror the fact that Kristen told me to stay close to Britney. I seriously felt as though I was on the beach as a tsunami rolled in with no hope of keeping my head above the water let alone staying close to anything. Suffice to say, as Brit bounced towards me with a grin and helped me get my footing, I realized I was to stay close to a five-year-old for my safety not hers.

Baking with grandkids. Making and decorating sugar cookies is my Grandma baking specialty.

Emma & Fran decorating  Christmas cookies

Playing cards and games. We discovered Phase Ten this year and enjoyed it. Pass the Ace continues to be a favourite. As usual, I stayed on the receiving end of loss after loss at crib. Good to know all is as it should be with me and the gaming universe. One day, Emma, observing yet another of my losses, patted me on the back and said, “Don’t worry Grandma. I’m on your side because you’re the thunder-dog.” And so I was.

Candy purchases at the Bulk Barn. Hot Tamales by the pound, anyone? This is the sort of good time you had to be there to enjoy!

Getting familiar with a new, family-oriented community. I am helped to put the day-to-day events of kids and grandkids in context with such information. And we did such a good job at this that we ended up in the local High River paper. Can’t complain about that.

New Year's Eve in High River Times

Reasons why it is wonderful to come home:

No matter how comfy the bed I land in, nothing can replace the tried and true of my own bed and pillows.

The opportunity to eat in tune with personal preferences – fresh baked bread, homemade soups and a spicy black bean dip made with balsamic vinegar that is to die for. Unfortunately, Bruce is not a fan of three things – balsamic vinegar, cilantro and lentils. All of which, I love. But I had read in my Bean Cookbook that balsamic vinegar is a bean’s BFF, so I had to throw caution to the wind. The consequence I am willing to live with is that I must consume all the spicy black bean dip on my own.

The off-chance that I may finally return full-time to writing the fourth book of the Crater Lake Series – yippee!

Significant blocks of quiet that allow me the time to enjoy the memories of a great family holiday. Life is good!

Kristen & Matt - Bruce Witzel photo

16 comments on “Holiday Reflections

  1. MariHoward says:

    Lovely post and you obviously had such a great time! That photo of the road in the snow reminded me of our Christmas in Waterloo, Ontario – there for 3 1/2 months for hubby’s work we experienced the ‘coldest winter for decades’ in the area! I remember the 30 degree of frost with windchill factor .. car doorlocks which froze… But it was wonderful for the kids to have a snowy Christmas. They still count it the ‘best ever’ even nearly 30 years on …

    • For my grandkids – it was the first white Christmas they had ever had. Probably not the last! And great for us to be able to explore a new community in a new province. Canada is such a diverse country – Alberta definitely has a different feel than BC. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on through the luminary lens and commented:
    This past week Francis and I returned from Christmas with our family in Alberta. I haven’t flown for a good decade and you can see the return flight to the Pacific Coast was beautiful – though I used up so much carbon credits (love miles as George Monbiot calls such a trip.) As always, Francis has some wonderful holiday reflections and photos on her blog so check it out. It’s good to be back home safe on the ground on our beloved Vancouver Island. To each of you, please take care in 2017. Peace and fellowship, Bruce.

  3. Jane Fritz says:

    This is lovely, Fran. We did something similar, spending Christmas in Ottawa with grandchildren and their parents. Always so special to spend time with them in their own environment. Of course, we didn’t experience as much of a weather difference as we would have if we lived in Canada’s tropical wonderland, as you do! 😉

    • Tropical wonderland, indeed. When we stepped off the plane in Comox the first thing that hit me was the overwhelming smell of trees – a freshness. And then the ocean and later, standing in only a sweater in the sun of the airport parking lot just chatting and taking it all in was great. Good to travel but good to come home.

  4. Sounds like a wonderful time full of new and delightful memories.


  5. isabelburt says:

    What a lovely family share!

  6. smilecalm says:

    so nice to see your beautiful
    family adventure, Francis
    and know that there is
    ease in returning home 🙂

  7. Roy McCarthy says:

    Nice images, and lovely kids. Love how Emma rushes to read everything – I think you have a bookworm there. Looking forward to more on High River Cemetery, and to confirmation that the next book in the series is in progress 🙂

    • Oh, that Emma – such a kid! Definitely, the next book is in progress and if planning and note taking equaled a book, I’d have a dozen more in the series to show for my effort. Hope to get to my High River Cemetery blog this week. Thanks for stopping by, Roy 🙂

  8. Thank you for sharing such delightful holiday adventures in a beautiful winter wonderland, Francis. 🙂

    • You are most welcome, Carol. It’s great to have such wonderful subjects to work with – LOL. But seriously, I sure do enjoy sharing memories of those delightful grandchildren and of course, Matt and Kristen too.

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