Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Jen and I and the boys added to our Christmas tradition by making our biggest gingerbread house yet.  Here it is just after we assembled it, the main house with two dormer windows, and two wings with a chimney each. That was three recipes of gingerbread and about nine pans to cook, for all the sides, roofs, walls and some gingerbread men and trees as well.  What an undertaking, we figured we had better take a picture before we moved it in case it did not survive the move.   
Here it is in all of it's candified glory.  Is it not a thing of beauty, one to be admired. The main house is for Mark, Jen and the boys, Barry and I get the left wing and Mark's Mom and sister get the right wing.  Are not the candy trees wonderful?  Jennifer had a box of them ready made to add to the yard, WOW! The front walkway, made of cherry twizzlers are an attempt at a replica of Jen front walk made of flat stones picked from a beach.  Leeland decorated the right wing, he is obviously the free thinker of the lot. William demonstrated he was his Mother's son with his adherence to straight lines and patterns as he adorned the left wing.  
We have been enjoying the holiday season, last week we were at the boys school Christmas Concert.
Leeland is the boy in the blue in the front row. if you haven't guessed, they are singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
William is in the red in the middle of the back row and they are singing Little Drummer Boy.  We have been going to see the Cape Breton Junior Hockey team play.  Mark gave us passes as a thank you for looking after the boys for the weekend.  The last game we were at Leeland's team played during the intermission, thanks to the sponsorship of Tim Horton's.  They were so cute, the Junior team's mascot, Screech, the Screaming Eagle was out on the ice with them and Leeland spent a fair bit of time gazing up at him.  I watched part of the game with Jen and family and marvelled that we were able to do the time honoured Canadian thing this winter, watch a live hockey game with members of my family. 
Mark leant us an artificial tree this month and I was able to figure out how to assemble it and borrowed some of Jen and Mark's decorations to add to the ones that have gone around the world with us on the boat.  I thought the tree looked hilarious only partially assemble so made Barry take a picture.
The end product was a pleasant but definitely not overcrowded tree.  I don't think we had one that was ours since we lived in our house in Yellowknife, that would be 10 years ago.  Last week curling wound up for the holidays and we had a turkey spiel.  You entered your name and teams were thrown together and we curled two four end games.  There was a tie and the tie breaker was a draw to the button with a frozen turkey cling wrapped to a styrofoam plate,  I took on they challenge and although I finished second out of four our team got to choose between peanut and chocolates for a prize. 

Barry and I are ready to hit the ski slopes, the googles the competed our ensemble, the only new equipment we got. Barry got skis and poles at the local Value Village (our favourite store) and he got boots and I was able to get skis and boots from Kijji. His sweater is new to us a great addition to his winter wardrobe.  
Happy Holidays to all our friends around the world and to our family both near and far.  Technology is wonderful, we saw and spoke to all of our immediate family within the last 24 hours.  Lots of love and many bigs hugs are coming at you. From the crew of Cat's-Paw IV.  Ann and Barry. 

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Australian Vacation Two

A stupendous feat of balance on the snouts of two dolphins.
 At the dolphin show I was impressed with the dolphins leaping about and the handlers would be pushed forward in the water by the dolphins so they were being propelled really fast. I was astounded when they did the trick shown above.  Imagine the co-ordination of the two dolphins and the trainer as well as the balance involved, WOW!

There was a big outdoor aquarium where they had all sorts of marine life that you could view from above and below the water.  There were barracudas, sharks, turtles, and all sorts of tropical reef fish. This is a shovel nosed shark, one of the weirdest looking creatures in the lagoon.  The kids were fascinated with the fish, there was also a spot where they could touch starfish and rays.  The skin of the rays was very soft and spongy feeling.  
There were a couple of polar bears that I felt a bit sorry for. It was so hot, I don't know how they coped with the heat, hopefully the water was cool.  This particular bear had a piece of plastic that he was playing with, it had fallen in the water and the bear was hanging off log trying to get it.  We spent quite awhile watching him have fun.  

The family getting on a ride. 

There were only eight seats of this ride and it was filled with our family, Jennifer and William, Heather and June, Graeme and Quinn and Trish and Leeland.  You had to pull yourself up to the top hand over hand and then you fell back to the bottom. This was one ride that you had to work at.  It was fun watching the kids and the adults hauling themselves up.  

The next day we went to Movie World.  There were great rides and there were Looney Tunes Characters everywhere.  Here June is on a carousel riding around on the Road Runner. As soon as the park opened we headed over to the Superman ride and managed to get on the first run of the day.  It was probably one of the most exciting rides I have ever been on whipping around the rails at terrific speeds experiencing G forces on some of the turns. 

Everyone was excited to see the Batmobile, and later Batman came and got in it, notice Marilyn Monroe striking a pose in the background as she looks on.  We had fun at the Bumper Cars and the Wild West ride. In the heat of the day we sat in the shade and watched the Stunt Drivers.  The fairly small space was filled with scream of revving motors and the smell of burning tires.  The motorcyclist were spectacular as they jumped over the cars and from one side of the stage to another over ten meters in the air.  The show was cut short due to high winds.  

It was three fun filled days, Wet and Wild, Sea World and Movie World but I was happy to go back to the motor home before the park closed on the third day as the heat was getting to me.  It was great to create such happy memories with all of our daughters and four of our grandchildren.