Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Greetings from Weyburn

My, how the time has flown, and how many events have transpired. I am currently sitting in a hotel in lovely Weyburn, Saskatchewan ("the Opportunity City", according to the tourism booklet in the room), home of Tommy Douglas, W.O.Mitchell, and a strangely familiar water tower (although unlike Kerrobert's, this one is no longer in use.) I haven't taken many pictures yet, but hope to do so on Friday when Derek is with me. He is attending hockey camp at Notre Dame College in Wilcox. I drove there last night to watch one of his games, and he hurt his shoulder on his first shift on the ice. But I did learn that he is having a ball and meeting lots of new friends. He is done on Thursday, and my wonderful cousin, Bonnie, will pick him up and bring him here to Weyburn. Her brother and his family live here, and Bonnie and her daughter want to see Stephen play at his hockey camp. This midget prep camp is very intensive. They start at 9:15 in the morning and except for a few half-hour breaks, go steady until 10:00 at night. Needless to say, he has no trouble getting to sleep here at the Perfect Inn (which Stephen wryly noted would probably never live up to its name!) Derek and I will do a little sight-seeing on Friday until Stephen is done, and then we will head home.

We received news that my baby brother, Rob, landed his dream job with Cameco in Saskatoon. We look forward to having them closer. I suggested they find a house with a suite in it in order to perhaps keep a nephew or two in the near future. Haven't heard back on that yet....

Also in the Schraefel news is sweet little Copper's first birthday. Apparently they had a party at Grandpa and Grandma's in Lethbridge, but I don't have any details on that. Auntie Lisa put up a great picture of Copper on her blog, if you are interested. (

Derek, Mom, and I took a little trip to Thunder Bay. We got to see lots of relatives, and it was Derek's first commercial airplane trip. He was some excited. Bouncing may actually be a better word. And I think he talks even more when he is bouncing. It was not a peaceful little getaway. We had a four-hour layover in Winnipeg, so we went to visit Clem's aunt Louise. She is such a dear, and had a nice little snack and tea ready for us. She and Derek got along famously.

When we arrived at Thunder Bay, mom's cousin, Joanne, and her husband, Bill, picked us up and drove us to Manitouwadge (three and a half hours along Lake Superior and another half an hour north - Derek was thrilled!) to see Mom's uncle Joe and Barbara Schan, both of whom are in a care home there. Their daughter, Debbie, lives there as well, and she and her husband, Dave, were kind enough to keep us overnight. We had a really good visit, and were able to spend quite a bit of time with Uncle Joe and Aunt Barbara. Here are Mom and her cousins Debbie and Joanne with their parents.

Aunt Barbara can no longer speak, but she seemed happy to see Mom.

Uncle Joe is the last surviving sibling of Grandpa Schan, and he reminds me so much of Grandpa. He is much more emotional, though, and cries when he is happy as well as when he is sad! I just love that about him!

Derek was quite taken with him, and propped up a couple of little Saskatchewan flags in his walker. Uncle Joe is starting to forget things a bit, but he always knew Derek, and he still has a great sense of humor. Just after I snapped this picture of him and Derek, he asked me if I got a good shot of his pretty blue eyes

When we got back to Thunder Bay we stayed with another cousin of Mom's, Betty Jean and Jim Start. They were very gracious hosts, and took us sight-seeing and hosted a family gathering so we could meet more relatives! Derek was excited to see the Terry Fox monument that his dad had seen many years ago.
And of course we saw the Sleeping Giant, seen here in the background.

Derek and I also managed to get in a visit with another Clem's aunts, Anne, who lives in Thunder Bay with her son Jim. She is 92 and still in her own home.

The potluck lunch at Betty Jean's was great, and we were able to meet and reminisce with lots of relatives. Even Mom's Aunt Corrine came.

This is Betty Jean with her youngest daughter, Linda, and her son, David's, children.

Here's a shot of all the cousins that could make it that day.

It was a great trip, but it was nice to get home. Clem and the boys had continued working on the deck, and my garden was bursting with work for me!

On a sadder note, we received word that the son of a former CP colleague of Clem's was injured while serving in Afghanistan. He lost both of his legs below the knee. There is an article about him here:

Well, I'm off to the rink again for a bit to watch Stephen, grateful that he is healthy and able to skate. Thanks for stopping by, and check in later for more Weyburn news!


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The road to hell is paved with good intentions...

...and I am going to have one smoo-ooth ride, my friends. I have been composing posts in my head, always intending to record my witty musings in a timely fashion, but I guess I will now just lump some words and pictures together in what is turning out to be a monthly update!

The first potential post was about our spur-of-the-moment whirlwind trip to Lethbridge on the Father's Day weekend. We had a great time, blissfully unaware that a wheel bearing on the van was ready to seize at any moment. (It has since been fixed.) Jason and Terri had also decided to visit, so it was a houseful, and I'm sure Mom and Dad were glad that we and our three big boys could only stay a short while. I think they would have kept precious Copper longer, though, as she was certainly the center of attention for all involved.

She like hanging out with her cousins, especially Derek! She apparently doesn't mind being mauled somewhat!

Her morning was spent sitting on the table, hamming it up for everyone, and Grandpa was by far the most impressed with her entertaining abilities.

Copper's short night soon caught up with her, and she started to wane a bit...
...until daddy put her down for a nap (and joined her, I believe, as his night was a bit on the short side, as well!)

The second potential post was about our first-born, Adam, who turned 16 about two weeks ago. It hardly seems possible, considering how I am not much older than that myself! The post would have started with a really cute picture of him as a baby, grinning with his railroad engineer's hat on and showing off those amazing dimples. Alas, the scanner wouldn't work. Then I was going to show you a picture of him driving his new car. Alas again, since the examiner decided Adam could use a little more practice driving. So I will show you a picture of our handsome young man enjoying his birthday cake.

He doesn't enjoy his brothers quite as much, but here they are, "my three sons",

I'd still like to take a picture of Adam and his car, but since he did eventually get his license, we see very little of either one. He got a summer job at the local lumber yard, and so will hopefully be able to keep his car paid for and full of fuel!

The third potential post concerned Clem and the boys, who have been busy around the house and yard. We closed off the door in the kitchen, added a window on that wall, and replaced the existing window with garden doors. We also replaced our bedroom window. Then, to stop the cold Saskatchewan winter winds from stealing the heat in the house, Clem and his friend, Rob, along with help from Adam and Stephen, put new insulation on top of the old siding, covered the whole house with a weather wrap, and put on new siding. I was very impressed with the results!

Here's the inside view, pre-drywall and -paint (because they haven't happened yet, silly!)

Derek took some pictures while work was being done outside.

Stephen was lucky he didn't lose his pants!
Stephen was usually on the ladder, but we were all surprised to see Clem on one!

And finally, we were fortunate to have some friends from Scotland visit during their stay with their relatives and our neighbors, the Wrights. David and Lorraine were kind enough to host Lisa and me when we were in Scotland last summer, and it was so good to see them again.

From left to right: Lynn, me, Clem (who even entertained a bit with the guitar!), Lyle, David, Carol, and Lorraine.

Here's Derek teaching Lorraine how to use her camera.

So here we are, pretty much caught up, I think. The boys all had good reports cards. Stephen pulled up his socks and brought his average up ten points to 90%. He's deservedly proud of himself. Derek's average was about the same, and has been throughout the year. Adam passed - enough said.

The weather has been grand - lots of sunshine, and even lots of rain. Last Monday we had an inch in about 10 minutes, and then we had another inch (or maybe more - still guessing without a rain gauge!) on Sunday evening.

The crops look fabulous, and Clem's itching to spend some more money on machinery. But first things first - a deck to go with the new garden doors, and new steps in the front, necessitated when Stephen tried to replace some rotten boards and things got carried away - literally.

Anyway, life continues at the Schraefel ranch. Next time, I hope to include some pictures of the finished outside of the house, as well as Derek's first plane ride when he and Mom and I go to Thunder Bay next week.

Talk to you soon, and thanks for checking in!