Sunday, July 29, 2012

Canada - Day Six - Family Time

Us! Lorne, Ken, Dane, and me
It was really nice to not have to be in a car today. The Gackle Family Reunion is in full swing with volleyball, pictures, talking, talking, music, talent show, auction and basic sharing. We have people from the US, Canada and Germany.

The three Gackle US Sisters, Rachel Pribbeno, Leah Huber,
and Eltina Wright

Rachel's Family L to R:
 Cayla, Ashley, Paul and Kathy Ortiz,
Ken, Rachel,  me, Dane and Lorne

L to R: Courtney and Myron Hall,
Matthew Benedict, Janet Hall, Leah,
Tom, Gwen, Ian  Benedict, Eltina
There are many more pictures of the other families, but I realize that these are really only important to the people in the family and I won't post all of them here.  

We will be heading out on Sunday and making the trek back to Colorado. We are seriously thinking of driving through Yellowstone on our way back. I worked at Old Faithful Lodge for two summers during my college years, so I can always do back. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Canada - Day Five - Dinosaurs and Hutterites

Cayla and Ashley Ortiz with their cousins Dane and Lorne
At the first day of the Gackle family reunion. This is Ken's mother's paternal side of the family, so I am a Gackle by marriage.  Since the Gackle are mainly German, a Swede like me really stands out. 

We had a tour of a Hutterite Colony this morning. It is a religious community much like the Amish. They served us lunch and then gave a tour of their farm. However, my family sneaked out before going into one of the barns to head for the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

If you like dinosaurs, the best museum in the world has to be the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. All it has is dinosaurs -- nothing else. I think it is a rule of nature that if you are the mother of boys, you have to deal with dinosaurs in your life. With the dinosaur cartoons, toys, bones puzzles, and books, I think half of the stuff in our basement from the boys' childhood is about dinosaurs. There is a large dig near the museum and this is the place where the Albertosaurus was discovered (see the facts that I have obtained over the lifetime of my sons?)

The next few days will be very low key, with lots of visiting and storytelling with the multi-generations of Gackles here. We have ages from about 5 to 94, so there is quite a range. On Saturday, I am not planning to anything but knit and visit.

Canada - Day Four – Athabasca Ice Fields

Now I remember why I don’t like camping. I’m too old to try to sleep on a hard ground with little rocks pressing into my spine. I think I know how the Princess and Pea felt! I think I got some sleep, only because I remembered a dream about being a paralegal, which I haven’t been for about 15 years. Explain that one. So we packed up as fast as possible headed to the Athabasca Ice Field Center. Now remember, none of had too much sleep, so when we got to the visitor’s center, we were very ‘punchy.’

And to all my Colorado friends – here is the temperature update.

This was where the icefield
was in 2000.
After breakfast, we took a hike up toward the ice fields. There are markers along the way showing where the fields were in recent years.  A very good argument for global warming!

On our way to the Athabasca Falls, we saw this grizzly bear, although I guess they call them brown bears. We call the bears here in Colorado brown or black bears, so it can be confusing. I understand that you can tell the difference between the two types of bears by the hump, or no hump, on the back. I also heard that grizzlies don’t climb trees, so you can tell the difference by climbing a tree. If the bear follows you up the tree and eats you, it’s a brown bear. If it just shakes the tree until you fall out and then eats you, it’s a grizzly. I hope that clears up any questions. After getting this picture, I got back into the car.

We also saw a wolf! I love wolves – in fact I am wearing a wolf t-shirt at this moment. As we were driving, a wolf ran across the road about 20 feet in front of us. It was a little gray, almost white and it had a tracking collar. He was so fast, I couldn’t grab my camera, but I was just thrilled to see a wolf in the wild.

Our last stop before heading to our family reunion in Olds was Athabasca Falls. Now, I used to live in Yellowstone where the Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River are located, and I didn’t think anything could beat it. However, this falls could come close. You can’t believe how loud it is. The Athabasca Ice Field is so big that it feeds the Pacific, Atlantic and Artic Oceans. It is the headwaters of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest. These falls take water to the Artic, so the water may think it is cold not, just wait!

So we are leaving the Park to head to the reunion—about four hours of driving.  Finished knitting the brown hat for Lorne, so I need to arrange the boys to model them for me for pictures. More later.

The boys are complaining that not everything has to be a Kodak moment.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Canada - Day Three - Banff and Athabasca Ice Fields

We left Lethbridge this morning and headed right for Banff National Park. We first came to the City of Banff and looked around the town. That’s when we found the Banff Springs Hotel.  It looks like something out of a Harry Potter movie. I mean, really, doesn’t this look like Hogswort on a sunny day? 

Actually Lorne and Dane wanted to change the name of it to Pigpimple instead. Loses something in the translation.

Dane talked the porter into letting us go up the 8th floor so we could take pictures.  We could see for miles and miles and everywhere was mountains, mountains, and more mountains. 

Qiviuk Yarn - my Canadian Souvenir
While at the Shops at Banff Springs, I found a shop that sells clothing and accessories made from Qiviuk. Qiviuk is a yarn that is made from the wool of the musk ox, which is only found in the Artic. It is supposed to be 8 times warmer than wool. That usually wouldn’t be a selling point for me because I am too warm just wearing cotton! But they also had little balls of the yarn, so I have to buy one as my Canadian souvenir. That’s about all I can afford for this trip.  It’s a beautiful dark plum color and I am envisioning a ruffled scarf.

Just below the Banff Springs is Bow Falls.  We explored the edges and sides while it rained on us off and on.  Being in front of the falls, it was hard to tell at times if it was the rain or the falls getting us wet. Since it kept things cool, it really didn’t matter.

We left the town of Banff to enter the National Park and what an impressive place! Being from Colorado, we are used to mountains, but these mountains are absolutely spectacular!  The ice age really tore up these mountains.  The tops are jagged and sharp and they are about as abrupt as the Tetons. This place is truly a treasure.

 One of the things I really like was the wildlife overpasses. These are exclusively for the herds of elk, deer and caribou, as well as the predator such as bears, cougars and wolves. We thought about waiting around to see who would use it, but alas time was not on our side. 

It was getting hot by the afternoon – it got all the way up to 74° -- so we cooled off by taking paddling canoes around Lake Louise. Ken and I took one canoe and Lorne and Dane took another. 

We played keep away but the boys then the boys took off on their own, just like they do all the time. (sigh!)  

This was our night for camping, so we travelled further north to the Athabasca ice fields.  (Trying saying that name with a lisp!) We set up camp in the cold northern Canadian Rockies (actually, it was still in the 60’s) and put up our tent. Although it was close to 9:30, it was still sunny and bright. Gotta love those midnight suns! 

So Dane pulled out his guitar and we serenaded our fellow campers – or at least ourselves. No one around us complained which is a good sign. Amazing what a little Credence Clearwater and Beatles can do to add an atmosphere to camp life. 

So Papa sang base and Mama sang tenor (okay, alto), while Lorne and Dane filled in the middle. Lorne also does a mean Jerry Lee Lewis. We added a little Stand by Me and the Lion Sings Tonight. Then we thought we shouldn't tempt fate by singing to a mountain lion who may not like our weem-a-whacks at 10:30 at night.

Obviously there is no internet up here at the top of the world, so I’ll have to post these all at once when we get to the reunion tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Canada - Day Two - Lethbridge and Japanese Gardens

Lorne and Dane as one
After driving straight for 15 hours, we made it to Lethbridge, Alberta. Keep in mind that we took off at 8:00 in the evening so we drove all night -- well, I drove all night. Ken thought with four drivers that it would be easy. However, these guys are wusses when it comes to losing sleep. I never got any sleep until last night, but I slept like a log when I finally laid out.

The only thing we were up for was a walk in these Japanese gardens. Leave it to my boys to reach back to their theater roots and play. However, I don't think I have to worry about them becoming monks.

We ate at a steakhouse called Montana's last night. Interesting that the Colorado people go to Canada to eat at Montana.  Anyway, our waiter told us it has been very warm in Alberta lately too. It got into the 80's twice in the last week.  I am ready to move to Canada.

On to Banff today. We are hoping to rent some bikes and do a bike ride as well as take pictures of the scenery.
I am working on my brown hat for Lorne while we are driving. I want to finish it while we are all together so I can get a picture of all my men in their hats. Now that would be "as one."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Getting Ready to Go.

Okay, I think I have it narrowed down to what I am bringing on our car trip to Canada.  I think I have all my bases covered to suit my 'moods.' About time since we are leaving in a few hours.

I am bringing my bright yellow yarn for socks. This yarn has a fun history. I told my friend Amber that I wanted to knit a pair of bright yellow socks, but couldn't find any hot yellow yarn. If she ever came across such a yarn, buy it and I will reimburse her. Well, she found such a yarn and it is perfect. It is not as bright in this picture as it really is. 

This is the hat pattern I making
for my three guys.
My first project is the hat I started for my older son Lorne in brown alpaca yarn. I finished the hats for Dane (younger son) in dark green and Ken (husband) in navy blue. I want to get it finished while we are all together so I can get a picture of the three of them together in the hats. I only have about two inches done so far, so I better get knitting.

I am also bringing some yarn to work on a shawl when I need to take a break from the hat and socks. Unfortunately, I can't decide on the yarn (although I have decided on the pattern) so I am taking a couple of opinions along. After all, there are yarn shops along the way too. 

I guess I better get to packing the other things like clothes and other sundries. Amazing that this is a no-brainer compared to yarn and needles!

Friday, July 20, 2012

My Heart Hurts

With shootings in the Aurora, which is a suburb of Denver just east of us, my heart hurts today. A movie should be fun and exciting and not an opportunity for a crazy man. The audience was mainly young people, our future, with 12 gone. Hopefully, there won't be any more. We lived through Columbine, and we will live through this too, but our souls are still wounded.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What To Take? What to Take?

We are going on vacation next week. We are driving to Calgary (from Colorado), so I will have lots of time to knit while we listen to books on DVD.  I went to our library's website and ordered several "books," ranging in topics that should please everyone. (Yes our two adult sons are going with us). I have already made a list of other things we need to take since we may be camping along the way, such as flashlights, pillows, towels, and necessary things such as chargers for phones, cameras, and laptop, sun screen, medicine, and so forth. I already know what clothes and sundries I need to bring. We have someone staying at our house to take care of Hannibal Lector, aka Neko, so I am all set, right?

Wrong! I don't know what knitting projects I want to bring. Should I bring sock and hat patterns and yarns because they small and easy to carry, or should I bring my sweater so I can get some progress on that? What if I don't like the yarn or pattern I am doing and want to start again. Maybe I should make a shawl, but which pattern. I often change my mind several times before settling on a pattern.

And the patterns. Should I do a simple pattern that I don't have to follow along, or do I want to do a lace pattern that I have to follow along? How much should I take along?  How many books can I take with me before someone complains? However, I know I will forget the one book that contains the pattern that I absolutely have to knit at that moment.

What about a variety of yarns? At home, I have my entire stash close at hand (which I believes exceeds some yarn stores), but I don't have room in the car to bring tons with me. Do you suppose the boys would agree to leave some clothes at home so I can bring more yarn? Do we really need sleeping bags?

And needles! What if I need to go up or back a needle size and I don't have that size with me. And should I bring double pointed needles, circular needles, or straight needles? 

I only have a few days to decide, but I am having an anxiety attack! I need drugs. Drugs such as a light blue alpaca lace yarn, or a worsted weight yarn in heather green. That might help. 

Only one way to calm myself. Back to the needles.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day for all my US friends from the tips of my toes!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Renaissance Fair 2012

 I wish the Renaissance Fair was held a little earlier in the year, but it was so horribly hot this year that it wasn't as much fun this year. We have been suffering with temperatures over 100 degree, which is very rare for Colorado, and with the fires about 20 miles away, we occasionally could smell it too. But I survived. I was there for Children's Weekend, but the crowds were small and surprisingly few kids. 

Raven's End
Every now and then, a breeze would fly through the shop and it was like being kissed by a dragon. I also noticed that there are a lot more fairies and pirates than princes and princesses. Interesting about the pirates, they didn't come along until a few centuries after the Renaissance. 

Catnip Mice

Foxy guys

Knitting and Spinning: I'm on the left and Julia, the owner on the right

Friendly Dragon

Scrunchies are in!

My hair braided