Sunday, January 03, 2010

Home for the holidays

Just before we headed home to Calgary for the holidays, I had the great pleasure of going to Ciudad de los Ninos to give them a donation on behalf of Roger's company, Cabo Drilling.  Roger agreed that giving a donation in lieu of corporate Christmas cards would be the right thing to do and when we sent out an email to his current and potential clients telling them about the donation - we received several emails thanking Cabo.  But nothing could top the look on the Social Worker's face (pictured below on the left side of the steps) when I gave her the cheque.   What a wonderful organization, and I look forward to helping out in the new year.

We flew to Calgary for what would be a whirlwind 8 days of eating, visiting, and a lot of trips up and down the Deerfoot Trail!

We stayed with my Auntie Elaine (who I took to Ireland 2 years ago for an unforgettable 16 day trip!) but unfortunately she was not very well.  We had a great evening at her house with family the day after we arrived, but the following morning, I had to call 911 and accompany her to the hospital by ambulance.  She has a myriad of health issues and as I update the blog, she is still in the hospital.  I am so thankful we decided to spend Christmas in Calgary this year.

Brad and Anette treated us, her parents and brother to a decadent brunch at the Palliser Hotel.  It was like a Christmas wonderland, and the food was amazing.

Christmas morning was spent at Anette's parents house -- as usual cameras were snapping pictures to capture all the fun.

Brian and Margrethe have always welcomed us to their home, and we are happy to be family as well as friends.
 
Brad and Anette are famous for saving money for specific goals and Roger found the perfect gift to help them!
 
The Delorean might have been sold, but Brad is enjoying driving his new Mini Cooper S --- way better in Canadian winters - and now he doesn't have to make us take turns going for a drive with him!  In the picture below you can see Calgary had a very white Christmas.
 
Christmas dinner was spent with Roger's side of the family.  Brad and Anette had two dinners that night as they dropped by for a visit before going back to Anette's house for dinner number 2!
 
Below left:  We brought Mexican toys for the under 30 crowd --  Roger gave it a try too, as did our nephew, Tyler (with his dad, Walter, in the middle).   Below right:  Well, it's official.  I'm the shortest member of the family --- and it takes looking at a picture with my niece, Samantha, and nephew, Cooper, to prove it to me!  That's Roger's mom on the right, and Karen and Anette are on the left.

Our last get together was having brunch at the Ranche Restaurant in Fish Creek Park with good friends Kathy and Randy Cardon (foreground) and Barb and Rob Perry.
 
I realize I didn't get pictures of all the wonderful dinners and get togethers we had over the week with family and friends.  For most of the trip, I was under the weather and went from sounding like I was sucking helium to doing an impression of Mae West.....so unfortunately I didn't capture all the great moments. 

We decided to bring our Expedition down to Mexico, so we packed up more clothes, and things we can't readily get in Mexico as well as supplies for Ciudad de los Ninos and the C.A.M.E. school, and headed south on Dec 28th.  We met throngs of Alberta and Saskatchewan license plates at the border as we all fled the cold temperatures.  
 
The scenery through Montana, Idaho, Utah and Arizona was beautiful.  Fortunately we were a day ahead of a weather system that brought more snow.  
 
It took until we were one hour south of Flagstaff, Arizona before we left the snow and cold behind.  
 
It took 34 hours and 3300 kms to reach Hermosillo which we did in 4 days. Admittedly, I am the world's worst driving companion as I spend much of the time nodding off.  In the moments when I managed to stay awake, we practiced Spanish -- the more I learn, the more I realize I need to learn more!  I have a tutor lined up to give us lessons in January so hopefully we'll make more progress.  I just know I've told people I've been tired (cansado) for 31 years instead of married (casado) for 31 years....or maybe I was right after all!

It was great to arrive in Hermosillo on New Years Eve to balmy 27C temperatures.  We stopped at the grocery store, and as usual were greeted by the wonderful gentlemen that watch your car, help unload groceries, and stop traffic while you back up!  Me gusto mucho Mexico!!

Well....it's taken a couple of days...but my shoulders are finally starting to "unhunch" from being in the cold and my knees don't crackle like Rice Krispies...  It's good to be home.

Hasta luego.

"May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions."

                                                        Joey Adams

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