Friday, December 26, 2014

Rocky Mountain Christmas

Santa sent me out west, as a vanguard, to help with logistics, while he cleaned up on the home front.
I promised to be good, and he promised to come quickly.

The first sight of the mountains after landing always gets my blood moving, in an excited, happy way.

It's over an hour's drive from the Calgary airport to Canmore, in the Bow Valley.
Photo ops all the way!

There was something new in town this time....a bus that now runs between Banff and Canmore.  People were lined up, waiting for the next shuttle; people with skis, snow boards, hockey sticks, back packs...athletic people, mountain people.  A new amenity, that makes life easier for those who live and work in the twin towns.

It snowed overnight, making my first morning in Canmore a pretty one.
I was immediately in the Christmas spirit.  Also, the sight of all that chopped, and ready-to-go wood was somewhat comforting, given that people keep their thermostats low here.....  Brrrr.

When SIL and I took two of the Grands swimming, I got my first experience in the new Elevation Place. A state-of-the-art aquatics centre, cum climbing training facility, with public library, cafe, steam rooms, weights, aerobics, yoga, you-name-it....

Completed in 2014, it is a jewel in Canmore's crown.

My daughter and her family harvested their own Christmas tree.  It's a majestic beauty.

Chrissy is preparing for a solo art show in mid-January, working night and day.  There are wet paintings hanging in every room, in neighbour's houses and in an off-site studio, waiting for the opening.  Yes, I got wet paint on my new white, down coat  (don't tell Captain B!), on my hands, on the bed spread and on my jeans!

While Mum worked in the studio, I kept kiddos entertained with The Unexpected Christmas youtube video.  They watched it 15 times and begged for more, "AGAIN!!!"

Watch it for's sooooo worth the 7 minutes!

Arriving early, I was fortunate to attend Grand #1's school Christmas pageant.  As one of Santa's Reindeer, she made the audience laugh.  Good job!  Grand #2 was out with the stomach flu ( a foretaste of what was to come ).

I got to oversee several practice runs and then attend Grand #3's violin recital.  Yippee!!!!

The sweet heart insisted on standing behind the music stand, so we couldn't see him.  He did a spectacular job!  Well done, Grandson!!!

Keeping with the music theme, I was very lucky to get tickets to see the Bow Valley Chorus in action,  two days after my arrival.  Their performance of "Appalachian Winter" was nothing short of spectacular!

My week continued, giving me ample opportunity to really get into Canmore's Spirit of Christmas.  The Canadian Pacific Railroad Holiday Train made a short whistle stop after dark on Friday.  Bedecked with flashing lights and musical charms, it was a sight to see.  My camera battery died in the cold and so I have no photos.  :(

Town merchants sponsored visits with Santa and complimentary hot chocolate and candy canes.
Some of us were very leery of the Santa figure, refusing to sit on the ample lap.

The Grands and I made a ginger bread house...
where more candy made it into stomachs than onto the roof of the house.

Christmas cookies are no fun unless slathered with icing...

My sweet friends took me out to Sunday lunch at the Silver Tip Golf Course dining room.

The views are spectacular, the food and service excellent and the company superb!

 We took all the Grands (4) to the Banff Hot Springs for a treat on Saturday morning.  The sulfur hot water is supposed to have curative powers, but based on my personal experience, the hot water is soothing and nothing else.  I'm still sick with a wicked cold!

After the soak, we hit the Sushi Train for lunch!  Electric trains pulling flat cars loaded with food is a hit with all ages.  Learning the chopsticks was something else!

Outdoor exercise helps ensure good nap times, or so they say.  When snow fun turned to wacking Grandma Roe with snowballs and chunks of ice, I loaded the rascals into the chariot and took them shopping.  Contained.  Calm.  Quiet.  Good.  Very good in fact.  I got exercise, they got still.  Until we got to the shops...then it was a different story.  Long story short:  I had a greatly needed nap when we got home.

Canmore floods and polishes their local creek with a zamboni every winter.  The best ice rink anywhere!

The sunrises here about 8:30am, peaking over the Tree Sisters mountains, turning the sky a lovely shade of pink.  Yes, Christmas in the Rockies is a special time.  Beautiful.  Breathtaking.  And of course, FAMILY time.  The very best.

May all my blogging buddies have a blessed Yuletide with families and friends and may Jesus' love shine in your hearts all year long.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 1, 2014

PS. I Have More to Say.

When I published my last post, I felt there was still more to say; about the tongue-in-cheek signs warning trespassers.

Yes, I get the joke, but I'm not laughing.  Yes, Trespassers should be warned away.  Yes, legal discharge of firearms for hunting and target practice have a place in our world.  But.... NO.... Laughing about killing trespassers, shooting survivors, and deadly force being quicker than a 911 response is not a good, or acceptable thing.

As Canada welcomes Bass Pro Shop to our home towns, we want to have it known that we decry the human tragedy of killing people.  Each and every shooting, accidental or intentional, takes a bite out of our hearts, as individuals, as communities and as a nation.  We grieve with those who grieve.  We pray for peace.  We do not celebrate a culture of guns for guns' sake.

To the store managers and CEO of Bass Pro Shop, we would say:  These signs promote a culture of killing.  Shooting deaths are never funny.  Bass Pro Shop supports safe and legal use of firearms, either at the range or in the wild.  These signs in juxtaposition to their reputation for good sportsmanship sends a contradictory message.  Please rethink this situation and do the right thing.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Woot! Woot! A Bass Pro Shop in Niagara!!!!

Back in the day, I'd never heard of Bass Pro Shop.  Who of us non-hunting, non-fishing types would have?  Then, fourteen years ago, we bought a boat.  I figured if I was going to live on the ocean, I'd better learn to fish.  A sweet enabler (also a Sabre Yacht owner) introduced me to the Bass Pro Shop fishing department in Daytona Beach, and I've been hooked ever since.

The 70 existing and proposed Bass Pro Shops in the US and Canada came from humble beginnings.  In 1971, John L. Morris opened a bait and worm shop behind his Dad's liquor store in Springfield, Missouri.  (Does this prove that fishing and drinking go hand-in-hand for many???  Capt'n B doesn't allow any imbibing while our vessel is under way, either by crew or guests.)  The Bass Pro Shop name was incorporated in 1971.  Catalogs came out in 1974.  By 1975, Johnboy was offering the first boat-motor-trailer package at a good price.  He was off to the races, as they say.  This combo is still his number one seller across the board.

The stores in this chain vary from 20,000 to 300,000 square feet in size, each a unique attraction.  Taxidermy mounts native to the local environs festoon each store.  Live fish tanks are used to demonstrate the efficacy of the baits on sale.  Also, little ones like to see the fish swim up to them behind the glass.  Who doesn't like aquariums?  Outdoor skills workshops on various topics are popular draws for customers.

All that to say, a brand new Bass Pro Shop has opened in Niagara.  81,000 square feet of retail heaven.  We went on opening night, after the first rush.  Our friend Steve calls malls "Temples of Want".  He's hit the nail on the head this time.  The line-up waiting for the the ribbon cutting ceremony, in below zero temperatures, blowing snow and miserableness, had snaked around the parking lot waiting to get in!!!!

The lobby was welcoming.

The first thing to grab my attention were the animals mounted on ledges, EVERYWHERE!

I'm thinking these were not taken as trophies, but fed families thru long, hard winters, like my father did for our family when I was young.

The profusion of antlers here gave me pause....  I thought we were supposed to leave them lying in the woods for the forest creatures to reclaim, for them to disappear back into the environment...?  Does that only count if you find them already shed by the wearer and not count if you take the whole animal at once??  You can tell I am not a hunter.

The diversity of what's available for sale here is mind-boggling!
The hunting section was the biggest part of the store.

Hunting, high-powered.


Decoys, anyone?

These signs gave me pause.  I know exactly who would buy several of them....

There was something for everyone.

A festive spirit sparkled thruout the store, with Santa and his reindeer in attendance.

Camping has a section all its own.

As I wandered thru the foot wear section, this little guy appeared.

Of course, the fishing area held my interest for the longest time.

Not to put a jinx on anything, I just wanted to point out that I don't think I need one of these.  I will catch food to eat this winter, like all the winters before this one.  (fingers crossed)

Even though this is out of focus, I think Santa will be able to see that it really tickles my fancy!

If the hunting, camping, fishing displays didn't do it for some, there was a well-presented offering of outdoor-themed household goods to assuage their retail therapy needs.

The three of us in my group came home with a couple of shirts that fit "big and tall", a replacement netting for my fish net, a stainless steel camping coffee perk, stocking stuffers and the satisfaction of knowing our home town is now part of the Bass Pro Empire.  We have arrived!

How about you?  Do you frequent an outdoor equipment store?  Is it as much fun as this?